Northern Valley MOMS offers support to mothers of twinsIn Grand Forks, a few months after The Flood of ’97, Joan Warnke drummed up interest in MOMS by spreading flyers around town, making phone calls and inviting mothers with multiples whom she saw in public.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
Joan Warnke always wanted twins.
“I thought it’d be fun and exciting,” she said. But it was a surprise when she found out that she was actually expecting fraternal twins 16 years ago.
Kevin and Jason were born in September 1996, about a year before the family moved to Grand Forks from Minot where Warnke had first heard about Mothers of Multiples (MOMS).
“I thought it was interesting. If we had stayed there, I would have started a group in Minot.”
She also has a daughter, Rebecca, 13.
In Grand Forks, a few months after The Flood of ’97, Warnke drummed up interest in MOMS by spreading flyers around town, making phone calls and inviting mothers with multiples whom she saw in public.
“There was no Facebook back then,” she said.
Northern Valley MOMS was launched in fall 1997, and began meeting in the basement of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Grand Forks.
“The idea was that you needed somebody who’s in the same boat as you,” she said. “That was the time when people were intrigued by multiples; the McCaughey (septuplets) kids were born around that time” in Iowa.
The chapter grew to include members from around the area, including Cavalier, N.D., and Crookston and Badger, Minn.
Cathy Helgoe, mother of quadruplets in Cavalier, and Cheryl Adams, mother of triplets in Crookston, drove to Grand Forks for MOMS meetings, Warnke said.
Early Grand Forks members included Laurie Bothun, mother of triplets ; Joan Ryan Mangino, mother of twin boys , and Laura Shroyer, mother of 13-year-old twin girls.
Bothun’s husband, dentist Paul Bothun, presented a talk on teeth to the fledgling group. Other speakers were invited to discuss health issues and vendors brought products for members to buy.
“We had officers, we had an agenda. If someone had information to share, they’d bring it,” Warnke said.
“It’s funny how we just found the time.”
The greatest benefit to members is the support, she said, “to know you can call somebody” for help or advice.
Even though MOMS members are raising children who are the same age, each child has individual characteristics, she said.
“Some train better, some don’t. Some eat better, some don’t.”
The MOMS group is a source for information and suggestions on those and other situations that mothers face daily.
“Looking back, I value the friendships I got, that closeness. I’m always going to have that support. Even now, if I need them, I can call them.”
Early on, the group started semiannual rummage sales to raise funds which are used for club activities and other priorities such as sponsoring members whose families are under financial stress during the holidays or sending members to MOMS conventions.
“The sales are just a blast,” Warnke said. “It’s exciting: the set up and the laughing.”
Several years ago, at a MOMS convention in St. Paul, the Grand Forks group was the smallest but the only one to have mothers of two sets of quadruplets in its membership.
The organization connected Warnke with friends she’s still in touch with, she said. “The friendships are life-long. And these kids (of the early members) all know each other.”
When she talks with those friends now, “we say, we needed that — we needed that night out once a month to talk about ‘how do we raise these kids?’”
She marvels that the MOMS group has endured 15 years, admitting to being a bit surprised.
“The fact that it’s still going on, that shows there’s a need for it.”
Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to email@example.com.