Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee have edited an invaluable resource for parents or expectant parents of multiples—twins, triplets, or more children born to the same mother on the same day. Welcome to Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories And Advice From Parents of Twins, Triplets and More book review.
In her forward to the book, Susan Pinsky acknowledges the feelings of stress and being overwhelmed that come with bringing multiple children into the world at once and having to immediately and consistently meet the needs of those children. From a guaranteed high-risk pregnancy to the many disabilities and developmental problems which often accompany low-birth weight, expecting and giving birth to multiples comes with a unique set of challenges and often very few resources to turn to for guidance. Multiples Illuminated is a collection of stories and advice from parents of multiples that hopefully will help to fill the void with guidance sought by parents blessed with twins, triplets, or more.
An interesting and timely anecdote from forward written by Susan Pinsky is her social experiment on the triplets she gave birth to with the help of IVF. Making a conscious effort to avoid the stereotypical gender biases which flourished in her household and believe that gender roles were nothing more than constructs of society, Pinsky was surprised to find that her children nonetheless gravitated to “gender-specific” toys once old enough: the daughter to dolls and princess accessories, the boys to cars, trains, and tools. What the results of this informal experiment mean as our society suddenly struggles with gender identity confusion is left for readers to decide.
Along with cultural relevance, this resource is packed full of valuable information and anecdotes that the editors hope will make you “feel optimistic, inspired, informed, and connected about raising multiples.” Multiples Illuminated promises helpful advice, interactive journal prompts, and stories that will make you cry and laugh out loud. The journey begins with a poem entitled Permission Granted by MeiMei Fox.
The resource is divided into five sections. The first section involves infertility and trying to conceive. Whether a reality check before making that IVF appointment, or the much needed support after learning exactly how successful that IVF appointment was, this first section offers stories and supportive advice by Shelly Stolaroff Segal, Shanna Silva, and Becki Melchione. Laugh out loud as Segal speaks of wanting to go through the beauty and humiliation of conception alone (or maybe with her husband as an afterthought). Empathize with Silva as she recounts being on bed rest, only able to take shallow breaths, and on medical leave of absence from work as side-effects of her fertility drugs. Marvel at the courage of Melchione as she decides to risk pregnancy after battling cancer.
The following four sections include equally compelling stories offering advice, humor, and hope to those facing the uniquely challenging situations that having multiples introduce into the lives of these prolific parents. In the section on pregnancy, Allison Lee offers a short list of best practices for a healthy multiples pregnancy. The section on labor and delivery includes a helpful list by Megan Woolsey on what to pack for the hospital. Amy Paturel offers a poignant piece on making peace with the imperfect in the section covering the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Ellen Nordberg offers an entertaining and informative story on surviving the twinning reaction—the intense bonding connection between twins—in the section on the first years. These are just some of the many informative and entertaining stories and essays included in this collection.
Multiples Illuminated is a resource with much information and advice to offer those who need its wisdom, and plenty of entertainment and humor for any who peruse its pages. Available in hardcopy or on Kindle on Amazon Now.