AUTUMN ISSUE \ SEPTEMBER 2017
T H E
O F F I C I A L
M A G A Z I N E
T A M B A
IT’S A WORLD FIRST! Saving tiny lives with the new twin growth charts
Jewelled windows for crafty kids
The wisdom of the older dad…
How to save cash with Multiple Savings
PLUS: NEW DISCOUNTERS • PHOTO GALLERY • NEWS AND MORE
What’s inside: Autumn 2017
5 STAR LUXURY B ABY FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS Baby friendly packages • Luxury hot tub lodges • Kids club & crèche
Welcome letter from the chief executive
We highlighted some of the benefits of membership in the last magazine and thank you for your positive feedback. You love hearing about how you can save money by being a Tamba member, but also how your charity uses your membership fees to improve and save lives. So there is more of both in this magazine. There are more discounter stories on page 21 (have you saved the price of your membership yet?). And then the launch of the new Tamba-sponsored twin pregnancy growth charts on page 16. Plus the latest update on research we commissioned into how best to improve care in triplet and monochorionic monoanmiotic pregnancies on page 5. You can also see how our new resources and services are helping families. I’m delighted brave mums and dads who suffered with PND came forward to help us create resources for others to use. It’s only a few months since their launch, but these new resources have been used thousands of times. There is also a story of how one mum of triplets with PND was given practical help and support at home via our Helping Hands service for families in crisis, on page 8. A special thank you to everyone who helped us work up your charity’s strategic plans for the next five years. There is more detail on how we plan to expand the good stuff on page 12. We’re up for the challenge of helping even more people, and thank you in advance for help making this a reality.
Keith Reed @Tamba_KeithReed firstname.lastname@example.org
5 % D I S C O U N T F O R TA M B A M E M B E R S - J U S T Q U OT E ‘ T M E M B E R ’
Support services manager: Helen Turier E: email@example.com Twinline and support groups co-ordinator: Louise Bowman Courses: Kate Valentine Advertising and fundraising officer: Lucie Wigley Membership: firstname.lastname@example.org Tamba in Northern Ireland: Kelly McDonald T: 07525 117010 E: KellyMcDonald@tamba.org.uk Tamba in Scotland: Helen Peck T: 01786 465744 E: email@example.com To advertise in the magazine: ring 01252 332334 or email LucieWigley@tamba.org.uk Tamba office: Manor House, Church Hill, Aldershot GU12 4JU T: 01252 332344 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.tamba.org.uk Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm. Twinline freephone helpline 0800 138 0509 (10am-1pm and 7pm-10pm seven days a week)
MULTIPLE MATTERS - ISSN 2049-5765
Charity number 1076478, Scottish Charity Number SC041055, company number3688825.
www.retallackresort.co.uk | email@example.com | 01637 882 500
Regulars NEWS AND CAMPAIGNS
Progress in Northern Ireland...................................... The Big Research Appeal - Phase 3!............................ Independence: how far, how fast?.............................. The past and another country .................................... Summer fun for our families...................................... On the joy of having triplets ....................................... New and renewing discounters .................................
Features EASY DOES IT
MEET THE TWINS
TWO STARS REVIEWED…
WHERE NEXT FOR TAMBA?
NATURE OR NURTURE?
When risky pregnancies go just fine ......................... Older siblings get the news it’s two............................ Triplet mum gets the help she needs ......................... Starring on TV at six weeks old................................... Our vision for the next three years............................. Starting a club for multiples....................................... Jewelled windows for crafty kids ............................... How to save cash with Multiple Savings.................... The wisdom of the older dad….................................... Identical twins and diverging lives.............................
Tamba’s individuality policy encourages the development of multiples’ individual identities, for example by dressing them differently. Whenever possible we use photographs that promote this policy.
LATEST ROUND-UP Tamba makes strides in Northern Ireland with funding for new multiples clubs, while the area’s new multiple birth health visitor provides specialist support to local families with twins, triplets or more. Meanwhile, our members raise the cash Tamba needs to help save tiny lives...
Helping multiples in Northern Ireland New multiple birth health visitor supporting families It is nearly a year since Shona O’Hanlon arrived in her post as Tamba Health Visitor in the Southern HSC Trust in Northern Ireland - an advisory service for multiple families in the region. Tamba receives on average 20 referrals per month to the service,
The way we communicate with you is changing. Due to new data protection guidance that comes into force next May, we are reviewing the way we communicate with you. We’ll be checking in with you over the coming months to find out how you prefer us to get in touch. We’ll also be asking what you want to hear more about and what you’d prefer less on. We’ll be sending out information about this in the coming months, so please keep your eyes peeled and get back to us with your responses.
No more empty cots Do you want to do something positive this year? Fundraise for Tamba, please!
mainly via health professionals and self-referral from families. The project aims to carry out a home visit to all triplet families in the area. A previous evaluation found that parents with multiple birth children were most commonly concerned about routines, feeding and potty training. Since starting work, Shona has been able to support and signpost these parents to resources, and also to reassure them that they are doing well. As well as visiting families, Shona represents Tamba at multiple birth information evenings which are run by both maternity units in the Southern HSCT area. This is a great way for expectant families to get to know our Tamba health visitor. We have had great support from the Southern Trust with this joint partnership, and hope that it will continue to grow for years to come.
NI twins clubs go forth and multiply Last December, Tamba NI was awarded £9,900 from Awards for All NI to develop its club network across NI. To anyone who has attended our Newtownabbey and Enniskillen clubs, they will know first hand the benefits that these meet-ups with other multiple birth parents provide. Our Newtownabbey club has been run over the past eight years by Joanne Hamilton Whyte, whose own twins are now 7. Families attending have seen their own and each other’s children grow through all the stages from babyhood to well beyond, with parents and children forming strong friendships. We wanted to be able to provide this service in each maternity unit area in Northern Ireland, so we asked for the support of Awards for All NI to provide funding. Happilly we got the go ahead, and this has enabled us to set up new clubs in Antrim, Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownards, Craigavon and Londonderry.
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Grand Raffle draw
Boring but important…
We’d like to say a huge thank you to the fundraisers who continue to raise money to support our TTTS Appeal. Their help ensures we can continue to fund the running costs of creating a registry with information on Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome pregnancies across the UK. We hope the registry will help clinicians improve treatment and outcomes for families facing TTTS, a dangerous condition that shares blood unequally between babies who share a placenta. Among our fundraising heroes is Simon Bradley, who recently completed The Wall - a 69 mile run - to raise money for the appeal. Although not a bereaved parent himself, he took on this incredible challenge on behalf of those who have sadly lost their babies to the condition. Simon told us: ‘At around mile 59, I hit empty. I had just about nothing left. I saw a tree stump and just sat down. I couldn’t see how I could get up, let alone walk, let alone run. One phrase came to mind – EMPTY COTS. Some friends of friends lost both of their twins to TTTS shortly after their birth. That thought of coming home from hospital to empty cots is haunting. Getting up from a stump because I felt tired was one of the hardest single things I’ve done, but it’s nothing on what that couple had to face that day, and the day after, and remember for the rest of their lives.’ Simon came 90th out of 474 finishers and did it in 15 hours and 36 minutes! Continued fundraising like Simon’s is very much needed and greatly appreciated by all at Tamba and all those families who want to improve outcomes for TTTS pregnancies. If you would like to fundraise for the appeal, please get in touch with Lucie.firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more info on Simon’s story at www.tamba.org.uk/blog/simon-bradley
Many thanks to all of you who bought tickets in Tamba’s Grand Raffle to help support our charity - and congratulations to the many who have won prizes! First prize winner Yvonne Burton told us: ‘When I found out I had won the top prize it really made my week. I always buy Tamba raffle tickets as it is a great charity, and I never think that I might actually win something. Winning this prize couldn’t have come at a better time and we are looking forward to being able to enjoy our first family holiday abroad next year all thanks to Tamba.’
Triplet research submitted The first update from a study into triplet pregnancies has just been submitted by Dr Therese Hannon, a consultant in fetal medicine based at the Royal Victoria Hospital Newcastle. The study, looking at the prevalence, antenatal management and perinatal outcomes of triplet pregnancies, is jointly funded by Tamba and the British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS), and is being conducted in partnership with St George’s hospital in London. Both centres are looking through records and ultrasounds from across their regions to determine how often they saw these types of pregnancy, and what care was received prior to and after the introduction of the NICE multiple pregnancy antenatal guidance. The centres will examine the impact of the NICE guidance on outcomes, and consider what further changes to care or research are required. The same study will also review records from monochorionic, monoamniotic (MOMO) twin pregnancies, though progress has been slowed by the difficulty in identifying such pregnancies from records that often predate digital formats, and come from a wide range of maternity units. The researchers expect to publish two papers on each type of pregnancy over the next twelve months.
Scottish maternity shake-up Tamba’s Scottish officer, Helen Peck, is setting up meetings between maternity and neonatal teams in response to a recent review of both services by the Scottish government. With the number of intensive neonatal units set to be reduced, Helen has been pressing for a meeting of experts from hospitals across the country to agree a shared pathway of care so that mothers get the right care in the right place and at the right time. The changes mean that mothers of twins, triplets or higher order multiples may have to travel further to receive care, but potentially the care they receive will be of better quality, and the babies healthier. But with the greater likelihood of mothers and babies being in a hospital some way from home, it’s also important that the additional challenges this creates are addressed. Meanwhile, Helen is also in discussion with maternity units to ensure they either deliver good parent education prior to birth, or promote the relevant Tamba services. Our Preparing for Parenthood and Antenatal classes, which have been funded by Awards For All, continue to be hugely popular with parents expecting twins, triplets or more.
to shower, and two midwives and a sonographer then spent an hour trying to get a permanent fix on one baby’s heartbeat. They could get it temporarily but a contraction would cause the baby to move and they would have to start again. After an hour without a constant trace my consultant decided a C-section was the safest way to proceed. I could feel the babies moving and see their heartbeats on the scan images, but I accepted the medical advice, and Reece and Isaac were born at 1.08am and 1.09am at 38 weeks; they weighed 8lb 5oz and 7lb 14oz respectively. Both boys were healthy and perfect in every way. They required no special care and stayed with me during our two-day stay in hospital. They breastfed well from the beginning. Isaac and Reece are now 17 months old. They love Ethan, and my husband and I feel incredibly blessed to have three such amazing little boys. Reece, the difficult one in labour, is comical and has an amazing smile; Isaac is laid back and fun loving, and Ethan is caring and protective of his little brothers. To anyone newly expecting multiples, my best advice is to relax - and don’t forget the stretch mark oil…
Easy does it Sarah Hall on her no-dramas pregnancy I found out I was expecting twins at six weeks when I had an early scan due to some spotting. I was 36 years old and already mum to Ethan, almost 2. My husband and I were both stunned. Driving home we turned our minds to the implications: did we need to move house? Buy a new car? What schools would they attend - did we need to move to a different catchment? In the end we decided the only must was a car big enough for three car seats. And what happened next was simply that, well, everything ran to plan. At midwife appointments my blood pressure remained low, with protein-free wee and good weight gain – the midwife revelled in measuring my bump and telling me how much I’d grown. My scan appointments revealed both babies were growing beautifully and looked healthy. I experienced some tiredness in the first 12 weeks, but I slept when Ethan did. My ankles swelled a little in the last eight weeks but not so much as to be uncomfortable. My biggest complaint was that towards the end of my pregnancy, maternity clothes just didn’t fit - my bump was huge. My husband works full-time while I work part-time, and with a toddler to look after and his regular classes to attend - football, swimming, playgroup - I adopted the approach of ‘business as usual’ and carried on with the activities Ethan and I had always done. I didn’t want him to miss out. With no complications there was no reason for me not to. I was also incredibly lucky to have great support from my sister and mother-in-law – if I needed help or a break, they were always there. At 37 and a half weeks I was admitted to hospital for induction. The pessary had no effect so my waters were broken and labour began. Contractions started and I reached 5cm quickly. Unfortunately, my monitoring belts were removed to enable me
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Meet the twins Maria Penny and her two-year-old son were watching the monitor together when the sonographer found a multiple surprise…
Maria’s son Joseph is now proud big brother to Thomas and George
My biggest complaint was that maternity clothes just didn’t fit - my bump was huge
Above: mum, dad and the bump. Right, Reece (l) and Isaac at two days old. Main pic: Ethan (l), Isaac and Reece with mum and dad
Help and info PREGNANCY • Download our guides on Healthy Multiple Pregnancy, Practical Preparing for Parenthood and Expecting More Than One from www.tamba.org.uk, where you can also read guides on Breastfeeding, Neonatal Care, TTTS and Postnatal Depression • Find out what antenatal care you should have on our website at www.tamba.org.uk and watch our experts answer your FAQs in online videos • Book a place on our antenatal courses or our Practical Preparing
for Parenthood class on 01252 332344 or via the website
• Talk to expectant parents on Tamba’s members-only
messageboard or visit the Twins Club page to find your nearest club – expectant parents are always welcome
Our second pregnancy was as planned and wanted as our first, and our son Joseph was excited when we told him he was going to be a big brother. We didn’t want him to feel ignored so we decided to include him from the outset - another baby was, after all, going to change his world as well as ours. So Joseph was with us when we trooped off for our first scan, all primed and ready to see his new baby brother or sister on ‘television’. But as the image appeared on screen, my heart began to race: I saw not one, but two little figures kicking their legs and writhing about. It all seems hazy now but I vaguely recall hearing, ‘Congratulations, you’re having twins!’, and my own voice stuck on repeat saying, ‘Oh my God… Oh my God’. Joseph looked thoroughly confused: ‘Two babies, Mummy?’ Racing through my mind was a mixture of surprise, terror, and questions. How would we cope physically? How would we cope financially? How would Joseph feel about not one but two new people? Joseph was two years old when I was expecting and was due to turn three the
My stay in hospital was the first time I had ever spent a night away from Joseph day before their due date. He was still very young and I’m not sure he understood what was happening until late in the pregnancy, when he could feel my bump moving. Once the panic had subsided, we kept to our initial approach and included him in as much as possible, from choosing the colour of the pram to the paint for the babies’ bedroom. We kept reinforcing that though he was about to become a big brother, he was still our baby. The twins arrived by caesarean section at 39 weeks plus one day, and my stay in hospital to have them was the first time I had ever spent a night away from Joseph; I found it so hard. I cried a lot and it may sound strange, but I missed Joseph incredibly. I worried how he would feel to see me cradle and kiss the twins. Would he
feel resentment or jealousy? I needn’t have worried. Joseph taught me that children are resilient and adapt quickly. I think I struggled more than he did, and it helped that he took it all in his stride. There have been moments, of course; he once asked me, while I was feeding, to ‘put the babies back’ in my tummy as he wanted me to play with him. We make sure we devote time to Joseph alone, whether it’s an hour at the park or a trip to the shop, so he doesn’t feel overlooked. It has been a tough year, but involving him helped us all adapt, and I can’t imagine things any other way.
Help and info BABIES • Visit Tamba’s website (www.tamba. org.uk) for info on common concerns such as crying and colic; to download free guides on Breastfeeding, Preparing for Parenthood and Postnatal Depression; and to view video clips on FAQs. • Find and join a twins club in your area by searching the website under ‘Clubs’.
Chat with other parents via Tamba’s members-only online messageboard or our Facebook • page.
• Call the Cry-sis telephone helpline for parents coping with crying babies on 0845 122 8669 (www.cry-sis.org.uk).
• Ring Twinline, Tamba’s freephone listening service, to talk over any concerns on 0800 138 0509, open 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm daily www.tamba.org.uk
Health: Families in crisis
the hospitals and expressing milk. ‘As soon as I’d seen one baby, I’d have to set off to see the others,’ she said. When the babies came home, Clare says her partner was working long hours, so she on her own with them. She first heard of Tamba’s Helping Hands service when she was referred by her mental health worker. At that time she couldn’t get out of the house and was getting very little sleep. Clare, who lives in Guildford, said: ‘I really wanted to be well and give my babies the best life I possibly could and not cloud their childhood with my mental illness. ‘The routine Lucy showed us was the best gift we could have had. That routine has stayed with us as they have grown. From waking up in the morning, they’re now coordinated in their feeding, changing and napping – before they were doing everything at different times and they had really bad reflux too, which just added to the problems.’ Clare admits she worried that her prior mental health problems would affect the care Helping Hands provided. But she needn’t have
Helping Hands How Tamba’s crisis support service is changing lives for multiple birth families
Clare Donovan admits that hearing the doctors tell her she was pregnant with triplets was a big shock, and she worried that she might struggle to cope both mentally and financially. When her babies were born they all needed specialist care in neonatal units, with Clare travelling between hospitals, expressing milk, and constantly worried about their health. When she finally had all her newborns at home, she was mentally and physically exhausted. Clare says she was at breaking point
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when her Helping Hands application was accepted by Tamba. The scheme, set up in 2014, helps families of multiples in crisis with short-term practical support in the home to make life more bearable. Qualified childcare professionals, trained by Norland College, kindly volunteer their time to be Helping Hands support practitioners to families in England and Wales. ‘You think they’re going to benefit the children, but I’d say 80 percent of what Helping Hands did was care for and support me,’ said Clare, 27. ‘No one wants to say they’re struggling to cope, but I never felt I was being judged. With Lucy, our support practitioner, it always felt like I was chatting to a best friend.’ Clare has suffered from mental health problems since adolescence. She had chronic depression, anxiety and a borderline personality disorder, having her first admission to an acute unit when she was just 14 years old. She had enjoyed five years of good mental health when she decided to start a family and had been looking forward to having a child. But when Clare and her former partner failed to become pregnant and opted for IVF treatment, her anxiety escalated. ‘The pressure of the IVF process started to make me anxious,’ said Clare. ‘Then, from thinking we wouldn’t even have children to having three, well, I was devastated to be honest. I know that’s not something you’re supposed to admit, but I was terrified. ‘I then had a really horrendous pregnancy, with severe anxiety and depression and I was in and out of hospital. I suffered from obstetric cholestasis and when things starting going physically wrong, it really affected me mentally as well.’ The babies were born via emergency caesarean section on 4 April 2015. Noah, Jacob and Saraiyah needed specialist care and were split between two hospitals. Clare spent all her time travelling between
The day I was finally discharged from mental health services, I was so happy: I no longer met the criteria for the label I’d dragged around with me for the past decade been concerned. ‘I never felt judged, or like I was being lectured,’ she explained. ‘Before Helping Hands I’d felt I had nowhere left to turn,’ she said. ‘Before Lucy came I think I was just running on adrenalin and I never felt I could be honest with anyone about how rubbish I felt. ‘When the day came that I was finally discharged as a service user from the mental health services, I was so happy. I no longer met the criteria for the label I’d dragged around with me for the last decade.’ Clare now has an appropriate routine for caring for the triplets,
Noah, Saraiyah and Jacob needed specialist care in different hospitals
who turned two earlier this year, and she feels confident heading out with her triplet buggy. ‘We’re so happy now and I can’t thank Lucy and Helping Hands enough,’ said Clare. ‘If I hadn’t had that support, I’m not sure what life would have been like now. Lucy gave me the routine and confidence I needed to enjoy being a parent.’ Tamba CEO Keith Reed said Helping Hands has made a difference to hundreds of families in crisis: ‘We often receive emails and cards from families to say what a difference the service has made – in fact, six months after a successful application for help, 80 percent of parents rate Helping Hands as 10/10. ‘We’re incredibly proud of its success and how much Helping Hands means to our multiple birth families. We’re so pleased we can arm parents with the practical tools they need be confident, happy parents. Hearing how content Clare, Mahmoud, Noah, Jacob and Saraiyah are just goes to show how valued and needed this service is.’ Although the support is provided by two consultant practitioners and a team of volunteers who have been trained by Norland College, Helping Hands still needs funding for volunteer travel expenses and staff at Tamba who co-ordinate the project. Anyone wishing to support the cause can visit www.tamba.org.uk/fundraising/helpinghands-appeal.
Help and info
HELPING HANDS SERVICE • Helping Hands provides free, practical, qualified help in the home for families of multiples in crisis, including bereavement, severe illness, postnatal depression, and serious behavioural problems. To find out more visit www.tamba.org.uk/helpinghands • To see a video of Clare speaking about Helping Hands visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hFKi2EpQaY • Ring Twinline, Tamba’s freephone listening service, to discuss any concerns on 0800 138 0509, open 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm daily Clare now has the routine and confidence she needs to enjoy her children
Preschool: Film & TV
Tabitha and Poppy: identical twins are much in demand with producers because of time restrictions around filming with children
children’s own bank accounts so they can have access to it when they are older. Legislation limits parental expenses to 10 percent of whatever the children earn. Clients vary, but the rates are around £50-£60 per hour (£250-£350 per day) for photographic work, and £160-£200 per day for television. If a child is used in the final cut of a commercial, they normally get an additional payout of around 500 percent. Agents’ fees are around 25 percent. We recently got our first television commercial as a family, with Tomy. We went to London to go through scenes with the director,
Two stars reviewed… Anna Miller’s babies were only six weeks old when they began their film and television career
Filming with children can be a lot of work and certainly isn’t for everyone, but there’s huge fun to be had too. My girls, Tabitha and Poppy, have been involved in TV and film since they were six weeks old, when I heard about an agency, Jam2000, through a friend and they got a job on ‘Call the Midwife’. Within weeks they had got their first film role - this time through a Facebook casting call - in ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’. Many agents will give their right arm to have identical twins on the books. This is because local authority regulations mean children under five can only be on set for five hours at a time, of which they can only be filming for two hours. This would give directors a tiny window to film (and there are a lot of takes). Having identical twins means they can substitute the children and thus double their filming window. Castings, where you turn up with the children ahead of a possible job and are seen by a casting director, can feel like a lot of work for little reward. It is normal to only hear from an agent about castings on the working day they occur, and you can spend hours travelling to what is only a five or ten minute appointment. In fact, agents
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will often only accept people within an hour’s radius of London or Manchester. Getting a job is the best feeling in the world, though. On the day of the shoot you have to be very organised - though having multiples means disorganisation isn’t an option in any case. A driver picks us up from home and takes us to the set, usually at the crack of dawn. There’s a lot of waiting about, so I fill the production car with toys, sit-me-ups, food, travel cots - the lot. And yes, I do generally get laughed at, but I like to be prepared! I try to stick to routine as much as possible, but you have to be flexible and we jiggle things around so they work for everyone. Most jobs are paid, and the money goes straight to the
My promise to the girls is that we will only keep doing it for as long as they seem to enjoy it
discuss what was expected and agree make-up and outfits. We were asked to work with the girls in the meantime, teaching them to clap, laugh and smile when given a certain command. We got to work and were surprised at how easily the girls followed commands: when we said smile, they smiled; when we said laugh, they laughed; and when we said clap, they clapped - or at any rate, they did when they were in the mood! It was a two-day shoot with a lot to fit in - five different toys, and, because of the time restrictions on filming with children, just four hours to do it in. But the girls rose to the occasion and did us proud. I was sceptical about them performing on the director’s instructions, but they listened so carefully and responded so well. All the attention was on them, and the crew made such an effort to get to know them. The girls were asked to pull this, turn that, shake this, can you clap, can you splash, put this in there, over and over again, but they were having a ball. I honestly didn’t think we were going to have such an easy time. My promise to the girls (and myself) is that we will only keep doing it for as long as they seem to enjoy it. At times it has been fairly crazy but it is also a lot of fun, and watching the girls makes me feel incredibly proud. As babies they were angels; now they are toddlers they are a little more challenging, but they follow direction well and generally go with the flow, minus a few tantrums and mad moments - but what toddler doesn’t have those? You can read Anna’s blog at www.popitha.com
We believe that families of
Our mission is to raise awareness, invest in multiple birth children continue research and campaigning, and provide our to need perhaps families withsupport, the information andmore support than before they needever to thrive.
Our plans Better outcomes
The story so far…
Together over the past three years we have achieved amazing things.
For the first time, Tamba has invested in clinical research; developed twin pregnancy growth charts; set up a registry to record complex pregnancies such as those with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS; and set up a joint research programme with the British Maternal Fetal Medicine Society. The Department of Health agreed to fund a groundbreaking project that involved Tamba working with 28 maternity units where the data suggested they were in need of improvement. This project will continue into the next strategic plan.
Over the past three years, our honorary consultants have helped 500 families with support on issues ranging from speech and language to behaviour and education. We supported a specialist multiple births health visitor programme in Northern Ireland. The programme made contact with expectant families in the area and offered support through pregnancy, birth and the early months.
For the first time, multiples were mentioned as requiring specialist care in key government policy documents. We lobbied to make sure the cap on universal credit benefit, which introduced a limit of two children, did not apply to our families who exceeded the cap as a result of having multiples.
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Families of multiple birth children continue to need support, perhaps more than ever before. Health
Admission to a neonatal intensive care unit and the separation it entails can cause parents great anxiety. Rates of postnatal depression were found to be higher in both mothers and fathers of multiples at two months and at two years postpartum, and, for mothers of triplets, even at four years. Many health professionals in maternity settings are unaware of the challenges faced by our families and the specialist care and guidance that will help them.
The costs of childcare often mean that one parent has to give up work whether they want to or not. At six months, only 28 percent of mothers of twins were employed compared to 70 percent of mothers of singletons. This can push many families into poverty. For many more, the costs of childcare can cause financial difficulties.
We want to reduce the number of families who experience stillbirth, neonatal death, brain injury or prematurity by commissioning research that improves clinical outcomes; facilitating training for health professionals; and building relationships with commissioning and public health bodies to ensure good care. We will make sure healthcare policy and clinical guidance are fit for purpose. It’s important our families can find the support and information they need, and that families in crisis can move towards stability. We want all our families to be confident in their parenting ability, with access to our information resources.
Our specialist services and classes will support and inspire families. We will use technology to deliver personalised services, continuing to upgrade our website and systems. We will expand our Helping Hands service to provide support even more families in crisis. We will also support our community via a flourishing network of local clubs. We will help local clubs to campaign for change in their area. We will pay attention to families who may not typically access our support, for example, families with children who have special needs or those who have English as a second language.
We’re aiming for a high level of awareness of Tamba and the information we provide among hospital trusts and local authorities.We want to engage maternity and neonatal units to improve their services; engage local authorities to improve the support they offer to our parents with postnatal depression; provide training and development to teams within targeted trusts and local authorities; and ensure our resources get to healthcare and early years professionals.
We want national and local policy makers to understand the financial impact of multiples. To do this we will commission research that shows how these challenges impact our families. We will build campaigning capacity in all four nations to address financial, childcare and educational concerns.
We couldn’t have achieved any of this without support from our members, and we’ll continue to need your support to deliver these new plans.
SAFE TRAVEL WITH BABY
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SIMPLE, SAFE & SMART
Antonia was keen to meet other parents of multiples after Juniper Kittie and Ottoline were born
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10% Discount FOR TAMBA MEMBERS!
Moving to a new area, Antonia Parker’s efforts to meet parents of multiples turned into a whole new club As a mother to one-year-old twins, I know the challenges that parents of multiples face getting out to baby groups. I moved to Haywards Heath two months before my girls were born, and while all my new NCT friends were signing up for swimming, sensory and massage classes in the early months, I was struggling to get out the house for a walk before 2pm. I had joined a couple of national Antonia: ‘Within two days we had over 30 members’
It is so nice to hang out with others who know the highs and lows of juggling twins, triplets and more twins groups on Facebook during my pregnancy, and noticed that there were lots of regional groups where parents would meet up. But there seemed to be nothing locally, so I decided to set one up myself. I had already met quite a few twin parents out and about - I tend to gravitate towards double buggies - so I started telling them about my Facebook group, and word quickly spread. Within two days we had over 30 members of the online group, which was really exciting. It felt like I had found real people I could connect with, and maybe even meet up with.
My health visitor told me about our local children and family centre, so I popped in one day and proposed having a multiples meet-up there. They were hugely supportive, and really keen to get more people using their great facilities for free! So I bit the bullet and suggested a gathering for all those parents of multiples. Our first session was attended by ten parents and twenty children, which was great but hectic! Inspired by how keen mums are to meet other real people, I decided to take it further and join Mush, a free app with the mission to make the lives of mums more fun and less lonely by connecting with other local, likeminded mums with kids the same age. There’s even a tab for multiples. While Mush initially felt like online dating, I’ve since met some lovely mums for coffees and playdates, and it has never felt awkward. I would highly recommend it to anyone to help combat the isolation that parenthood can bring. Our Twins Club now has over 70 members. We meet twice a month and it’s a great place to chat and let the kids play in a multiples-friendly environment. Parents are always willing to help each other out, and it is so nice to hang out with others who know the highs and lows of juggling twins, triplets and more. So, if you’re wishing you had more parent friends to hang out with, consider joining Mush (www.letsmush.com) or starting a Facebook group to make it happen - it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Help and info CLUBS • For more information on how to set up a club, for a pack we can send you or to register your club with Tamba, please contact Diane Cole email@example.com • For a comprehensive list of clubs registered with Tamba and to find your nearest one, visit our website at www. tamba.org.uk and search under ‘Clubs’ • Ring Twinline, Tamba’s freephone listening service, to talk to someone about any concerns on 0800 138 0509, open 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm daily www.tamba.org.uk
IT’S A WORLD FIRST! Saving tiny lives with the new twin growth charts
All achieved thanks to you! The Beanstalk Appeal was the beginning of Tamba’s investment in clinical research. The TTTS Appeal followed on from this, to set up the first national TTTS Registry. Research investment has continued through The Big Research Appeal phases 1 and 2, raising £40,000, matched by the British Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS). Over the past four years, this is what your support has achieved: • First twin pregnancy growth charts used in hospitals.
The first scan using our new twin pregnancy growth charts has just taken place - and it’s all thanks to you! It was a big moment for multiple families across the UK when the world’s first pregnancy scan using twin growth charts was performed at St George’s Hospital in London during Twins, Triplets and More Week in July. For the first time, the new charts will accurately measure unborn twins in the womb to see if they are growing properly. It could save hundreds of tiny twin lives each year. The £25,000 research project to develop these growth charts was made possible thanks to support from Tamba members just like you, who donated and fundraised towards our Beanstalk Appeal. Tamba CEO Keith Reed gave special thanks to the hundreds of donors and fundraisers who made the research possible: ‘Every family who made a contribution can credit themselves with being part of a significant landmark in medical history, and should be proud that their support will give twins a better start to life. It’s an incredible achievement.’ Before the arrival of these new charts, hospitals plotted the measurements of unborn twins against data designed for singleton babies. Clinicians had to use their judgement to decide how the babies were progressing. Often this meant growth issues were misdiagnosed and inappropriately managed. Too often there was over-diagnosis of growth problems, with twins being incorrectly diagnosed as too small, leading to them being delivered early and facing complications such as disability as a consequence. Dr Asma Khalil, consultant obstetrician and leading multiple births expert at St George’s, explains: ‘Using singleton growth charts to measure twin babies made it difficult to identify the difference between babies who were truly small because they were not growing properly versus twins who were normally small. To deliver early when there isn’t a reason can potential cause unnecessary harm to the babies. The new growth charts will better protect babies. ‘Not only will the new charts save twin lives, they will also reduce the number of babies needing neonatal care after birth. About 50 percent of multiple birth babies need some form of
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• First national registry of TTTS pregnancies established. special unit treatment once they’re born, but with these new twin growth charts we’re hoping to reduce that statistic considerably. The twin growth charts represent a step forward in maternal fetal medicine for multiple families and should improve healthcare for twin babies during pregnancy and further improve the care of multiple birth women.’ Although it has taken longer than expected, the growth charts are now available on hospital computer systems made by Viewpoint and Astraia. Although research into twin growth during pregnancy has been conducted in the past, and studies have found a significant difference in their growth compared to singleton babies, the findings have never resulted in twin growth charts being available on hospital computer software - so the new charts are a world first. With both software systems in hospitals in Europe, the growth charts will also be made available on the continent. Keith added: ‘The fact Tamba and St George’s is part of a world first is extremely exciting for our supporters and expectant twin families. We hope hospitals across the UK and further afield will share our enthusiasm and begin using the twin growth charts as soon as possible.’
• Commissioned research via Big Research Appeal on single intrauterine fetal death (SIUFD) in monochorionic twin pregnancies; neurodevelopment outcomes in complicated twin pregnancies, including TTTS; prevalence, birth outcomes clinical management of monochorionic monoamniotic (MCMA) twin and all triplet pregnancies; emergency cerclage in twin pregnancies; and myometrial transcriptome in twin pregnancy. All these measures were designed to prevent prematurity and save lives.
£20,000 for Phase 3
We want your help to continue The Big Research Appeal into Phase 3 to raise the next £20,000. This will commission two more pieces of potentially life-saving research to complete the seven pieces of research we promised at the beginning of the appeal. We have seen what the multiple-birth community can achieve, and believe that together we can do great things. Only with your support can we complete the largest research project of its kind. We hope you will be excited to join our quest and help us to create more medical firsts. Money donated or raised will once again be matched £1 for £1 by the BMFMS, doubling your donation at no extra cost to you!
To donate please go to campaign. justgiving.com/charity/tamba/bigresearch or text TBIG02 £5 or £10 to 70070. If you would like to fundraise please contact LucieWigley@tamba.org.uk Do it to be part of medical history. Do it because the simple act of giving or fundraising will make you a life-saver. Do it because at the moment at least one twin, triplet or quad dies every day. Do it because half of multiple birth children arrive prematurely, some with disabilities, and we can reduce this.
Money donated or raised will once again be matched £1 for £1 by the BMFMS, doubling your donation at no extra cost to you!
How far, how fast?
Emma Campbell on playing out, staying safe, and the long and winding road to independence
Autumn craze... ...window dressing Norland Nanny Sarah Cahill on a creative activity to entertain and cheer whatever the weather
What you will need
At this stage, if your children are older and seeking something more creative, they can cut out a few shapes or some long thin strips of black paper and arrange them on the sticky plastic to give the stained glass a more designed effect.
Here’s a fantastically simple, independent activity to set up for when you have an afternoon of jobs to do around the house, or one ill child and another who is bored, or it is miserable outside and you want to stay in without everyone going crazy. It’s also a perfect activity for young children, who don’t necessarily have a long attention span but can dip in and out of the activity as they wish. There is also scope for older children to make the decorations more elaborate.
What to do
Meanwhile, fold a piece of black card in half and cut out a large rectangle to create a frame, and stick it to the plastic.
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Tissue paper Sticky-back plastic Black card Children’s scissors Tape
Start by encouraging any children old enough to choose colours of tissue paper and cut them into small squares. While they’re doing that, cut a large square of sticky-back plastic and lay it out on a table with weights on each corner if necessary to keep it flat. Peel the plastic away and stick tape around the edge. Use the sticky tape to fix it to the window, so the plastic is sticky-side up, ensuring it is at the right height for your children. Aim to do one window per child, keeping them at least elbow-distance apart to avoid conflict.
The children can now collect together the pieces of coloured tissue paper into their own separate little bowls and place them on the floor under the window. Then, each can get on with creating their own stained glass window. Once they’re all done, stick another piece of sticky plastic over the top to finish off their artwork and protect it. Remember to be age-appropriate with scissors don’t leave children unattended.
Freedom, it certainly feels very different to how it did before I became a mum. Even on the rare but wonderful occasions when their step-dad, Dave, and I get a night’s break, there’s always that parental radar beeping. Are they okay? What if Theo has six nosebleeds before breakfast or Ella has one of her ‘Help mummy, giant, black spiders are crawling all over my bed’ night terrors? As parents, we might crave freedom but there’s always something pulling us back - the invisible but extremely strong umbilical cord that is forever attached to our babies. I think it’s the same for our kids. On the winding road to independence there are all the different phases - push, pull, go, stay. But, when it comes down to it, and whether they want it or not, we are
Intrepid: Theo, Louis and Ella are fearless out and about - as long as they’re together
I honestly think that, if I let them, Ella, Louis and Theo would set off on a gap year a decade early and not even send me a postcard their safe harbour, and gauging how much freedom to give them isn’t easy. In our house, the wonderful but agonisingly long years of total dependancy and attachment - that is, not being able to go the loo without six grubby hands and faces pressing against the door - are almost at an end. Almost. We’re lucky enough to live in an area where the children can play outside away from busy roads and within earshot. I don’t have to be hypervigilant every time they zoom past on their scooters or inform me over their shoulders as they’re running in the opposite direction that they’re going to knock on a friend’s door. But they are only seven, and still need to be kept safe and clear about the rules. As a pack of three, Ella, Louis and Theo
seem to think they can take on the world without risk. They tend to stick together, and so maybe as a parent of triplets and an older son, Jake, I’m a bit more relaxed when it comes to them playing out or running ahead of me at the park. There’s safety in numbers, I tell myself, and kids need to be kids. But their natural bravado and backoff-mum attitude slips dramatically when they’re without the other two. On his own, Theo appears much more vulnerable and unsure. Losing sight of me at the park just wouldn’t happen if Louis and I were there by ourselves - partly because it’s so much easier to keep track of one small human than four, but also because Louis wouldn’t want to be far from my side.
‘Stay together!’ I cry as the clock strikes nine on a Sunday morning and they’re finally allowed out to wake up the neighbours. ‘Don’t go out of the close!’ I call to what seem like deaf ears as they speed round the corner towards their den. They’re pretty good on the whole. Keeping an eye on each other seems to come naturally. And I think Dave and I just about strike the right balance between a healthy awareness of potential dangers and letting their free spirits soar. I’m not sure how we’ll navigate the next phase. A few years down the line when the parties start and driving tests are passed, I’ll probably be doing everything I can to tether their free spirits to the ground. Unlike Jake, who seems to prefer being at home to anywhere else in the world, I honestly do think that, if I let them, Ella, Louis and Theo would set off on a gap year a decade early and not even send me a postcard. As long as they promised to stick together, I’m pretty confident they would be okay. Emma’s first book, ‘All That Followed’, is out next spring. Follow her via Instagram and Twitter: @emplus4
Help and info TRIPLETS AND MORE • Email firstname.lastname@example.org
for contact details of Tamba’s triplets group. Visit our Triplets Plus Facebook page and the Triplets forum on our members-only messageboard at www. tamba.org.uk
• Visit the Tamba website at www.
tamba.org.uk to read factsheets on parenting triplets
• Ring Twinline, Tamba’s freephone
listening service, to discuss any concerns on 0800 138 0509, open 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm daily
Family moments, feature: Xxxxxxxxxx
come rain or shine Save up to an additional
as a Tamba member this autumn
Feel the leaves crunching under your feet, watch them changing colours and dig out your favourite woolly jumper. Come and warm up in our indoor pools – we have lots of water-based activities that you can join in on. And for the little ones who might not be quite so confident in the water we have Learn2swim sessions. If you’d like to take a souvenir home with you then come along to one of our Pic ‘n’ Paint sessions, or if you want to create a masterpiece then pop in on our Sand Art session. Don’t forget, you can hire everything you need from us; from travel cots and highchairs, to bikes and karts!
Our friendly UK holiday advisors are waiting for your call 7 days a week, 9am - 9pm.
Call: 0333 202 5248 Quote: Z_TAMBA Visit: www.haven.com/tamba Terms and conditions: *Save up to an extra £40 is based on seven night breaks taken between 20 October - end of season. Other discounts are available on other dates, grades of accommodations and on touring and camping breaks. For monthly offers and full details of your Tamba discount please call or go online. Your extra discount is an additional saving combinable with Haven’s general offers and will be added on after all other discounts have been taken into account. These offers can be amended or withdrawn at anytime and are subject to availability. They cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, group booking, third party discount or voucher, and must be booked direct with Haven. Full Haven Holidays terms and conditions apply. For all terms and conditions, including call charges, please visit www.haven.com/terms. Haven Holidays is a trading name of Bourne Leisure Limited, registered in England and Wales, no 04011660. Registered office: 1 Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP2 4YL. HAV5891_12444
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Multiple Savings HOW TO DO IT
Pocket watching Save far more than the cost of your membership with Tamba’s brilliant Multiple Savings scheme. By Nicola Hamilton ‘I love my Tamba discounts!’ is something our members tell us a lot. We know you love Clarks, JoJo Maman Bébé and Mothercare – our most popular discounters. Are you among the hundreds of members regularly saving money? If you’ve never logged on to Multiple Savings, you’re potentially missing out on 120 different ways to save. You’ve told us it should be easier to get to and search for discounts, and we’ve been listening… Once you’re logged in at tamba.org.uk, you can now just click on the ‘Discounts’ button at the very top of the page to hop straight over to Tamba Multiple Savings. The discounts menus have been undergoing a makeover, with new categories under ‘Lifestyle’, ‘Shopping’ and ‘Travel’, making them easier to navigate. Look out for our monthly emails, with highlights on useful savings and news on new discounters. The links in these emails will beam you directly to where you want to be on the Multiple Savings site. Multiple Savings is there for you from the moment you welcome your little
If you’ve never logged on to Multiple Savings, you’re missing out on 120 different ways to save
ones into the world to long after they’ve flown the nest. We have no fewer than 25 different ‘Baby Gear’ discounters. Kirsty loves Morrck’s lovely travel wrap - ‘now mine are older they make great baby presents!’ Growing children constantly need new clothes: our popular clothing and shoe discounters cater for babies to adults and everyone in between. Hannah’s favourites are ‘Clarks, JoJo and Frugi. Mothercare was great for buying the buggy and car seats.’ Useful to know, too, that you can get 7 percent off at John Lewis through ‘Lifestyle Vouchers’. Browse through the new Travel menu to find the perfect break to suit your family and budget, from picturesque cottages and family-friendly resorts to a vast choice of package holidays with Travel by Inspire. Katy loves Haven. She told us, ‘We've just got home from spending a weekend there with eight multiple families :)’. ‘Merlin and Park Resorts [now Parkdean Resorts],’ have been Gemma’s favourites, ‘as you get such big discounts. Prams and car seats online retailer is very good too.’
• Visit tamba.org.uk and log in. Once you’ve successfully logged in, we’ve made it easier to see where to go – you should see a ‘Discounts’ button at the top of every page. Clicking on here will whisk you straight on to the Multiple Savings site. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the members-only area as the logo on the left will be ‘Multiple Savings’. • Got a question? For queries about individual discounts and benefits, call our helpline – you’ll find the number at the top of every Multiple Savings web page. If you need help with your membership or getting logged on, the membership team can help on 01252 332344 or via email@example.com. • Not receiving our email updates? If you think we’ve got an incorrect or out-of-date email address (particularly if you’re on maternity leave), please get in touch with the Tamba membership team.
As the kids get bigger, you may assume Tamba discounts won’t be as useful anymore, but think again! Planning a grand day out or weekend away? Save with Superbreak to see shows, visit attractions or go sightseeing. There’s plenty of fun to be had at 32 Merlin Entertainments attractions like Alton Towers, Legoland or the London Eye. As your family grows, so does the grocery bill; this is where Cashback Cards come into their own. With Tesco and Sainsbury’s among the participating retailers, 26 members saved a total of £269.99 Cashback in March alone this year. Tamba discounts are for you as well as the kids. For the serious side of life, there’s insurance, financial advice, and a free legal helpline. For life’s luxuries, save on beauty treatments, dining out, cinema tickets, playing golf or watching cricket. Between January and June, 269 members took advantage of their free voucher for discounted gym membership. Your Tamba membership really can pay for itself – and more – in 120 different ways!
All figures are correct at time of writing. Terms and conditions apply to all benefits. See website for details. Offers subject to change without notice. Tamba Multiple Savings is managed on behalf of Tamba by Parliament Hill.
Teens: Dad's corner
Nick has been a stay-at-home dad ever since the boys started school
‘I’m incredibly lucky in that I’ve never had to drag them to school – they’ve always enjoyed it,’ says Nick. ‘My only fear is that they’ll pick up bad language and habits now they’re with older children. With Lauren, she never seemed to have that horrible teenager stage, but the boys just seem to want to fight for their independence.’ Everything Nick says comes with a laugh and a chuckle; ‘stress’ doesn’t seem
Help and info SECONDARY • ‘Multiple Birth Siblings as Adolescents’,
Hopefully I’ll be a grandad and have the joys of young children again, and be able to hand them back
Forget the terrible twos, dad-of-twins Nick Friend says his boys are turning into Kevin and Perry - but he takes it all in his stride. By Emma Wright
There isn’t much that can faze dad-of-three Nick Friend. He has raised a daughter, has twins approaching teenage-hood and often gets mistaken for their grandad. He jokes that they are turning into Harry Enfield’s famous characters Kevin and Perry, laughs when they stomp their feet and says the key to keeping his cool is accepting the fact that they are growing up. Nick, who lives in Peterborough, became a father for the second time just over 11 years ago, after raising his daughter, Lauren, now 28, in a previous marriage. He then met Dawn and the couple – who are now aged 44 and 61 – have Sam and Harry. The couple’s age gap means Nick often gets mistaken for the boys’ grandad. But this, and likening him to George Clooney, are quickly laughed off. ‘I may have had children in my 50s and twins at that, but I don’t have his money and his good looks,’ says Nick. ‘It’s funny because a lot of people mistake me for the boys’ grandad. They get a bit embarrassed when the boys correct them and say “no that’s our dad”.’
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Nick was nearly 50 when Harry and Sam were born
When the boys were first born, Nick and Dawn balanced work and the twins’ nursery schedule with help from relatives. But when they started school, Nick decided to retire and become a stay-at-home dad. He does the school runs, takes them to sports and prepares family meals. So does spending all that time with Sam and Harry and forming a close bond with his sons make it difficult now they are 11 and starting to question authority? ‘They’re absolutely fine until we have to do something they don’t want to do,’ says
Nick. ‘Some nights I’m cooking and one will help chop vegetables while the other watches TV and that’s fine – they choose to do their own things. But when they want to do something and I explain “no, we have to go here instead”, that’s when the moods start. Whatever proposition you make, they start making their case for something else. The frustrating thing is they’re getting really good at putting a good argument across.’ The boys recently started life as secondary schoolers at an academy. But as the primary school is just a few hundred yards from the academy, Nick says the transition was fairly straight forward.
Lauren and Nick shared childcare in the early days
to be a word in his vocabulary. So what are his tips for other parents of multiples who are facing the daunting prospect of adolescence? ‘You have to remember they just want their independence – they’re growing into young adults,’ said Nick. ‘I had a difficult relationship with my mother, but when I
moved out we became best of friends. ‘They can be enormously frustrating sometimes, and I do miss when they were younger and loved cuddles and intimacy. ‘But one day I’ll hopefully be a grandad and I’ll love that – I can have the joys of being around young children again and hand them back when they have a grump.’
available at www.tamba.org.uk, has information on topics such as developing at different rates; identity; the detachment phase; friendships with others; support networks; decision making; and working towards adulthood
• For information on the transition to
secondary school, read our booklet ‘Twins, Triplets and More aged 7 to 11’, available at www.tamba.org.uk, where you can also watch videos of our honorary consultants answering your FAQs
• Ring Twinline, Tamba’s freephone
listening service, to discuss any concerns on 0800 138 0509, open 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm daily
Older multiples: R&R
Discover blissful twin friendly holidays
I was chatting to a woman in the park who had twin girls of one year old. ‘I’m shattered,’ she told me. ‘You need a holiday,’ I suggested with a smile. ‘Oh, we’ve already had one of those. We went camping. Can you imagine, four of us including two travel cots - all squished into one tent? Madness!’ We both laughed. ‘I need a holiday to get over it,’ she added. It brought it all back - the ridiculously high expectations for our annual week or fortnight in the sun. We made all the mistakes - going camping, like the lady in the park, which invariably saw me being sent off to keep our twin boys ‘entertained’ (ie, out of the way) while my husband Jimmy wrestled to erect our tent. We stayed in holiday cottages filled with precious glassware, and embarked on a bonkers road trip through Belgium,
must be checked to ensure the kids are still contactable when they go off and do their own thing. Housekeeping rules must be established to ensure the holiday apartment is not littered with dirty plates and pizza boxes for parents to clear up. Things the kids don’t want to see on their holidays: a parental itinerary in any shape or form. Art, in a gallery, in the company of mum and dad. Anyone over the age of 25 in figure-hugging swimwear. On reflection, perhaps it’s easier all round to leave them to their own devices or, if funds allow, fling them some birthday cash to put towards a holiday with their mates. As for our next jaunt, this one will only involve Jimmy and me. We’ll put on our swimwear with pride, without anyone looking disgusted - and, while I hate to admit it, I can’t wait.
THE PAST AND ANOTHER COUNTRY… Fiona Gibson remembers her last family holiday with almost-grown-up children
With all the baby and toddler kit parents with twins need for stress free getaways in luxury villas and 5* resorts
Call 0800 014 2770 or visit www.totstotravel.co.uk
Germany, Switzerland and France with toddlers in tow. Miraculously, none of our adventures resulted in divorce. And now? Last summer we decided on what might have been one final family trip. The five of us flew to New York, and although we all loved it, being away together after a couple of years’ break threw up challenges. Naturally, while few 20-year-olds would pass up the offer of a trip to the States, our sons were not inclined to spend it with us. That was fine. Jimmy and I hadn’t expected them to trot round museums with us. Even our daughter, at 17, wanted to do her own thing. I missed them, though. At one point our sons even headed off to stay with a friend upstate, and it made me wonder if it is advisable to expect young adult children to do anything as a family.
Jimmy and I have friends whose offspring of 28 and 30 still go on holiday with them. Their Facebook holiday photos feature a seemingly big happy gang. ‘Why aren’t we like that?’ I wonder. But I suspect it’s far more usual for the younger generation to seek as much distance as possible. Even at 12, one of our sons insisted on plonking himself a mile down the beach from us, shrouded in towels to minimise being spotted - even though any friends were hundreds of miles away. I had my last holiday with my own parents at 15 - crammed into the bowels of dad’s newly bought sailing boat in the Scottish rain for two weeks. By contrast, in Brooklyn Jimmy and I rented an apartment in a graffiti-covered former sewing factory in the hope our kids might find it cool. Would we do it again? Yes - although we learnt a few lessons. Phone networks
On reflection, perhaps it’s easier all round to leave them to their own devices
Things the kids don’t want to see on their holidays: a parental itinerary in any shape or form
Fiona’s latest novel, The Woman Who Met Her Match, is published by Avon
Older multiples: Research
twins and is investigating the genetic and environmental causes of age-related traits and diseases, including everything from cardiovascular diseases to baldness. I would keenly take part in the TwinsUK study, if only my twin had the time to take part with me…. My twin sister is the mother of beautiful identical twins. While she struggles to keep up with motherhood, I enjoy them as an aunt – and as a new twin study (their best interests at heart, and with their mother’s full consent of course). Unlike us, Florence and Jemimah are being brought up differently. Jemimah is more of a tomboy; they wear very different clothes. They are in different classes at school and encouraged to pursue different interests. How will this work out? Is it easier to make friends when you aren’t interdependent as a twin? Do you learn better at your own pace, or when spurred on by your twin? Research suggests that, in some ways at least, nature will trump nurture whatever we do. In a report in ‘New Scientist’, professor
Nature or nurture?
Nurse, twin, and researcher Helen Cowan on identical genes and childhoods, and diverging lives Twins have been of interest to scholars since early civilisation, and my identical twin sister and I would definitely have made an impression. Unwittingly, and perhaps unwisely, my twin and I shared absolutely identical lives until the age of 21. We may have left the shared womb at birth, but our lives remained indistinguishable and interchangeable until adulthood. We shared the same bedroom, the same friends (though we mainly talked only to each other), the same school class, the same diet, the same clothes (my parents would travel the country to find matching outfits if a shop stocked only one of a particular dress), the same illnesses (we both had grommets inserted on the same day) and the same life experiences (we both started walking at the same moment, in different rooms, at 22 months old). We went to the same university to study the same subject; I slept on her bedroom floor most nights so as not to be parted. Twin studies are used to clarify the influence of nature versus nurture in different traits and disorders. Having shared identical environments for 21 years, and the same genes since birth, we are of interest to medical science. After all, if we are such clones of each other, why do only I wear glasses? Why did only I suffer
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from insomnia throughout childhood? Why did I find academic work easier? Why did only I experience an epileptic seizure and severe acne?
Older and wiser
We are turning 40 next year, and since the age of 21, our lives have thankfully diverged. We are both married (and living round the corner from each other – the bond is hard to break completely). My sister has three children and works in administration. I have no children and work as a nurse and writer. As my sister rises at 5:45am each day and copes with the demands of being a mother, I cherish my quieter home life, but know the stresses of working in a nursing home. Whilst I am in the library, she is more likely to be doing the laundry. As we age, we might start to differ. Professor Tim Spector and his team at TwinsUK are interested in studying this question: his registry comprises 12,000 sets of
Some things are just plain baffling, and cannot be explained by nature or nurture
We went to the same university to study the same subject; I slept on her bedroom floor most nights so as not to be parted Robert Plomin and his team at King’s College London analysed the GCSE results of 5,474 pairs of twins. He found that ‘genes accounted for 52 percent of the differences between exam scores; a shared upbringing accounted for only 36 percent of the differences, with the remainder accounted for by environmental factors that weren’t shared, such as each twin having a different teacher’.
Matching mental health?
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, ADHD and schizophrenia would seem to be determined by both genetics and environment. This is supported in the literature where one twin is often reported as having schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, whilst the other twin does not. Epigenetics is thought to be the answer here: even
Helen’s sister Ruth with her children Benjamin, Jemimah and Florence
though identical twins share the same genes, environmental factors such as stress, chemicals or even how much you sleep, can turn different genes on and off, determining whether you get a particular disease or not. ‘Folie à deux’ (or insanity of two) is an extreme example of mental illness that can, very rarely, be seen amongst identical twins; both genetic and environmental factors seem to be involved. In one graphic case study shared in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 1986, two extremely interdependent twins shared paranoid delusions. They both believed that others were spreading rumours about their inferior intelligence; they thought they were timetravellers engaged in interplanetary travel, with special powers to ward off evil spirits. Treatment of folie à deux usually entails separating the affected individuals - evidence of some degree of environmental causation. Folie à deux is very rare (less than 300 cases have been published); that psychosis of association even exists though, is enough for my sister to encourage freedom of thought and spirit in her twins.
Then and now: Helen and Ruth as children; Jemimah and Florence, Helen’s identical nieces
Some things about twins are just plain baffling, and cannot be explained by nature or nurture. On both of my hands I have a single transverse palmar crease (a line straight across my palm), and my twin sister does not (she has the more usual two separate lines, known as the ‘heart line’ and the ‘head line’). A single transverse palmar crease is often associated with genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome or Klinefelter syndrome: not the case with me. It’s difficult to explain our palmar peculiarities. Even more extraordinary (and heartwarming, I think) is that Florence and Jemimah each have one hand with a single transverse palmar crease and one with two separate lines. My explanation? A sign that both their mother and I are there to hold each of their hands, and nurture them as they grow. This article first appeared on Hippocratic Post (www.hippocraticpost.com/nursing/twins-nature-nurture)
Photo gallery: Celebrations
e l p i t l u M joys
celebrate Greg, 10, Dan and er their a gether ft on to s s e c c su titi g compe swimmin
dals by the e m in w y e h ey swim, t … Multiple h c a e b e They run, th h t hen head to is summer dozen and t e busy th r e w s ie il m birth fa
Caris and Caiden, 3
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Henry and Jam brothe es, 2, with big r Willia m, 4
their cross gs, 10, won in ll o C n a Lothian d Jonath gston, West Hannah an n vi Li in s country race
t bal y’s firs d o l e M d3 ony & Harm recital, age
Ronnie and Po ppy rocking their christening outfits
Isla and Lucy, 2, on the big wheel in Torquay
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Jack and Jessica Ho lley at Tetbury soapbox race this year
Jasmin e and upstag ing the Emerson, 6, animals at the c ity farm
/ AUTUMN 2017
Harriet at 35 Darcie and
‘It’s like h
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arty,’ sa Maya, A id Felix, 4, abo u melie a nd Etta t eating with h , 9 mon is sister ths s
weeks old Annie and Jude, 5, on holiday in Gran Canaria
Harrison and Malachi, 5, with bab y brother Aston
h birth day Els and Ro you ligh sie, t up my world
Submis sio setting ns: please tak e and em ail with photos on a h line and igh ‘Photo G 15 word allery’ in resolution s to mu by 30 Se lt the pt ip individ ember. Tamba lematters@ho subject uality w tmail.co has a po hic .uk li (www.t amba.o h is used to pr cy of building rg.uk/in ioritise submis dividua sions lity).
Postbag: Readers write
Noticeboard: Discounters NEW DISCOUNTERS
On the joy of triplets and the absence of our Problem Page… THE JOY OF TRIPLETS
Elderflower and Delilah Why not write and tell us what you think of articles you have read in the magazine, or anything else important to you that’s happening in the world of multiples? You can email letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to Tamba’s office at Manor House, Church Hill, Aldershot, Hants GU12 4JU, marked for the attention of Rachael Claye. Letters may be edited. Letters may be edited.
I found a lot of stories on Google to be rather doom and gloom when I first found out I was pregnant. Whilst it is important to understand it is a high risk pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily will have problems. We have 10-month-old triplet girls. I would like to share with mums-to-be how wonderful being a mum of triplets can be. Things I would like to point out: I had a wonderful pregnancy with no problems; delivered at 34 weeks via emergency C-section, I was in hospital for four weeks beforehand in case of emergency as we lived 1.5 hours away - my husband missed the first two being born as he was running through the hospital to find theatre. The girls were in special care for 17 days. We had a fantastic experience in Singleton Hospital in Swansea. I would like to tell women that you can lead a normal-ish life and, with help from others, still go swimming and visit baby clubs etc, and go out. Charlotte Morgan
www.elderfloweranddelilah.com Multipurpose garment that supports accessible and discreet tandem breastfeeding. Awarded Mumsnet Best 2016 and Bizziebaby Product Award Winner for its multi-use quality as maternity wear, accessible breastfeeding garment and sun-protective buggy cover. Tamba members get 20% discount with the code.
North Bradbury Farm
www.northbradburyfarm.co.uk A 10% discount on your first holiday with us. We have two child-friendly cottages on our smallholding in North Devon. Daily animal feeding, hands-on experience, pony rides, swimming pool and play areas. Close to Exmoor, award-winning beaches and lots of other attractions.
www.hippychick.com Hippychick specialises in sourcing and developing innovative baby products that really do help make parents’ lives that bit easier. Everything you need – essentials, out and about and playtime. 20% discount on purchases of two or more of the same items.
www.petasilkidsshoes.com Petasil’s funky, fashionable kids’ shoes are crafted from the finest quality leather with soft, flexible soles for children aged 0-10 (sizes 17-41). Members get 10% off two or more pairs.
WHERE’S VIKKI? I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the latest edition of Multiple Matters. I did miss the help page though - where the psychologist responds to various issues… But altogether knock-out, good work! Natalie Lowe Glad to hear it! I will pass on your comments to Vikki Cohen, Tamba’s honorary consultant psychologist who writes the problem pages, and hopefully we will have her back next issue. - Editor
/ AUTUMN 2017
Peer Supporters Tamba has a team of NCT accredited peer supporters who have all breastfed their multiples. They can offer mother-to-mother information and support to families who wish to breastfeed }their twins, triplets or higher multiples.
To contact the scheme, email: email@example.com
RENEWING DISCOUNTERS The Little Green Sheep
www.thelittlegreensheep.co.uk The Little Green Sheep offers a range of luxurious, handcrafted natural mattresses, beautiful bedding and sleepwear for babies. We also stock the award-winning SnüzPod Bedside Crib. Use code to receive 10% discount.
Lucy and Belle
www.lucyandbelle.com Lucy and Belle is the Online Baby Boutique. Do take a peek, there is something for everyone shopping for their bump and beyond, and
the most adorable baby gifts too. 10 percent off all full-priced merchandise.
www.mamonlineshop.com MAM offers a selection of innovative feeding products for newborns and toddlers. Range includes bottle feeding, breastfeeding, sterilising, soothers, teethers and oral care products. To receive an additional 10% discount on your basket total use the code.
www.sandsresort.co.uk Tamba members receive a complimentary Kids’ Club session for every child (0-4 years old outside of school holidays and 0-12 during school holidays) and a free upgrade (subject to availability) to the next grade of family suite when staying at our award-winning family hotel in Cornwall. Spacious family rooms, pools, soft play and free baby listening service make it an unforgettable holiday for all the family.
www.startriteshoes.com Start-rite is renowned and trusted by generations of parents for producing quality fitted footwear. Our shoes hold the three-way fit supporting the healthy development of a child’s whole body. Start-rite is pleased to offer Tamba members a 15% discount on full price footwear online.
Amie and Gracie
www.amieandgracie.com Amie and Gracie have sourced twin tricycles so people with twins can let both children take a ride, peddle or put their feet up and let their parents do the hard work! New stock of toys, walkers and other baby things now also available. Tamba members receive 10% discount.
www.broomhillmanor.co.uk Broomhill Manor is a small collection of child-friendly selfcatering cottages with facilities, set in beautiful private grounds within walking distance of the quaint seaside town of Bude on the North Cornwall coast. Tamba members receive a 10% discount on cottage bookings taken outside of school holiday weeks. Quote the code.
Twinline For expectants, under 1 year, 1 to 4 years, or 5 years + ! Twins, triplets or more?
Got a question?
We are here to help
Need to talk?
Ask Twinline firstname.lastname@example.org
0800 138 0509 Twinline is open everyday from 10am to 1pm and from 7pm to 10pm on freephone:
Pushchairs and Car Seats
www.pushchairsandcarseats.co.uk We pride ourselves on providing thoughtful customer advice and offer a car seat fitting service at our Wallingford showroom. 10% discount on a range of twin pushchairs and travel systems.
www.broomhillmanor.co.uk Broomhill Manor is a small collection of child-friendly selfcatering cottages with facilities, set in beautiful private grounds within walking distance of the quaint seaside town of Bude on the North Cornwall coast. Tamba Members receive 10% off cottage bookings outside school holidays.
www.nametags4u.co.uk Name Tags for clothes and personal belongings: new SupaTags! Choose from plain black and white, colour with cartoons or your child’s favourite character or photo – great for those who can’t yet read. Sticky SupaTags stick to just about anything. Dishwasher and steriliser-proof, they stick to most care labels found in clothing and go through the wash. Iron-on
Supatags are great for all clothes, as are the Clip-ons. Or try the StampaName – it does your labelling in seconds! Tamba members receive 10% discount
www.cuddledry.com Makers of the award-winning, supersoft Cuddledry apron towel for stress-free baby bathtimes. A firm favourite with parents of twins and multiples as it makes bathtime so much easier. The Cuddledry Apron Towel was designed by mums to avoid the problem of not having enough hands to hold both towel and wet baby, every bath time. Tamba members receive 20% off all Cuddledry products. Remember to tell your favourite shop to join Tamba’s discounter list!
DISCLAIMER: Multiple Matters is published by the Twins and Multiple Births Association, registered charity 1076478, registered company 3688825. Multiple Matters © Tamba 2010. ISSN 0967 – 8867. Tamba would like to point out that items in the magazine are collected from individuals and excerpts from newsletters etc. The views and suggestions are taken in good faith and the opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by Tamba. Likewise, advertising or the use of product names does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by the Association.
Clarks and the Clarks logo are registered trademarks of C & J Clark International Limited
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GROWING FEET IN SAFE HANDS