AMBA, Australian Multiple Birth Association, Blessed, Dad, Daddy, epiphany, Growing Up, Hero, Hugs, Inspiration, Kids, Love, Madness, Memories, mental health, Multiple Parent, Multiverse, Parenting, Quads, Role Model, Triplets, Truth, Twins, Wardy
Part 4 of this series looks at …..How to survive having twins, triplets or more?
Truthfully? I have no idea…I’m amazed at what some parents endure and how others like ourselves got off so lightly.
This question is the most diverse of all the questions as there are so many contributing factors. With this in mind I’m going to give you the opportunity to do some homework.
Firstly, I am going to divide this in two sections:
1] What you can do.
2] What you have no control over.
Section 1: What you can do….
Because of the ‘oh so many’ variables, I am going to dot point them. It’s up to you as a couple as to how much time you want to invest into each of these, hence the homework comment. When I say ‘invest’ I chose this word for a very specific reason. Like a real investment, this too will pay off with interest and a sense of accomplishment. It’s worth thinking about this for a moment….
Please don’t flog this to death in conversation either, just get a feel for where each of you stand to start moving towards being on the same page. The earlier you start the longer you have to agree, disagree and compromise.
If you’re still having problems on where to start, take a sheet of paper, draw a long line and put a circle at each end. Divide the line into 5 equal sections and number them 1-5.
Ask a question of each other and then rate the answer with:
1 = totally disagree
2 = somewhat agree
3 = agree
4 = highly agree
5= Completely agree
1] Support: Family, friends, parenting groups (I’ll name and link to a few later in this post). Hard for those that are far from their family, but not impossible to built a support network once you join an AMBA club.
2] Local AMBA Club: Has resources, run by volunteers who have multiples and understand your circumstances. This is an absolute prerequisite even if you feel comfortable. Trust me, there are things beyond the horizon you haven’t even considered yet, we were so glad we did! Most will wait for you to ask what you need, because every child and family develops at different rates. It is hard enough dealing with what is already on your plate without serving up more. The last thing we want you to have, as new multiple parents, is mental indigestion!
Speak up and you’ll be amazed at the results. I highly recommend the ‘Babies and bumps days’ and EPIN (Expectant Parents Information Nights) to see a group of Multi mums and Dads in action. It is a heap of ladies and gents, who will just help each other so you can see what you’re really in for. If you befriend someone that already has multiples, ask of you can visit for a cuppa to see how the house is set up…and take notes!
3] Preparation: The sooner the better. The better prepped you both are, the better equipped you will be to handle almost anything that comes along, no matter how scary it seems.
4] A Cool Head: Don’t be scared of the unknown. With the first three tips in place you will always have someone to turn too.
5] Your Local Chemist: Find one that has a CHN (child health nurse) that visits twice a week. Not all health issues need a GP and they are great at lending an ear too.
6] A Good Family GP: Go with your gut feeling on this one. If you feel like you get half the treatment all the time you will continue to feel this way once the twins or triplets arrive. Believe me, when your gut says something is definitely wrong, listen to it, get a second opinion if you have too!
7] Birthing Classes: I know of one, especially for Dads (in Brisbane), and the regular combined class that your local hospital runs.
8] Good Health Fund (if possible): Running into the ‘possible’ complications with have multiples, knowing you have some safety net to fall back on can save you $$$$$ just before you bring the babies home.
9] Vaccinations: Get a list from your GP or Centrelink. This is a social responsibility, just because your child ‘may not get it’ doesn’t mean they can’t give it 100 others.
Watch this to make it very clear on why it is important:
Penn and Teller on Vaccinations
10] Start a budget……NOW! You are going to learn the true meaning of financial pain, in a good way. Your priorities are about to change big time. Start stocking up on nappies from the third or fourth month mark. It also helps you both transition mentally as the house slowly fills with baby items.
11] Routine, routine and more routine. I don’t know a great parent that doesn’t have a great routine. From singletons to twins, triplets or more! From the 6 – 8 week mark, watch your kids, learn to read from them EG: Cycles for feeding and sleep.
Section 2: What you can’t control……
This is a hard list to write! Essentially, I don’t want to scare the crap out of you….BUT….if you just become familiar with the following things, it can help take the edge off if, or when, you ever need to know more.
1] The disposition of your child. They don’t come made to order. It is NOT like ordering your new custom built computer online. There is no cooling off period, non transferable and not refundable. Cost = your eternal love and affection.
2] Reflux: Your nemesis…..if it crosses your path. I would say 40-50% of you will encounter it to varying degrees. Some mild and others you only have to look at them and they will puke. Be prepared…
3] Bad, poor or insensitive comments from the general population. After a few initial outings, you will fume like the rest of us did. It’s just like an initiation of the cruelest kind that only parents of the ‘Multiverse’ will understand. Just remember that double trouble, got ya hands full, what did you deserve twins, triplets, etc are from people who don’t REALLY know what to say, or worse, they do know and think it’s funny. You will have to either learn to ignore it, get good at snappy come backs or chop them into little pieces and hide them in the nappy bag. Ever wondered why those nappy bags are so BIG. Well now you know…….. 😉
4] When the kids will arrive. Pack your baby’s at 30 weeks and be ready! Will you be in NICU for long, if at all?
5] Comments on comparing your babies, regardless if they are ID or not. Most people will ask things like, which one is smarter, taller, healthier, came first, weakest, smallest, cutest, ugliest, heaviest, lightest, favourite, etc.
6] Medical conditions: Hereditary or other. Total mystery but ask your GP to go though any previous family history with you.
7] PND (postnatal depression): Affects BOTH Mums and Dads! Get to know the symptoms and signs before it takes a real hold on you.
They say it takes a community to raise a child, but with two or more at the same time it can be a rude shock to your system. Gone are the days of long sleep ins, both of you staying up late, long time friends will just evaporate and you have to recreate yourself just to stay on top of things initially.
The village may have lost an idiot but gains a super dad and two or more sidekicks.
Again, supporting your wife is the best thing you can do, if you’re not sure join the Multiple Dads Sanctuary on Facebook. It is strictly for multiple Dads and a great place for support, the odd vent and a place you can ask any question without judgment, feeling like an idiot or pounced on with an opinion.
The three biggest things a guy won’t talk about is:
1] His physical or mental health.
2] His emotional state.
3] When he needs help.
Once you reach this space here —-> ____ kids are born _______ < —– you will understand why this list may seem light on at first but also how much or little you actually need to understand.
Here is a little warning or two to finish off with though:
1] Your head will implode if you try to know everything! The more time you are online, the less time you spend together as a couple. Remember, this IS your last chance if you are first time parents.
2] Google is NOT a doctor. Self diagnosis is not good for your mental health either. It is a REFERENCE guide to help narrow down symptoms and guide you.
Don’t let yourself think your child has the Ebola virus when it is in fact,…..just a runny nose.
3] Take ALL advice, even mine with a grain of salt. The end result should come for your own thinking pot after tossing in a few ideas. You will soon discover it is all about combinations. The real trick is learning what combination works for YOUR kids. Parenting, it’s all trial and error, to a degree….
4] Magic books to make your kids sleep, eat all their veggies or become super geniuses. Refer to the tip above, it is a combination. Flexibility
In the end it will be nature’s choice combined with your willingness to accept change that will ultimately make the difference between moderate stress and being totally stressed out.
Now for those links I promised you earlier:
Multiple Dads Sanctuary: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MultipleDadsSanctuary/
Mr.Dad – A mens only antenatal classes: https://www.facebook.com/mr.dad.australia (Brisbane Based)
Next up in Part 5:
How do we cut back on expenses?