Why do I need a multiples-specific prenatal class? Can't I just take any old prenatal class?
As you've probably already discovered if you are carrying more than one baby and have done a little reading, being pregnant with multiples is vastly different than carrying a singleton. There are different risks as well as deeper and broader levels of preparation required for carrying, birthing and raising multiple birth children. The sooner you can get your mind around some of the related issues, the better equipped your family will be for the unique challenges and joys of raising twins, triplets or more. You may also find that in a "regular" prenatal class, you are a bit of a circus act--everyone else either admires or pities you. This can become quite tiresome after the initial novelty wears off!
What's the difference between your classes and the hospital course?
If you look in my course overview, you will find that I cover many of the same topics as the hospital courses. One thing I try to do differently is to address contentious issues like feeding and diapering with a critical lense, and give you objective information about several options. This way you are better equipped to make choices that best meet the needs of your family. As with any prenatal course, the information in my classes is intended for informational purposes only, and expectant families are encouraged to follow-up any specific medical concerns with their physician.
A hospital class sometimes offers a tour of the birthing unit. If you happen to be delivering at the hospital where you are taking the course, this can be quite helpful. However, know that you can book a hospital tour at your own neo-natal unit anytime, and need not be enrolled in any special course to do so.
How soon should we sign up for prenatal classes?
I reccomend Class One as soon as you find out you are pregnant with more than one, since it covers many pregnancy-related issues and answers most of the the "what's it all about with twins/triplets/quads"-type questions. Class Two gives you a good overview of all the gear and supplies you'll need, so it's a good idea to take that one before you go shopping for all your "stuff", usually sometime near the beginning of the second trimester (this allows for more time to plan and budget for what you'll need). The third and final class deals primarily with baby care, sleep issues and other parenting matters, so it is useful to wait until the third trimester for this one. Since multiples frequently arrive early, I reccomend Class Three for the beginning to mid-third trimester. Should you find yourself hospitalized early or on bedrest, I am available to come and do the classes bedside at home or hospital.
When is the next course starting?
Since I do the classes right in your home, the dates for the course are flexible. You just call or email me, then I send you a short survey to fill in, and we work out dates and times that are convenient for you. I generally book 2-3 weeks in advance, so it's a good idea to contact me as soon as you find out you are pregnant with multiples. That way we can get started with Class One (Pregnancy and Birth) right away.
How long is each class?
Each class is approximately 2 hours in length, depending on personality style and depth of questions asked or topics elaborated on. I have taught some classes that lasted 1.5 hours, while others ran almost 3 hours. Some time may also be spent emailing between classes.
Do your classes cover Lamaze or other breathing exercises?
I believe that the pregnancy and birth of your children are only the first steps of the joyful and challenging journey of parenting twins, triplets or more. With that in mind, my course is not so much a "childbirth preparation" course as it is an examination of some of the issues (and solutions) associated with carrying, birthing and parenting multiples. If you are interested in learning more about breathing exercises, check out this article or visit the Lamaze International website. You may also wish to consider hiring a birth doula. Some reccomendations can be found here.
We already have a child. Now we are pregnant with twins. Do we really need prenatal classes?
YES! First of all, it may be have been a while since you last held a newborn. A refresher on infant care is always in order. Secondly, with each new family member comes a web of new relationships between parents, siblings, etc. When introducing multiple babies into a household at once, this web can get extremely complicated to navigate! Many of my friends through TPOMBA and MBC have confirmed the challenges associated with suddenly adding two (or more) babies to an already existing family. I can help you consider some of the implications in advance and assist you in preparing yourselves and your other child(ren) for the new additions!
In fact, adding twins or more to an already-existing family has become such an area of need, I have recently put together a special class on "Superfamilies" (my nickname for singleton + multiples families). This unique class can be taken as part of the 3-part course (usually instead of Class One) or in addition, as a Fourth Class. Please contact me for more specific info.
We are expecting triplets/quadruplets/quintuplets. Do you teach classes for higher-order multiples (HOMs)?
Absolutely! In fact, it was my volunteer experience helping organize a new Canadian family expecting quadruplets a few years ago that prompted me in part to start this business!
Isn't a group class better because we will get to meet other people who are also expecting multiples?
Meeting and maintaining relationships with other POMs ("Parents of Multiples") is vital to a successful parenting experience. In the first class, we'll explore practical ways to do this, and I will supply you with local and national networks, resources and organizations that support families with twins, triplets and more.
Why do I have to bring my partner? What if I am a single mother-to-be?
Parenting multiples is a many-person job. Your relationship with and the support of your partner will be one of the most important factors in your prenatal and postpartum health and also in determining the long-term well-being of the babies. My hands-on, interactive classes make the reality of impending twins (or more) come to life for the "non-carrying" parent-to-be. If you are a single mom, I encourage you to invite the grandparent(s), a neighbour, friend or anyone else you can convince to join you for our classes together!
How much does it cost?
Most of the multiples-specific hospital courses charge in the neighbourhood of $200. Then factor in snacks, parking and gas. That's about the cost of my 3-part prenatal course if you pay up front. (Well, okay, so it's a little bit more, but hey, you're getting personal, customized service! And I'm good!)
For more detailed rate information, click here.
What qualifications do you hold ?
I am a certified teacher with the OCT. I also have a Masters Degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. My experience as an educator spans many contexts, as does my work with multiples. Most importantly, I am a mother of twins myself, as well as the former Volunteer Coordinator for Toronto Parents of Multiple Births (TPOMBA); both of these latter experiences have given me tremendous insight into the world of multiples and their families. In addition to networking with colleagues and reading up to prepare for each new client and their particular circumstance, I also attend conferences and workshops related to adult education, prenatal care and multiple births, such as the recent MBC Conference in Kitchener, where I participated in both the Professional and the Parenting/Family tracks. You may also be interested to know that I write a monthly column for the Bulletwin, TPOMBA's monthly publication.
As with any prenatal course, the information I offer is intended for informational purposes only, and expectant families are encouraged to follow-up any specific medical concerns with their primary health care provider. I am constantly striving to improve my services; at the end of the course, participants are asked to fill out a voluntary feedback survey online.
We live outside the GTA—do you travel?
Time permitting, I do teach classes outside the GTA, so long as my travel and accommodation (if required) expenses are covered. You may wish to combine with a few other expectant couples in your area to offset the cost. Some of my classes can also be done online (for example, Prenatal Class One, as well as my Nanny Class.) Please contact me for specific arrangements.