Patrons of Smyles saw double recently when the play centre hosted the first ever Cayman Multiples Support Group meeting.
The informal get-together attracted four sets of twins, one set of triplets, and their doting parents.
The 11 babies milled around and were dandled on various laps, while adults swapped child rearing tips and exchanged priceless information on education, medical support and how and where to get the best baby gear deals.
‘Everyone wanted to talk about their pregnancy, bed rest and birth,’ said the group’s founder Shelley de Vale, who noted that multiples pregnancies are usually more intense.
‘The one expectant couple who attended is due in April and got a lot of advice on the different stages of multiple pregnancy including bed rest and prenatal testing,’ she remarked.
Mrs. de Vale, who has 21-month-old fraternal (non-identical) twin daughters, ‘gave birth’ to the support group after she found herself ‘constantly seeking advice and ideas on raising her girls form other parents of multiples.
‘Of course, I have lots of friends who have singleton children,’ she said.
‘But I just never felt that they understood what I was going through. When I met another mother of multiples, I was so excited to talk to someone who knew exactly what I was going through and even better if they had gone through it before to give a little advice,’ she added.
The de Vale’s soon realized that they and the other parents of multiples needed to get organised and form a support group ‘where we could all meet and exchange ideas and just have the comfort of knowing you are not alone.’
The group will meet quarterly so the children can play together. Plans are also afoot for members to organise parent-centred activities, such as mommies’ nights out.
Cayman Multiples Support Group has a newsletter which can be emailed by contacting Mrs. de Vale on [email protected]. The first issue contains bathing tips, an article titled ‘The Crib Conundrum’ and ideas on setting up a local multiples network for year-round one-on-one advice and support.
‘After our first meeting, I was really fired up by the terrific response and enthusiasm,’ said the founder.
‘Everyone was really grateful and pleased that the group had started.
‘I’ve already compiled a master list with all the parents and children’s names, emails for circulation. This will allow families to keep in touch with each other outside our scheduled meetings,’ she said.
Couples or singles interested in hooking up with the support group can also contact the group c/o Shelley de Vale. P O Box 30223. Grand Cayman KY1-1201. Cayman Islands.
Cayman Multiples Support Group holds its next meeting at Smyles on 14 January, 2007.