WITH Multiple Births Awareness Week starting on Sunday, one family with triplets encourages others to get involved in support groups.
Former Nowra resident Star-Jade Reed is the proud parent of five children under five years of age. At just 25 herself, she said the hard work involved with five-month-old triplet girls was worth it.
Sophia, Evie and Isabelle draw immediate coos from passers-by but, according to their mother, it’s their father Paul who does the hard work at the crack of dawn.
“With two other children nearing two and four my husband gets up before 6am to get the toddlers dressed, fed and packed for school before walking them to school and then he gets ready for his full-time job,” Mrs Reed said.
“I take the night shifts and they wake up for everything – too hot, too cold, spat the dummy out – but we have it streamlined now.”
Mrs Reed said if there was any advice to give to expecting parents it’s to embrace the rare gift of multiple children.
“Once you come down from the surprise, just own it and don’t be scared to ask for help,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful thing. Stressful yes, but absolutely wonderful.
“I found out I was pregnant with triplets when they were just six weeks in gestation. When I found out I Googled the hell out of it and joined the Multiple Births Association (MBA) straight up.
“Finding out early we had six-and-a-half months to arrange all that was needed as best we could, including moving to a bigger home, upsizing to a minivan, arranging leave from work and organising three of everything needed.”
Mrs Reed said finding out so early, she got used to the idea of having triplets but it was the support and interaction from the group that was amazing.
“There are so many other parents on the MBA online forums and groups, you get so many opportunities to interact with other parents with triplets or more,” she said.
“Speaking with these people you feel the support and like it’s a normal thing to have your hands full.
“It’s really only when I go down the street and people stare, I realise it’s not so normal to have triplets.”
Mrs Reed said the group offered families the opportunity to share their hilarious stories that come with having multiple birthed children and a place for questions to be answered and necessary items like clothing to be exchanged.
“Because triplets or more are so often born prematurely like my own, who were born at 32 weeks, it is so difficult to find clothes that will fit properly,” she said.
“The MBA groups allow members to access those sorts of supplies like premmie clothing and more.”
Multiple Birth Awareness Week is a national event to celebrate the joy of parenting multiples and also to educate communities and professionals about the unique challenges of parenting twins, triplets and more.
A range of events is planned for the week at different support groups and clubs around Australia.
For more information and to find your closest Australian Multiple Births Association club visit www.amba.org.au/clubfinder.