Having a child brings its own sets of challenges – and for multiple birth families, the challenge can be even greater, which is where a local support network can prove beneficial to those families.
The Canberra and Region Multiple Birth Association (CARMBA) is a support network for parents, guardians and expectant or adoptive parents of twins, triplets or more which was founded in 1973 and services the ACT and surrounding region.
According to CARMBA president, Carmen Hinkley, the organisation aims to “offer support and provide information to multiple birth families throughout the ante- and post-natal periods, the pre-school stage and the primary and secondary school years”.
“There are some unique challenges to having twins, triples or more – particularly in those early days,” Carmen said. This includes juggling logistics in working out how to feed more than one baby at a time and managing sleep deprivation.
Additional challenges in the school years include whether to keep your children in the same class or not; managing developmental and social differences; and maintaining the ‘twinship’ bond while encouraging different friends and interests.
“They say it takes a village to raise children, and CARMBA really is one great big support village with people in the same tribe, helping each other out emotionally, socially and practically,” Carmen said.
CARMBA offers many opportunities to socialise, meet new people and connect with other families with multiples to share experiences and journeys, as well as a range of activities and services which provide practical support to families.
This includes information nights for new and expectant families held at Canberra Hospital and a hire pool of various pieces of equipment.
CARMBA is run by volunteers and currently has just over 100 member families in Canberra and surrounding regions.