Sally Barker is a pregnancy and birth trauma healing coach, podcaster, journalist, and author based in Perth, Western Australia. However, she is first and foremost, the proud mother of twin girls. Combining her background in journalism with her harrowing experience giving birth to premature twins, Sally wrote Double Happiness, Multiplied: What You Need to Know About Having Twins, Triplets, and Quads.
Her pregnancy was fraught with complications, and her girls were born at just 28 weeks gestation. That’s when her empathetic nature collided with her journalistic skills, and the seed was planted to write a book to help others in the same or similar situation.
What I loved about this book is the seamless transition from true medical advice from her own research and that of expert doctors, to true life stories of other parents’ experiences with multiples. The book is filled with useful information, from what you should expect each week when carrying multiples (and those of us who have carried multiples know how your body changes dramatically each week!) to medical problems that may arise along your pregnancy and interesting stories in between.
We had the opportunity to talk to Sally about the book, her writing process, and her experiences as a mother of twins.
1. What compelled you to write this book?
Essentially, I wrote the book I wished I had when I was pregnant with my twins. I wanted women to be empowered by knowledge, so they could ask informed questions throughout their pregnancy and beyond. Also, I felt the book needed to be packaged in a way that offered support and understanding, which came from parents who had been there before them and multiple births experts who could provide up to date recommendations and research.
2. What was the toughest part of writing the book?
Writing my own story. It was cathartic; however, I was suffering from unresolved pregnancy and birth trauma and revisiting those experiences were incredibly emotional.
3. How are your twins doing today?
Bella was diagnosed with a childhood form of epilepsy three-years ago, but apart from that, they are thriving 11-year olds.
4. What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
My goal is to empower women to speak up and advocate for themselves and their babies during and after pregnancy.
We’re raised to hold our own power as young women; however, for most of us when we’re pregnant we abide by the assumption that we have to hand that power over and not have a say in our care or the management of our pregnancy.
I want women to know they do have the right to question medical professionals and to seek a second or even third opinion if necessary.
5. What would your advice to other moms pregnant with multiples be?
This is easier said than done, relax. Connect with your body and your babies. Meditate, if you don’t know how to reach out and I will teach you. Learn as much as you can about the miracle going on inside you. Be prepared to make alternative plans for the many variables that come with carrying multiples. Enjoy this time in your life.
6. What is the funniest mom of multiples situation you’ve ever been in?
I was picking Bella up from tutoring and had parked directly in front of the office, which had floor to ceiling glass windows. Her twin Aasha was sitting in the passenger seat and was quick to get ready to jump out of the car to collect her sister. I told her we still had ten minutes until Bella had finished and she turned to me and said, “No, Mumma, look she’s sitting right there waiting.” It took me a few seconds to realise that Aasha was actually looking at her own reflection in the window and thought it was Bella.
We laughed so hard. It was probably the first time Aasha really understood why people would often get them both mixed up.
7. What is something you worried about raising twins that you really didn’t need to worry about?
People were always telling me that the girls needed to be separated and I shouldn’t let them wear the same clothes, do the same activities, or play the same sports because they needed to be ‘individuals’. In a way, they were telling me that I should ignore the special bond identical twins share and do everything in my power to keep them from developing as they should. I, of course, ignored this advice and they have an incredibly close bond and have developed their own personalities and individuality. They have many similarities in what they like and then they have many differences. Keeping them together has allowed them to blossom without the anxieties of society trying to rip them apart.
8. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Ask for help. Seek assistance to recover from the trauma that surrounded my pregnancy and birth. Insist on marriage counseling. Take time to reconnect with the girls’ dad when things settled down a bit. All this might have prevented me from becoming a single mother.
Being pregnant with multiples can be shocking and scary, and even today there aren’t a lot of written resources available to help moms through the process. This book tackles the tough questions that many moms pregnant with multiples don’t want to face, with real and helpful answers. I would’ve been very grateful for this book when I was pregnant with my triplets ten years ago. Double Happiness, Multiplied is a must-have resource for anyone pregnant with twins, triplets or quads!
You can purchase Double Happiness, Multiplied: What You Need to Know About Having Twins, Triplets, and Quads from Amazon today. Visit Double Happiness on their website, Facebook page, or check out Sally’s podcast.
We received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes. All comments and opinions are our own.
Megan Woolsey is the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated, writer, and publisher living in Northern California with a very supportive husband and a wild bunch of red-headed children – a set of triplets and their big sister. Megan has been published in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, Bonbon Break, Mamalode, In The Powder Room, and is an essayist in two anthologies. When Megan needs a break from the kids, you can find her perusing her social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.