Twins, Triplets and More: Here’s Where Moms of Multiples Support Each Other
(Lara Mossa, May 9, 2020)
Rochester Hills, MI – For Nicole Gaynier, having three children under 3 can kind of be chaotic – especially since two of them are twins. But, Gaynier, of Troy, has found solace and joy in a group made for families like hers.
“I like that there’s a sense of community,” said Gaynier, vice president of Greater Oakland Mothers of Multiples. “I really like that it gets me out of my house. I love my children, but you have to get out. In a way for me, it’s self-care.”
Gaynier and her husband, Matt, have 2-year-old twins, Gus and Charlie, and a 10-month-old baby, Atticus. She was the first in her family to have twins, so it was kind of a shock.
“I just was very excited,” she said. “I was so excited we were pregnant. I always wanted to be a mom. I was anxious.”
A stay-at-home mom, Gaynier worked as a nurse until the boys were 1 year old. She heard about the nonprofit organization from a woman at the hospital.
“I feel very fortunate, because I had my twins first,” she said. “I didn’t know anything different. It makes certain things harder, but it also makes certain things easier.”
For instance, potty training two kids at once is a nightmare, she said, adding that, at the same time, the boys like playing together and keep each other entertained.
Gaynier joined Greater Oakland Mothers of Multiples three years ago. With more than 100 members, the group meets once a month – excluding July and August – at Abiding Presence, a church in Rochester Hills. Though mostly Oakland County residents, the group has some members from surrounding counties, too.
Audrey Trethewey of Bloomfield Township, also enjoys the sense of community she gets from the organization, she said. The mother of six year olds, Matt and Alex, she joined the group after hearing about it from a friend at the National Council of Catholic Women. She joined the group in 2014 and now serves as president.
“For me, it gave me some stability in my crazy life,” she said. “It gave me an opportunity to see other people with multiples…It’s given me a social outlet.”
Trethewey works from home running a property management company and as a Norwex consultant. Some of her challenges include making sure the boys are seen as separate people.
“It’s the divided attention that can be kind of a struggle,” she said. “They’re different kids, and they do different things. And the world sees them as twins.”
What Gaynier enjoys most is the meetings, she said. Absent the children, each mom takes a turn and talks about issues they encounter as a mother. They give each other recommendations and suggestions. In addition, the meeting usually includes a snack and a speaker.
“It’s a big open chat between mothers of multiples,” Gaynier said. “There is a difference between having one baby and more than one baby…It’s nice to have people in the same situation.”
The group typically does activities with the kids such as a fall party at an apple orchard and a spring party at a park pavilion. The organization is involved in fundraising activities, too. Greater Oakland Mothers of Multiples raises money for a scholarship program and collects donations for local Neonatal Intensive Care Units. The biggest events of the year, however, are mom-to-mom sales that help members find used clothing and baby gear.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the moms have kept in contact through video conferences and an ongoing Facebook page.
“It’s given me a place I can go and ask questions and vent, and I’m not made to feel that I’m a bad mom,” Trethewey said. “It really has been a spot where I can go when I’m just having a difficult day, and I can get advice from other people who have been in my situation.”
Part of a national organization called Multiples of America, there is a $40 annual fee to join. For more information, go to www.gomoms.org.