Supporting Moms and Dads with Multiples through Education and Friendship
Twins, triplets and quads, oh my! Having a new baby is always life changing, and at times overwhelming, but having two, three or four at a time can take the joy and happiness, as well as the stress, to a whole new level. Paradise Valley Mothers of Multiples (PVMOM) was founded to help parents of multiples thrive in this challenging, yet rewarding, situation.
“The whole point of the club is to help parents. It can be such an overwhelming experience, from the pregnancy and birth to the time management and getting back to work,” says Shenen Dietrich, president of PVMOM. She’s also the mother of 5-year-old twin boys, as well as an internal medicine physician.
Often times when multiples are born, they end up in neonatal intensive care. There can be financial and emotional stresses with double the diapers, formula, clothes and equipment, and lots of questions about how to manage the care of multiple infants at one time. The group is there to offer support, ideas and help.
“In the first year, just to take a shower, put on makeup and get out of the house is huge for the moms,” says Dietrich.
Camaraderie for Commiserating
PVMOM offers a buddy program for new moms or dads who join the group. They are matched up with a more experienced parent so they have someone to call for advice or help.
“You don’t feel like all the other moms,” says Dietrich. “It feels good to talk to these other moms to hear that it is normal. They educate and support you emotionally. It was a great resource for me.”
PVMOM is a nonprofit organization that was founded more than 30 years ago, in partnership with Multiples of America, a national organization. Although they began in Paradise Valley, the group is now Scottsdale based and has members from across the Valley. They meet the first Thursday evening of every month, at a conference room in Scottsdale Healthcare Shea. They also bring in speakers to talk about different topics like financial planning and speech therapy.
In addition to a monthly meeting, they host a huge consignment sale in the fall and spring, where parents can purchase gently used items such as maternity clothes, children’s toys and baby gear.
“Items are constantly being recycled,” says Dietrich. “Some of these families can’t afford new, brand name clothes and just want to be like everyone else.”
They get the opportunity to replenish their children’s drawers at a reasonable price during the consignment sale. The general public is welcome to come and shop too.
The program also hosts an annual picnic at McCormick Railroad Park for members and their families. They stand behind their members and want to support them in any way they can; they even have a philanthropic chair on their board to ensure that they do.
“We’ll do what we need to,” says Dietrich. “Even though they may live in Scottsdale, some of these families struggle with day-to-day expenses, compounded with having multiples, especially with the high cost of day care.”
They sponsor a family during the holidays, which is chosen from applications submitted by members. Members can also apply for support during the year if they are in need.
“I’ve never been to war, but I feel the camaraderie that we share is kind of like that. You develop bonds through adversity. And being the president, I’ve seen so much good,” says Dietrich. “I want to see this organization flourish.”
Twice the Love
A large number of the parents have twins under 5, but many parents remain members for years to come. Dietrich attends the national conference annually, and many of the national members have adult twins, yet still remain active.
“When my boys are 16, we’ll need to pay for two cars and two insurances, and eventually two college educations, all at the same time. This is going to cost us a fortune,” says Dietrich.
The annual membership dues are modest and the support is priceless. Having multiples comes with a huge financial burden for parents, but it also comes with at least twice the number of cute baby toes, twice the love and twice the smiles. It’s great to know that families have a place to turn when they feel like they have twice, or three times the stress.
Learn more about Paradise Valley Mothers of Multiples and their big consignment sale at PVMom.org.