Triplets from across Northern Ireland got together for the first time at a special gathering in Carrickfergus over the weekend.
Ten familes and their young children from the greater Belfast area, Londonderry and Banbridge enjoyed fun and games at the World of Wonder soft play centre in the Loughshore Hotel.
But there was also a serious side to the function in that it allowed parents to meet up in person and chat about the stresses involved in having triplets in the household.
One of the parents, Gordon Adger, from Newtownards, said it was well worthwhile and those attending wanted to meet up again in the future.
Mr Adger attended with his wife, Natasha, and 14-month-old triplets – Brynn, Freya and Remy. He was delighted with the good turnout.
“The ages of the triplets ranged from 19 weeks to nine or ten years,” he said. “About 35 people including some fathers came along – it was like a glorified birthday party.”
Taking place on Saturday – April Fool’s Day – the children, some of whom look very like each other, did attract the occasional glance from curious passers-by.
Planning is crucial when you’ve got triplets, so the Carrick gathering took some time to prepare – most of it was arranged over social media.
“The idea came from mothers chatting on Facebook,” Mr Adger explained. “It was agreed that it would be a good idea for us all to get together and share our experiences of having and working with triplets.”
For Gordon and Natasha having the triplets was “a big life changer” which the couple had to adjust to quickly.
“We lived in a bungalow and had to move house,” he said. “We had to change our car and so on.”
As well as placing an added strain on a family’s finances, triplets can also be quite an emotional burden having to juggle daily routines.
This is where events like the Carrick event are very important – providing much-needed support for parents by letting them share experiences.
Most parents in the Province rely on the Tamba Group, which is dedicated to providing information and mutual support networks to families with “twins, triplets and more”.
Parents who have twins or triplets are encouraged to become Tamba members to receive their expert advice and support.
Having triplets puts parents on a steep learning curve. Mr Adger said there was still not enough information about triplets available and that was one of the main reasons for their weekend get together.
Summing it up, he described it as “an enjoyable and informative day.” And they hope to do it all again next year.