BMBAN celebrates Multiple Birth Awareness Week – 20 to 27 March 2022.
Why do we need to educate the educators on multiples?
Ongoing advocacy and engagement is required in order to advance educational and health outcomes for multiples. Educators in this context is not limited to teachers, but to health professionals and others who have a role in shaping the lives of multiples, from pregnancy, birth, childhood and beyond.
The types of issues that BMBAN recognises in this context include:
- Promoting individuality whilst respecting the unique bond that multiples share
- Understanding the additional burdens placed on multiple birth families – including increased rates of mental health concerns, financial stressors and practical / logistical challenges that may face multiple birth families
- Positive healthcare outcomes for multiple birth families including pregnancy and birth and better understanding of the unique stressors that come with a multiple birth
BMBAN is committed to advancing these interests through the ongoing provision of peer support networks and advocating for our members on these issues.
What our members say
In the lead-up to Multiple Birth Awareness Week 2022, we asked our members to share the most important piece of information they want to convey to educators. Here’s some of the responses we received.
Even though they were born at the same time, they are two individuals and should be treated as such.BMBAN member
Multiples must be treated as individuals and educators should take the time to get to know their own traits and personalities.BMBAN member
Being individuals means that multiples will reach milestones at different times. They do things in their own time.BMBAN member
Please stop calling them ‘twinnies’. Use their names, stop asking ‘who is the oldest’, and don’t make them stand side-by-side as a guessing game.BMBAN member
The unique bond that multiples share needs to be honoured. They are so fortunate to share that special unique bond that doesn’t need to be forcibly severed unless it is causing harm. In many ways, they are stronger together.BMBAN member
It is important to honour their uniqueness while still respecting the bond. Separating them just for the sake of it can do more harm than good.BMBAN member
Multiple births can be high-risk pregnancies with high rates of pre-term delivery. For many parents, this experience can have a lasting impact. It’s not all “double trouble” and matching outfits.BMBAN member
For childcare and educators, don’t underestimate how hard it is to get multiples in /out of the car and safely around the car park. It’s not the same as having two or more children of different ages when it comes to their understanding of safety. A spare hand while trying to get two tired toddlers into the car can be a godsend!BMBAN member
There are some common threads running through these – multiple birth families love and cherish the special bond that our multiples have together, but understanding the uniqueness of each child, and their individual needs, is also important.
Schooling + classroom arrangements
Deciding whether to separate multiples during school can be plagued with angst, particularly in situations where schools or teachers hold firm views about the best approach for multiples on a global basis. Open dialogue between parents and educators is crucial.
The Australian Multiple Birth Association Inc. has released a position paper on Classroom Placement of Multiples in School. It is notable that the research relied upon by AMBA has shown that there is no detrimental effect of classroom sharing on multiples’ social development, and that parents are best-placed to make the decision on classroom placement. BMBAN supports the position adopted by AMBA and encourages schools and educators to engage in meaningful with parents on this issue.
Favourable health outcomes for mulitples and multiple births
In the healthcare context, multiples pregnancies are generally placed (automatically) into the ‘high risk’ category by medical professionals. This brings with it additional challenges for families, through increased costs of medical care, higher frequency of medical review, and increased risk of assisted delivery and c-section delivery.
Many of these steps are done (rightly so) with a focus upon the best health outcomes for both babies and mum. However, it is important for healthcare professionals to take the time to explain alternatives to parents, educate them on the pros/cons of any particular decisions, and make sure that they fully understand their options, particularly where decisions are being made with some urgency.
Further, parents should be fully equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to feel confident in managing their babies in the weeks and months to come. Take for example the ‘standard’ discharge time for hospitals following a c-section delivery.
My twins were babies 2 and 3. I knew straight away that when the hospital tried to discharge us on day 5 that we were not ready. One of my girls had only been released from special care 2 days before, and we weren’t confident with mixed feeding yet. After a particularly difficult delivery, my body also was not yet ready, having received multiple blood transfusions and remaining bed-bound for the first 3 days post-delivery. I advocated for myself and stayed in hospital for another 2 days.
What made me sad was that the first-time mum and dad in the room next door (who had their twins the same morning as us), felt like they had to leave when told to. I knew how to stand up for myself, but new parents won’t necessarily have the same insight.BMBAN member
In this context, healthcare professionals need to remain vigilant in identifying multiple birth families that may be vulnerable and need further assistance.
Celebrating multiple births in 2022
BMBAN is celebrating 45 years of supporting multiple birth families on Brisbane’s Northside. We are honoured to be supporting and advocating for our members for Multiple Birth Awareness Week 2022.
If you want to know more about how we can help you, check out our member benefits here.