When you are pregnant, there are many antenatal classes you can join. The choices available to me with my first were those provided by the health visitor at the local doctors surgery, or NCT (National Childbirth Trust) classes. For my first pregnancy, I opted for the NCT classes as these had been recommended to me by many friends who had been down that path. I too would highly recommend these classes (see http://www.nct.org.uk).
You have to pay for these classes and they cost us £100 for eight, but money well spent as far as I was concerned. Not only will you get great information to prepare you for the big day, you will also enter into a network of support and friendship with the other expectant parents in your group. There were seven couples in our group. Many of us still keep in touch and meet up on a regular basis. Just the mums, just the dads or as couples. These are people you will grow with through the years as your children grow, and it is wonderful if you can make and maintain these friendships.
NCT also run Twins & Multiple antenatal classes, as does the Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA). TAMBA is a charity offering support to parents of twins, triplets and more. Not only do they offer help-line support, Facebook forums, publications on various stages – pregnancy, birth, breast and bottle feeding, potty training etc, also becoming a member will give you access to some great discounts. (Definitely worth taking a look, see http://www.tamba.org.uk)
At the time of my multiple pregnancy, the only TAMBA workshop available was in February in London, so not that useful for me as if I did make it to February, I certainly didn’t want to be trekking off down to London. The hospital suggested that I contact the local twins club who did talks at the Birmingham Heartlands hospital for expectant twin parents (have a look at the TAMBA website to find out your local twins/multiples club). So one evening in February myself and my husband gingerly teetered along for our ‘twins’ antenatal class. Oh Lordy.
The wonderfully enthusiastic twin mums went through their pregnancy, birth and up to first birthday experiences in a power point format, pleased with themselves for getting through the first year, rightly so. Now as an existing mother, I found some elements of this not that helpful, as I had had a baby before, but I did manage to pick up some useful tips. However, the bit of the workshop or class or whatever you want to call it that really got me off to a bad start was the ‘Before we start, let’s all introduce ourselves and, if we know, the sex of our twins we are expecting’. Oh.
Oh. Ok then. So off we all go. Then it came to me. ‘Hi I am Sophie, and actually I am expecting triplets’. You would not believe the sharp intakes of breath that went around the room. I am surprised we didn’t all hyperventilate. Oh. I looked at the twin mums. Is it really that different. It is only one more than you. So whilst twins, triplets, quads are all multiples and lumped into the same category, it is evident that they are not the same and quite different. By a baby in fact.
So when everyone had recovered from this shock, and I was asked if we knew the sex, I lied. I mean can you imagine the reaction if I told everyone I was having three boys. We may have had some twins popping out there and then with the shock of it all. So I lied. And I was getting so good at it.
So from that evening I knew that we were different. We weren’t having twins. We were having triplets. And we already had an 18 month old boy. Crikey imagine if the group knew that as well. I was solo.