Helen Ford has hands on experience of the special issues surrounding parents of multiple births.
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Catrina Skepper: Having your first baby can be a bit of a handful, but what if you have two babies, or even three? Well, it could be completely overwhelming. Take a look at these two. Mary and Stanley making lots of noise for us. They are just three-months-old and their parents Mark and Cheryl Hemmings, and Helen Forbes is also here. She is Director of TAMBA, the Twins And Multiple Births Association. I can see you've got your hands fold, that goes without saying. But Cheryl for you in the last three months, nothing could probably prepare you for the - for just the handful of having two. Everything you have to do, you have to think twice, or do twice, how has it been? Cheryl Hemmings: It's been pretty hectic. It's calming down now, but I will say the first six weeks was awful, really hard. Catrina Skepper: Did you actually think before-hand that it was going to be as difficult, had people helped you and prepared you for this or the feeding schedules, things like that, that you probably had read about or talked about with other friends and people that you knew? Cheryl: Well, I'd read all the books, and I thought I was really prepared and I'll put food in the freezer and I've to clean it on coming to the house, but nothing prepared me for it really. Catrina Skepper: And why? What is such a life? What is so difficult about twins? Cheryl Hemmings: You never get anytime for yourself ever, and even if you try to make it, you get head up about it, so you find yourself always with the babies constantly. Catrina Skepper: I am just looking across to Mark at this very, very beautifully sleeping daughter, she is really having a lovely time. Do you think that's the father's touch? Mark Hemmings: I didn't like to think so but I am sure it isn't. It's not always like this. Catrina Skepper: No, but what for you, because always you had time nine months to think about the arrival of the twins, but we do say, you've adapted well and do you find that you have little time left between you. Mark Hemmings: I think we have adapted well. We were expecting it to be hard work, but nothing could really prepare you or you could really imagine, what is actually like to have the two twins. Everything goes on hold. You don't really have time to do anything rather than look after them. Catrina Skepper: You barely have time to go out and shop, actually get food for yourself. Mark Hemmings: Just taking to baby shopping is a real adventure and it's only something that what we do occasionally, don't we? Cheryl Hemmings: Yeah, I mean I can cope now taking the two of them around the supermarket. That's fine. But if you want to do anything like go in the garden, do some gardening or actually go to shop for yourself, you are just not going to -- it's not going to happen. Catrina Skepper: Now what about the Sleep element, because I know what it's like with one, when you've just got to sort of worry about one waking up and feeding one, but that must be very hard on both of you, because you are sharing the responsibilities also? Mark Hemmings: It took us a while to get into the first night home from hospital, we didn't sleep at all. We are awake all night. And we tried to but it didn't work out. We have them in bed with us, but after that it gradually improves, but the first couple of months are really, really hard to work. We tried -- Cheryl was doing this sort of night time feeds and I was going to sleep, because obviously going to work the next day, but it actually doesn't work and it needs two of us up at night. Catrina Skepper: To be handful, hands-on. This is probably where Helen you can be of a help really, because TAMBA - Helen Forbes: Oh that's great for me. Catrina Skepper: -- yeah, all these questions you heard before. What exactly is TAMBA and what work do you do? Helen Forbes: Well, TAMBA is a national charity that was set up over 25 years ago actually to support parents who realize that there actually was very little information out there. They perhaps hav
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