As parents, we expect that a new baby will change our lives forever, but when Lala Langtry White got pregnant for the third time, she had no idea that the experience of this particular pregnancy would set her off on a new life path. Sharing her own experiences has evolved from a hobby into a passion and a career. She says: “It can be frustrating for parents of multiples when other people presume to know how it feels to carry, birth and raise two or more babies at once. I think it helps that I share much of their emotions, concerns and experiences. I think the shared experience lends another level of connection and empathy.”
From experience to expert
After having a boy and a girl only two years apart I thought that by my third pregnancy I might know a little bit about birth and parenting. Then I found out I was expecting spontaneous monochorionic twins... It shook our entire world when they were diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome at just 17 weeks pregnant, requiring in utero surgery to give them a chance of survival.
Everything about parenting them, from their premature birth to tandem breastfeeding, getting out and about and nurturing their individuality while cherishing their bond, highlighted how different having multiples is. I have never felt so isolated as I did during my pregnancy and early months of parenthood with our twins and this was something I was hearing over and over from the families in our community — something I was keen to change.
I started supporting other families going through ‘Small and Might Babies’ and ‘TwinsPlusArabia’. As my passion for helping other families grew, it led me to train to become a childbirth educator, a hypnobirthing practitioner, a breastfeeding peer counsellor and a doula. Now I combine my training with up-to-date evidence-based research and real life experience to better support families, both in a voluntary capacity and as a licensed birth support worker through Little Feather Collective.
In the majority of my training, I felt that multiple pregnancies were either an addendum or a caveat to the ‘norm’. I created the Mighty Multiples antenatal support programme as a response to the growing number of families who wanted education and support specific to multiple pregnancy and parenthood.
Look around at the birth and baby industry and you’ll see the vast majority is directed at single baby families. It’s understandable as a multiple pregnancy is rarer that singleton pregnancy, but, in the UAE, it’s not that rare and it deserves individualised information and support.
Often we hear the common labels of ‘high risk’ or ‘complex pregnancy’ and, while multiple pregnancies do come with unique considerations and increased chances of certain complications, it’s important to treat each family individually and know that there are wonderfully positive stories of women having vaginal birth of multiples at 39 weeks. And for those whose pregnancy or birth encounters special circumstances, they need to know that support and education is there for them. Our supportive community is built on connection, not comparison.
Mighty multiples antenatal course
The course runs over 4 weeks through Little Feather Collective and is taught in 2.5 hour sessions, usually from 7pm to 9.30pm on Sunday evenings at OurSpace, Lamborghini Dubai, including a light picnic supper and refreshments.
Using evidence-based research as well as real life experience we cover:
- Physical comfort and emotional wellbeing in your multiple pregnancy
- Building your support community and preparing for parenthood
- Birth preparation, including vaginal birth, induction of labour, Caesarean birth, premature birth and navigating NICU
- Feeding your babies: breastfeeding, hand expressing, pumping, tandem feeding and alternative methods of feeding
- Essential kit to help make your life with multiples easier
- Surviving and thriving the early days: getting out and about; emotional wellbeing; employing help; safe sleeping: travelling with your babies and more.
Each group has a whatsapp group and every family knows they can reach out to me with questions anytime and I run a free weekly support breakfast. I don’t always have all the answers but I will always try and find them for you.
For many families who find out they are expecting multiples, they can feel that all the decisions are being made for them by their medical team. This can unintentionally undermine their natural parental instincts which can then make bringing their babies home seem very overwhelming. My hope is to help families to bring back the humanity and individuality to their pregnancy, birth and early days of parenthood in a relaxed, non-judgemental, informative nurturing environment.
To get in touch with Lala, visit www.littlefeathercollective.com.
Lala Langtry White is a certified birth and postnatal doula, hypnobirthing and antenatal educator at Little Feather Collective. She is also the founder of Mighty Multiples, which offers antenatal support for parents of multiples, and she volunteers with parenting support groups Small and Mighty Babies and TwinsPlus Arabia