A slightly unconventional approach to Mother’s Day 2022

It’s that time of year when we compile a stellar list of Mother’s Day gift ideas specific to multiple birth mums. All mums are great, we know, but our multiple birth mums are just *next level* amazing.

So, without further ado, here’s the definitive list of what every multiple birth mum wants for 2022! Check it out:

1. Sleep

2. Sleep

3. Sleep

4. Sleep

5. Sleep

This next one’s a good one, promise!

6. Sleep

That’s all. Thanks! xx

P.S. Wishing all our multiple birth mums a fabulous Mother’s Day!

P.P.S. If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still waiting for gift ideas, check out our blog post here. We don’t have time to write another one, need sleep xx

P.P.P.S It’s on Sunday 8 May 2022! Please tell me you knew that!

Let me reintroduce myself, my name is BMBAN

With our 2022 AGM done and dusted on 21 April 2022, and celebrating our 45 year anniversary this year, this seems like a great time to reintroduce ourselves!

We’re a 70’s baby (well, more than one baby)

The original Brisbane Mothers of Twins Club was founded in 1973, with the first informal gathering in August 1973 at the Botanical Gardens. After a great turnout at that event, in October 1973 the first official meeting of the Club was held at the YMCA on Ann Street. Liz Clifton was elected as the first President. Everyone who took on a committee position at that time had babies younger than 5 months! Wowsers!

Fun Fact: the first ever multiple birth club in Australia was established in Newcastle.

Fast forward to 1975, when the Club changed name to Brisbane Multiple Birth Association. This enabled the club to better cater to multiple birth families more generally, noting there were already a couple of triplet family members at this point.

By the mid 70’s, there were multiple clubs throughout Queensland, including Mackay, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast. Brisbane’s membership had reached almost 200 families. With such a large group of members to manage, in late 1976 / early 1977 the Club split into two (much like how some of our multiples came about, I guess!), giving us Northside and Southside.

Thus, Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Northside (BMBAN) as we know it was born.

Northside in the late 70’s and 80’s

In 1978, Judy Woodcock was elected the first President of BMBAN, and held that position for 2 years. BMBAN was privileged to have a number of other Presidents during this period, some of whom remain life members today.

The next big milestone for BMBAN came in 1987 when it was incorporated. In 1988, BMBAN meetings moved from the Craigslea Kindergarten to the Pine Rivers Neighbourhood Centre.

Fun fact: BMBAN didn’t originally include membership eligibility for expectant parents! This was rectified during a committee meeting on 16 May 1989, approving changes to the then Constitution.

1989 saw the first Expectant Parent Information Night (EPN) with these run 2 to 3 times per year and facilitated at a member’s home. In 1997 the venue for EPN moved to Chermside Library where is has remained since.

PS: Our next Expectant Parent Night is being hosted on 12 May – if you’re interested in attending, check out the event here.

BMBAN in the 90’s and early 2000’s

The first “Buy n Sell” day ran on 14 July 1992 with the public invited to attend for a coin donation. Previously, BMBAN had only run clothes and toys swaps from members’ homes, so opening this event up to the public was a big milestone.

Fun fact: after COVID restrictions eased, Clothes and Toys swaps were reintroduced by BMBAN in 2021 – keep an eye out for updates on the next event in 2022!

BMBAN was privileged to host the 16th Annual AMBA Qld State Seminar from 28 to 30 April 1995, held at the Virginia Palms. The theme of the Saturday evening event that weekend was “Italian – as little or as much as you like”. BMBAN also hosted the 25th AMBA Qld State Seminar from 30 April 2004 to 2 May 2004, themed Nautical Mayhem.

During this period, BMBAN continued to operate the local Telephone Contacts / Area Representatives system, starting with 3 area contacts, up to 17 at one point. This was implemented at inception and provided a great tool for new members to reach out for help quickly. The local area contacts continued to be a pivotal part of BMBAN’s connections with members up until mid 2020.

BMBAN in 2010’s and early 2020’s

Throughout this period, BMBAN continued to facilitate communication with its members via regular newsletters. The BMBAN newsletter was originally called “Duets”. In the mid 90’s, its name was changed to “Multiple Cuddles & Chaos”. During this period, Newsletters were distributed electronically to members.

Fun fact: the first newsletter for the Brisbane Mothers of Twins Club was priced at $0.15

This era also saw BMBAN move with technological and social media development, establishing social media accounts, setting up online membership portals and websites, and creating member-only social media groups. This has significantly changed the way that our members have communicated over recent years, with most of our member engagement now occurring via social media.

During the AGM in 2020, just prior to COVID restrictions taking place, BMBAN officially de-affiliated from the National Organisation (AMBA) and remains an independent club. We do however continue to support the work of all multiple birth associations across Australia, and in 2021 established independent membership to the International Council of Multiple Birth Organisations (ICOMBO).

With 2020/21 and early 2022 we have, like so many organisations, continued to work through the challenges of COVID, reintroducing events as restrictions eased. This was, no doubt, an incredibly challenging period during BMBAN’s history, which saw changes again in the way we communicated, including introducing Zoom for committee meetings and other events such as EPN.

We continue to recognise the challenges that new multiple birth families in particular faced during this period, losing the opportunity to connect with other new families as they might otherwise have, through playgroups and other face-to-face events. These opportunities for connection between new families have always been an incredibly valuable part of BMBAN’s offering.

The future of BMBAN

All of our current committee members, former committee members, life & honorary members are incredibly proud of BMBAN’s history, and the support that has been provided to multiple birth families throughout the last 45 years. Lifelong friendships have been made as a result of the services that BMBAN has provided and continues to provide.

As we move forward with the new 2022/23 Committee, we continue to face challenges with volunteer numbers and engagement. No doubt, the way multiple birth families receive support has changed immensely since 1977 (to everyone’s benefit) but this does present challenges for BMBAN in developing new incentives to engage our members.

With a paring-back of some of the services offered by BMBAN over the last couple of years due to COVID, financial restrictions and lack of volunteer resources, we hope to continue providing the same level of support and friendship to our existing and future members. We are so hopeful of keeping the BMBAN spirit alive for the next 45 years, and for the next generations of multiple birth families.

We hope you enjoyed our (re)introduction!

Multiple Birth Awareness Week 2022: Educating the educators

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.