As a mum of four girls, including one set of twins, Keira Tunnah knows all too well the challenges that come with raising children.
“The thing about parenting is it’s hard, regardless of whether you have one kid, two kids, four or a whole soccer team,” Keira says.
“You’re tired all the time, you don’t get out of the house much, you don’t get to see your friends a lot, and you don’t always know the right thing to do.
“All of that craziness can double or triple when you have a multiple birth, but I want new and expectant parents to know help and support is available.”
Keira is the President of the Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Northside (BMBAN) - a registered not-for-profit organisation run entirely by a dedicated team of volunteer parents.
“Having multiples is a unique experience,” Keira explains.
“From pregnancy to a high risk of premature birth, high risk of postnatal mental health issues, feeding challenges, and managing two or three tiny humans at once, it’s a lot to take in.
“That’s why our group is here – to support our families every step of the way.”
Established 45 years ago, the group provides education, support, encouragement and socialisation opportunities for families with multiple babies like twins, triplets and more, from Brisbane right up to the Sunshine Coast.
“A lot of our members are from Moreton Bay, and I am a Moreton Bay local myself,” Keira says.
“Every year we do a survey to find out where our members are from, and with that we can then plan activities and events across the whole region to make sure nobody misses out.
“I would say we have about 150 families who are members, but we want to grow that number so we can help as many people as possible.
“COVID saw our numbers drop dramatically because people weren’t socialising, for good reason.
“But if you would like to join now, it’s super easy, and we would love to see you.
“We take people at all times of the year, so whether you want to join while you are pregnant or after you have had the babies, you have that option.”
Keira says one way the group supports parents is by grouping together with others who have similar due dates.
“One great thing we do is due date groups, which is where we group all the families together who are due around the same time so they can talk to one another,” Keira says.
“This way parents can talk to other parents and voice any concerns or share any advice, because they are all at that same stage of pregnancy.
“Just having that online support and building new friendships can make a world of difference to a lot of people.”
Other ways the group supports families include hosting regular play groups, heavily subsidising free activities, offering social activities for parents such as coffee catchups, and organising clothes and toy swaps, as well as webinars and education nights.
“One thing our families absolutely love is our clothes and toy swaps,” Keira says.
“We hold two clothes swaps each year, and one toy swap.
“The clothes swap is a wonderful way for families pick up new clothes without breaking the bank.
“When you have kids, buying new clothes all the time can be expensive, especially when you have premature babies who grow out of clothes in what seems like two minutes.
“All of the clothing is donated by our families, so when your kids grow out of something, you can pass it on to another family who needs it. You can fill the wardrobe for nothing.
“Once our members have come through, we open it up to the public at a reasonable price, which is $10 a bag. All the money we raise goes back into our club.”
Newport mum Christie Painter, who has 10-month-old twin girls (pictured above), says BMBAN has been a great support network as she navigates this new stage of her life.
“It was a big shock to find out I was having twins,” Christie says.
“I joined BMBAN about six months ago. I had not long finished my nursing degree and that is how I found out about this group.
“One of my mentors also has twins, and I remember saying to her I thought it would be fun to have twins, and then it happened!
“I do have a wonderful and supportive husband, but to have that little bit of extra support from other people who are going through the same experiences I am is helpful.
“I have only been able to attend a couple of group activities, but I have already met so many great people.
“Being a mum to twin babies has its challenges, but I am really enjoying it, especially now when they are at a fun age and are very interactive, especially with each other.”
'Great way to meet new people'
Jade Edwards (above), who is also from Newport, is one of the new faces to join BMBAN.
“My husband and I were doing IVF and we got one embryo transferred. I then fell pregnant naturally at the same time, which came as a really big surprise,” Jade says.
“We already have a 16-month-old daughter and soon I will have three kids under two, so my hands will be quite full. I am due in February.
“It’s hard enough with one child, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with two newborns, so I started doing some research.
“I saw this group advertised on Facebook and when I looked into it, I saw there were lots of activities and things happening here in Moreton Bay, so I was keen to join.
“I used to work FIFO so I am only new to the area.
“It’s a great way to meet new people and get out of the house. And when the kids are older, they will have these friends as well.
“I bring my daughter along to the events when she isn’t in daycare, and she loves it. The group is very accommodating.”
To see more photos, click through the gallery below.
More bubs on the way
According to Keira, the City of Moreton Bay’s population is set to rise, with lots of new bubs on the way.
“We have 14 members who are all expecting multiple births very soon,” Keira says.
“Last year, a lot of boys were born, and this year we have more girls.
“You can never pick it, but it is funny how that happens.
“I am excited to see and meet all these new babies when they do arrive.”
How to join
For more information about the group or to join, visit the Brisbane Multiple Births Association website.
It costs $35 a year to become a member.
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