April has been designated “Multiple Birth Awareness Month”. According to the CDC, the number of twin births in 2012 was 131,269, triplets were 4,598, quadruplets were 276 and the number of quintuplets and other higher order births was just 45. The twin birth rate was 33.1 per 1,000 live births and triplet or higher order birth rate: 124.4 per 100,000 live births
In honor of Multiple Birth Awareness Month, the quadruplet mom community is trying to bring awareness to our unique lifestyle and remind those who are unfamiliar with higher order multiples that we’re still people with feelings and our babies, have feelings, and can hear just like your babies do.
While we’ve only just begun our journey as a high order multiples family, I can personally tell you that although we may have four babies, we still have needs just like every other family. We still need to go grocery shopping, we still go to the doctor, and every now and then, we would like to get out of the house! The thing is, getting four babies dressed, strapped into their car seats and loaded in the car is a feat in itself. Once we get to our destination, we’re busy putting strollers together and loading babies into them. We’re making sure every baby is warm, has a pacifier and that all their needs are met. Trust me, we get that we are a sight to be seen and that you’ve probably never seen anything like it before with so many babies. We get that. But if you could keep in mind that everyone who isn’t us, is probably just like you. So when I take 3 minutes to stop and talk with you, I’m going to have to do it again for the person that walks by only a minute later. And the one after that. And the one after that. Things that once took us 20 minutes, now take an hour. I understand your curiosity, and if I can, I will try to answer questions but it would be nice is everyone could also understand that quad moms are already four times busier than many moms caring for four babies at once, and that when we are hit with the same questions over and over, sometimes, it can just push us over the edge.
Not only are we stopped often, but many times, people are very insensitive with the things they say to us. On my last pediatrician visit, I had a lady chase me in the parking lot, yelling “how many babies do you have”? Not only was I concentrating on pushing a stroller full of babies through a parking lot and trying to pay attention to for cars, now I also had a lady chasing after me and yelling. On the third time she called, I turned my head and held up the number four on my fingers. She then yells, “oh, my word. Are they all yours”? At this point, I had hit my breaking point and just kept walking. Conversations and statements like this are common in the HOM (Higher Order Multiples) world. My quadruplet mom friend, Amber, has written a post for the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog regarding things you should never say to a mom of mom of multiples. Here’s a link to her article: http://citymomsblog.com/fortworth/2014/04/25/moms-of-multiples-i-bet-you-were-as-big-as-a-beluga-and-other-verbiage-to-avoid/
Amber is able to provide an accurate first-hand account of things we’ve all heard when we try to take our babies out in public. For Adam and I, we haven’t gotten to go out of the house together for a month and a half now unless it’s to a doctor’s appointment. Having to split everything up and take turns going to the store isn’t easy. We went from living in a world where it was just the two of us, to a world where four other beings are completely dependent on us. It’s definitely not an easy place to live and in another article to come, I plan to write about the relationship challenges couples with multiples face (there’s a reason the divorce rate is so high amongst families with multiples). Hopefully, with more education and awareness, perhaps the general public will be able to be a little bit more sensitive to our unique lifestyle and next time you see us in public, unless you know us, admire us from afar! It’s nothing personal; it’s just that we already have a lot on our plates.