It wasn’t until Gleason’s boys were 15 months old that the feelings started to take over her life and she was diagnosed with postpartum depression, a common form of the illness that occurs after childbirth.
“I was 32 years old when I had my boys,” Gleason admitted. “They’re 6 now and all my other friends just had one baby. It was overwhelming.”
So Gleason became a part of South Jersey Mothers of Multiples, a national nonprofit with a mission to support mothers who give birth to more than one child. In the last two years, Gleason has served as president of the organization, and after adapting to a virtual connection last year, the nonprofit will hold its first in person event to honor South Jersey twins on Aug. 5.
South Jersey Mothers of Multiples has members from Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties, with membership now at about 140 women who have twins or triplets. The group is made up of an executive board, and members are all part of a committee to help provide support, information, direction and fellowship to mothers of multiples.
“We have different committees for different things that we have going on,” Gleason explained. “There’s a membership committee and a community-service committee who organize projects for our group where we help other nonprofits in the area.”
Last year’s virtual program affected the group’s ability to fundraise, bond with other mothers and help other nonprofits. The twins’ day is an annual event, and this year marks the first time since COVID that mothers and children will be able to hang out in person.
“It’s a day to come together to celebrate all the twins (and) triplets in one area,” said Gleason.
The event is free and volunteers will be available to those who want to learn more or become a part of the organization.
Before COVID, the moms’ group would hold programs at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees to guide mothers pregnant with multiples and help them maintain a calm mindset after childbirth. They are all a part of a private Facebook group to maintain communication with new members.
Any multiple mom can join the group by filling out an application on its website. South Jersey Moms will ask applicants for their children’s names and background information. Membership is $35 a year and allows access to all events as well as providing funding for the organization.
Gleason is grateful for finding South Jersey Mothers of Multiples because it helped her not only overcome the difficulties of multiple births but also gave her the opportunity to establish lifelong friendships with mothers in the area.
“There’s a need for support,” Gleason said. “I joined when my boys were three months old and I’ve made the dearest of friends in this group. I hope this event will bring some awareness to the community on what this group can offer to others.”
Twin Day will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at Laurel Acres Park. For more information on South Jersey Mothers of Multiples, go to http://www.sjmoms.com/site/.