By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp
Events celebrating New Zealand Multiple Birth Awareness Week will be run throughout the country from Sunday the 2nd of November through to Saturday the 8th of November. As well as this, there is International Multiple Birth Awareness Week, from November 16th to 23rd 2014.
These events aim to promote awareness of the need to support families with multiple birth children, as well as to “help our multiples shine as individuals”. Beyond this, extended family, friends, caregivers, educators and medical professionals are encouraged, particularly during this time, to consider their interactions with multiples. It also reminds the media and general public to consider how they view and treat twins, triplets and more.
Last Sunday Napier, NZ kicked off NZ Multiple Birth Awareness Week with a Teddy Bears’ Picnic on their famous Marine Parade (this event was open to all families, not just those with multiple birth children!).
Discovering that you are expecting twins, triplets or more can be both exciting and overwhelming. For New Zealanders who have just found they are expecting more than one child, a useful website is the Huggies New Zealand multiple birth association (see link below).
“Even identical twins who share all their genes show differences, possibly linked to early birth events or school experiences. Celebrating each twins’ individuality, while acknowledging their twinship, is a key goal toward which we should all aspire.” Nancy L. Segal, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology, Director, Twin Studies Centre, Canada.
I agree with Dr. Segal. Twins, triplets and other multiple birth children need nurturing and individual time and attention, as well as acknowledging the very special bond they have with their siblings who share the same birthday.