Facebook group supports dads with multiples
Written by Neil Ward. Dad to Connor and Christian. Published in the AMBA Magazine.
Late in 2010, my wife Tina and I were dealt a blow we could never have ever imagined possible – the inability to have children. Once we exhausted all other options, like adoption, we stumbled upon surrogacy, and we now have two amazing boys thanks to a professional team in India. It was a long, complex, ethical, emotional and expensive journey, and I found it difficult for other dads and male friends to comprehend, as they just had no idea about surrogacy, let alone multiples.
Looking for online support, I found all the forums or groups were for mums, but nothing specifically for dads, so I created the Multiple Dads Sanctuary in January 2014. This group now boasts around 1000 dads, including a male midwife specialising in antenatal classes for dads, an obstetrician, CEOs and same-sex couples. It's a closed Facebook group (only members see posts) where dads of multiples can chat about raising multiples, including Higher Order Multiples, supporting their partners, mental health and men’s issues in general.
I became a dad at 43 and being an older dad has also added another dimension to our unique group. My dad passed away four days after my 21st birthday, and being the eldest of four kids, I stepped into that parenting role.
I know there are a lot of blokes out there who are really keen to be good dads and support their partners, yet some just aren’t naturals at being a hands-on dad. Being able to talk to other multiple birth dads, share ideas, experiences and advice is genuinely helpful.
A recent post that generated a lot of discussion was about taking the kids out without mum for a few hours, particularly how to do it while the babies were being breastfed. We had 50 comments to a post about high chairs – one model won hands down 42-8! Other recent posts were about being creative with toddlers – giving them a big box to sit in with a new box of crayons to decorate the inside of the box, rather than the walls inside the house. And where to take the kids for free; we took our boys to the airport one afternoon to watch the planes take off and land and they loved it.
The Multiple Dads Sanctuary comes under AMBA’s umbrella. New members are welcome, so long as they are dads with multiples. Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/MultipleDadsSanctuary/ or search Facebook for "multiple dads sanctuary".
*Neil is the Expectant Parent Contact for Dads for Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Southside. There's a link to his blog about life with multiples on the AMBA website under "resources>bloggers".