Group aims to support families with twins, triplets or more


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This article was published 12/08/2010 (4436 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Before her 19-week ultrasound, Kelly Grijalva thought she had her pregnancy all figured out.

With a daughter already at home, Grijalva knew she and her husband had most of the things they already needed for a new baby.

But that was before the ultrasound technician announced that she and her husband would be having twins.

Submitted Kelly Grijalva poses with her twin daughters, Alexandra (left) and Cassandra. Grijalva said Winnipeg’s small population means there aren’t many resources available for parents of twins or triplets, but the non-profit Manitoba Families of Multiples provided her and her husband with plenty of support.

“Shock,” said the Windsor Park resident said, recalling her reaction.

“We were quite a way through the pregnancy and I just wasn’t prepared.”

Along with the realization they would now need two of everything, Grijalva said she was also worried her babies would be born premature — a frequent occurrence in the birth of twins and triplets.

She began reading everything she could on multiple pregnancies, and eventually found her way to the non-profit Manitoba Families of Multiples.

The club proved to be a huge help, she said, as Winnipeg isn’t teeming with resources for parents of multiples.

“Winnipeg just doesn’t have enough population to be very multiple-friendly,” she said.

To buy a high quality two-seated stroller, for example, most families probably travel to the United States or shop online.

Despite the fact the resources are scarce, multiple births seem to be on the rise, Grijalva said.

“It’s very obvious that there are more multiples coming into the world,” she said.

The growing prevalence of fertility treatment is one reason for the jump in multiple births, she suggested, naming three acquaintances who are now carrying twins after undergoing treatment.

Some research she’s read suggests a number of single births start off as multiples. If a mother’s body can’t handle a double pregnancy, one of the fetuses may die early on and be absorbed into the placenta.

“People are also just taking better care of themselves,” Grijalva said, explaining that some scientists believe more mothers are therefore able to carry both babies to term.

Other research suggests older women are more likely to have multiples, she added.

“People are getting married later, they’re having children later,” she said.

Grijalva became pregnant naturally, at 28.

“In our case, it was just a mystery,” she said. A good mystery, she clarifies.

For Grijalva, the support of Manitoba Families of Multiples — including second-hand sales, monthly group meetings, and one-on-one discussions with her area representative — has made the entire experience easier.

“I had the resources, the people to call to freak out,” she said.

Karla Woychuk, communications co-ordinator for the club, said providing support is exactly why the group exists.

“Our emphasis is to reach out to families with multiples,” she said, adding the club has operated since at least the 1990s.

North Kildonan-based Woychuk agreed that multiple births are on the rise, and said Manitoba Families of Multiples is ready to support each and every family.

Membership numbers are slowly creeping up too, she said.

“We are seeing a lot of new families on a monthly basis,” said Woychuk.

 Grijalva is joining the club’s board of directors this year, and said she hopes to help others who suddenly feel unprepared when they learn they’re expecting twins.

“Everyone’s just been there,” she said, adding the group is a community of support. “There’s just an unspoken bond.”

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