As a mother of six-year-old triplets, Adrienne Boutwell keeps herself busy.
When the kids – identical sisters Alex and Emma and fraternal brother Ethan – were younger, deciding to go out in public might take a week’s worth of planning, said the 41-year-old Flower Mound mother.
“Unloading the car was entertaining, because I’d obviously have to put somebody in the stroller and then get back in the car to continue to get kids,” she said. “So, I would stick my leg out of the car and loop it through some part of the stroller, so it wouldn’t roll away or make sure someone didn’t grab my kid.”
According to her, the outings were few and far between at first, she said.
However, Boutwell found her support “tribe” through the Metrocrest Parents of Multiples, or MPOM, while pregnant and has been involved ever since. She is currently going into her second term as president.
“It was a great resource to turn to when I was pregnant to ask questions about equipment that I actually needed and would use; and, I could buy used equipment from other moms,” Boutwell said of MPOM, which serves Flower Mound, Highland Village, Lewisville and surrounding areas.
“After I had the babies, it served as a group of friends that share the chaos of having multiple children at once and you can reach out and find out someone who felt the same way you did,” she added.
The group can be a great resource for support of commiseration, joked Flower Mound resident BreAnn Blehm, who has fraternal boy-girl twins, Henry and Thia.
“Some of these moms in the group are pretty much done raising their twins, but they’re still a part of the group to offer support,” said Blehm, 30, who also has a three-year-old.
“It definitely helps me keep my sanity,” she said of the group. “They can help shine a light in the darkness when it is all overwhelming.”
The group has been an extra resource and a blessing, said Jordan Grantham, Flower Mound resident and mom of two-year-old fraternal twins, Hope and Evan.
“There are five of us moms who had boy-girl twins within a year of each other and we all met at one of the events and we have kind of become a little club within a club,” she said. “All of these things make life easier and less lonely.”
Like Boutwell, there needs to be a game plan to get out of the door.
“It really depends on if I have man-coverage or zone-coverage and if my husband is here or not,” she said. “At age two, it basically requires wrestling clothes on to them and putting shoes on three or four times, chasing them around the house and eventually corralling them into the car maybe 30-minutes later.”
While in public, it is not uncommon for strangers to be inquisitive, but sometimes it gets personal, said Grantham.
“I think the funniest question I get is if they’re natural,” she said. “Yes, they’re natural. They are here. They are humans.”
For Flower Mound resident Jenna Carr, asking which one of her 10-month-old fraternal twin boys, Lincoln and Logan, is older is peculiar.
“At first, I would answer and then once a lady said, ‘oh yeah, I can tell.’ I just thought this is getting crazy,” said Carr, 32. “They’re a minute apart how can you tell who is older? They’re the same age and were in the womb together, one just happened to come out first.”
She really is happy to answer most questions, Carr said.
“I love being approached, even though it might not always be super convenient,” she said.
Boutwell said she is pretty open about answering questions – even from the “cluelessly inquisitive.”
“I mean, people always ask if they are natural and that kind of cracks me up,” she said. “The reason I am okay being asked that– and answering– because they know someone who is struggling with fertility issues. And, I am always happy to share that we had to do IVF and who we went to. Some people argue with you that they’re triplets, because they aren’t all the same sex and can’t tell how biology works and then people can be confused how the girls could be identical within the set.”
Despite the challenges being a mom-of-multiples brings, the moms can agree that the blessings are magnified.
“It was a really big struggle to have kids in the first place, so we try to always keep that in perspective, when it’s so very hard, because we have two of them and that it is just double the blessings that we wanted,” Grantham said. “At the end of the day, we waited so long that it really just feels like we are lucky.”
[Editor: the author of this article, Adrian McCandless, is an identical twin.]