28 May 2013

Are you aware? National Multiple Births Awareness Day

Today is our day to celebrate and share the fun and the freaky when it comes to raising multiples. Of course people are “aware” of multiples…but are they really aware? My personal experience after having hundreds of conversations with people who do not have multiples is that it is safe to say they just really… are not. No offence to them. It is hard for people to understand and make appropriate conclusions when they haven’t lived the life or walked two or three miles in a multiple parent’s shoes.

If you’re a multiples parent, how many times have you heard “It’s no harder than having two single babies”? In my head I may sometimes be yelling, “Bite your tongue! Bite your tongue!” I usually choose the high road. Usually. Depending on the situation and who I am talking to I might paint a picture of the very early days, the NICU stay, the outright crazy fears we lived with daily for weeks at a time, then the awesome NICU graduation days that came and of course all the amazing things that have taken place since. I might be able to sum it up in 15 minutes. Do you have time to spare?

What I do find hard about being a MoM is that sometimes, without knowing it, people tend to diminish or downplay the experience of having twins. It can be like a slap across the face. On the average day do I care if people are aware that I have twins? No. But on those days when I have two little guys freaking out in a grocery store because I had no choice but to bring them along and someone says something completely silly at the most inopportune time or smiles and says “double the trouble”…I wonder what possesses them to say such an unhelpful or quite obvious thing to a mother who is obviously struggling, probably mortified and just wants to get out of there without feeling like a circus show?

This is where other parents of multiples come in. They get it. Definitely. No doubt about it. They know what it’s like to be adamant about nursing two babies at one time. Yup, us multiples moms do try it…some stick with it…others make the decision that best suits their family’s needs. And that’s okay! There is no judgement, just a lot of positive support and advice. Try this. Do that. This worked for me. Did you hear of this new product for twins?

There is a huge level of camaraderie in the multiples world. It amazes me! Mothers and Dads (we need more Dads in on this action) across Canada unite through Multiple Births Canada, local Chapters and other fun, supportive groups with multiples on the mind. They are communicating on Facebook groups, Twitter, networks and email, all in order to create friendships and bonds with other multiples families. We celebrate each other’s triumphs, like NICU graduations or starting JK, making it through those first hard years without going bonkers. We lift each other’s spirits when sometimes life just seems to be too stressful, messy and tiring when it comes to raising multiples and sometimes more. We take photos of awesome double and triple strollers we find in consignment shops and garage sales, uploading them ASAP to our social networks. “Check this out twin moms! Hurry before this awesome stroller is gone.” We stand in grocery store aisles and message our social networks, knowing that at any given moment someone will be there and can look up a recipe for you because you actually forgot your grocery list at home. We send out mass emails to let our MoM friends know where the best deal on diapers is for that week. I had a singleton and I can reflect on that experience and confidently say there just wasn’t the same type of support going on between “singleton” moms (maybe that’s just me.)

So today I thank all the multiples parents I’ve met, who have supported me along the way, had a laugh with me and shared a hug when I needed it. You are an awesome bunch of people to have something in common with and I’m grateful to be part of such an inspiring “club.”

Happy National Multiple Births Awareness Day!

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