As the mother of four children, all of whom arrived within six years of each other, I appreciate the chaos of life in a hectic household. But even when I was in the thick of it with numerous kids in diapers and babies at different stages, I still knew that having each of my children individually was different than had one of my pregnancies been with multiples. Somehow I had an inkling that parenting twins or triplets was a whole other genre of parenthood, a special club in its own right.
Now those who are lucky enough to find themselves in that club have a great new read thanks to fellow moms of multiples and editors Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, the creative masterminds behind the delightful and informative book, “Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets and More.” This anthology is a one-stop-shop for parents of multiples or those expecting them. It showcases beautiful essays from other parents of twins or triplets with stories about fertility treatment, pregnancy, NICU stays, labor and delivery and what early life is like with multiples. The book also provides practical tips and advice.
Megan and Alison write in their introduction: “We are creating a community of parents who need to think outside the box to successfully raise two or more children simultaneously.” To interact with their community and keep their readers engaged, they’ve launched the website www.multiplesilluminated.com where you can find other excellent posts about life with twins, triplets and beyond.
Here’s my Q and A with Alison and Megan about their endeavors and being the moms to twins (Alison) and triplets (Megan).
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
Megan: I have seen many beautiful anthologies coming out in the past few years and have been fortunate to be a part of a few of them as an essayist. One day while I was out shopping with my husband I had an AHA moment: there should be an anthology for multiple parents from multiple parents and I need to make it happen. When I was pregnant with triplets I scoured the Amazon virtual shelves in search of books to help me through the unique process of carrying, delivering and raising triplets. I only found a few books to help me. I would’ve really appreciated a book like “Multiples Illuminated” when I was pregnant, and I love that we have it now. Creating this book with Alison has truly been a dream fulfilled.
We met through online writing communities. We had been in touch over email several times when Alison was the blog book tour coordinator for a parenting book.
Megan: One day I emailed Alison to ask her if she would be interested in helping me market “Multiples Illuminated.” I explained that I was in the very beginning stages of the book and that my original publishing partner was no longer able to work on the project with me so I was going at it alone.
Alison: I emailed her back and said, I’d love to be part of the project!
A beautiful partnership was born. The book hasn’t evolved much from the original concept – we always knew we wanted it to be a combination of stories and advice.
I love the book’s format, how it weaves together personal stories along with practical advice and valuable resources. This was a different format for an anthology than others I’ve seen, but I think it works really well. Why did you decide to make the book a one-stop-shop for parents with multiples?
We felt that a book like this was missing in the market. When we were both pregnant with our multiples, we struggled to find books that offered stories we could relate to, that encompassed all the stages of parenting and raising twins, triplets or more. There were a few resources on the how-to’s but they felt unapproachable. We wanted to write a book that we wished we had when trying to conceive, pregnant and the early days of multiples parenting. The journal prompts were born of a goal to make the book as interactive as possible. We want it to be a reference and a keepsake.
Susan Pinsky’s foreword is a wonderful way to start the book. I always like a little “celebrity touch” to grab people’s attention. How did you end up working with her?
Megan is a huge fan of Dr. Drew’s show, so approaching Susan Pinsky was a no-brainer. What surprised us was how approachable and responsive she is – no “people” or layers of PR folks. Megan sent her a private Facebook message with the opportunity and she messaged back saying that the book sounds like a great idea and she would love to be a part of it. She is friendly, kind, generous and we truly enjoy working with her. It’s an honor to have her words grace our pages.
In “Multiples Illuminated,” you both show your versatility as writers, editors, and experienced mothers with good advice to share. What was it like to use all those different voices within the same body of work?
Thank you, those are kind words! We come from different places in our multiples parenthood, which we felt was advantageous because we could offer insights for the various stages we cover in the book. Megan’s triplets are eight; Alison is in the first years of raising twins. Megan went through infertility and IVF. Alison’s twins were premature and had a NICU stay. So we felt that we had a wealth of information to share. Choosing the contributors was both a difficult and easy process. Difficult because we only had space for 20 stories and we received well over 60 submissions. Easy, because each story fit just right into the book. Together, we feel that we achieved a good balance of heartfelt and humorous, while staying honest and positive.
What are your hopes and dreams for “Multiples Illuminated”? The Web site seems like such a great way to continue what you’ve started with this book. Do you have other plans for this community you are growing?
Ultimately, we want to be the go-to place for parents and families of multiples, whatever stage of parenting they are in. We want them to feel less alone, be able to ask questions or opinions or simply to share their experiences. We also want to give voice to parents of multiples by featuring guest posts on the website, and even people who are twins or triplets themselves, to tell their stories on our website, and future anthologies (yes, we are planning for more books!).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received over the years about raising multiples?
Alison: Just one piece of advice? How about a few? 🙂 Take it one day at a time. Allow your multiples to be individuals – in fact, celebrate it. Ask for help.
Megan: Stay organized! Get enough sleep!
Alison, you mention in your bio that you have an “accidentally large family.” Did either of you ever think you would have four children before you found out you were having multiples?
Alison: We planned to stop at two! When my second was 18 months, we changed our minds and decided that three would be perfect. Four was never part of the plan, mainly because I couldn’t imagine being pregnant four times! I was 37 when we decided to go for number three. It was our last shot. I guess the Universe knew that four was our perfect number and we found out about the twins when I was 6.5 weeks pregnant. I didn’t think I would be a mother of four, but now that I am, I can’t imagine otherwise.
Megan: I never, ever, ever thought I would have four children. I only ever wanted two children but the universe had other plans for me I guess. Having triplets just blew my mind but my husband and I took it all in stride and we enjoy our large family. It isn’t an easy life, but there is so much love in our house.
You can order your copy of Multiples Illuminated here:
Amazon (paperback and Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Multiples-Illuminated-Collection-Parents-Triplets/dp/0996833501/
Barnes & Noble (Nook) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/multiples-illuminated-alison-lee/1123393084