If Your Path is to Climb the Mountain, Carry a Map and Bring a Guide

Raising multiples is a lot like climbing a 14er.

A few years before I had kids, my husband and I climbed the 14,000 foot Grays and Torreys Peaks with my parents. Well, to be honest, my parents summited both peaks, my husband ran up and down the first one twice, and I got altitude sickness half way up Grays and had to suffer through headaches and nausea in the car while my husband searched everywhere on the trail for my parents.
With easy road access and the short distance between the two peaks, Grays and Torreys are popular peaks to climb and there were about 100 people there that day. Some were prepared and easily summited both. Others were less prepared and were miserable like me.

There are a lot of comparisons here between climbing a 14er and raising multiples: Not everyone does it and if you’re prepared, it’s challenging but fun. If you’re not prepared, it feels like a death march. And just like an attempt to assent a peak the best things to have with you are a map and a guide.

The best map for raising multiples is a book by La Leche League called, Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada. It can be found on Amazon for around $7.00. It is essential to read this guide as soon as you find out you’re expecting more than one baby. Be sure to have it within arm’s reach when your babies arrive. The book covers everything from how to breastfeed multiples (including positions!) to the ins and outs of navigating a grocery trip by yourself with a double (or more) stroller. It prepares you for the sights, sounds, and rituals of the NICU; tips for twin-proofing your house, car, etc; and insights into the older multiple’s sense of self. Seriously, I could not have survived without this book.

The other essential when climbing this mountain-like feat of raising multiples is a guide. This comes in the form of a NOMOTC group (National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs). There are several NOMOTC member groups in the Denver Metro Area. I was a member of The Mothers of Multiples (MOMS) which drew from the entire Denver Metro Area and continually holds one of the 10 largest consignment sales in the country at the Douglas County Fair Grounds. Colorado Springs has Parents of Multiples (POMS) which is extremely active and Aurora has Double Delights which is also very active. The NOMOTC site can help you find a group in your community.

These groups are your support network. They have mentor moms who have lived through your exact situation: be it older singleton with younger multiples, or spouse away on deployment, or older twins, younger triplets (it’s happened), any situation you can think of. The mentor moms can guide you every step of the way. The NOMOTC groups also have bereavement support; provide meals to moms on bed-rest and new parents; breastfeeding support groups; age-specific and location specific playgroups; and consignment sales!!! We rarely bought any clothes, equipment, or toys outside of the MOMS sale. MOMS holds high standards for the sold items and the best part is you can sell it all back if its only gently used!

I know if I had been prepared with a map and a guide when I tried to summit Grays and Torreys, I would have drank enough water, paced myself, and made it to the summit. With Mothering Multiples and NOMOTC’s help, I did make it through the most difficult part of raising multiples, and now I’m enjoying the descent down the mountain.

Jennifer Smith-Daigle is a stay-at-home mother of a third grade daughter and twin kindergarten boys. She and her boys are survivors of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, being some of the first 200 people in the United States to be cured by Fetoscopic Laser Ablation surgery. Jennifer’s life before kids included world travel, historic preservation, and archaeology digs. When she’s not busy with a house full of kids and enough mammals to constitute a small zoo, Jennifer finds freedom in freelance writing, martial arts, and gardening.