PEMS Groups

Providing Early Multiples Support

SFOM is a member of the PEPS Network. We offer peer-support groups for families with newborn multiples, based on the PEPS model (www.peps.org).

Who can join?

The PEMS program is designed for SFOM parents to attend with their babies, aged 0-16 weeks old (adjusted age) when the group starts. All our groups can be attended by one parent plus a partner and babies. 

Group Details

Flexible Meeting Options

During the pandemic, we successfully transitioned to online meetings, allowing geographically distant groups to connect easily (and not disrupt the babies' schedules!).

Current Schedule

Note: This schedule may adjust as circumstances change.

PEMS Offerings in 2024*

January: Saturdays, 10am to noon

April: Saturdays, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.,

Beyond April: Fill out our interest form Dates TBA

*These groups will follow a 10-week meeting structure, meeting virtually for most meetings and in-person for weeks 5 and 10. 

PEMS groups featured in Seattle’s Child, May 2019 (click to read)

PEMS group meeting virtually on Zoom.

More about PEMS

Seattle Families of Multiples (SFOM) is a member of the PEPS Network™. We offer small age-based groups for families with multiples, targeting adjusted age 0-4 months, which are based on the model for parent peer-support groups used by PEPS – The Program for Early Parent Support™. PEMS Groups meet for 2 hours every week for 10 weeks. You can attend both PEMS and Year One meetings.


What's a regular meeting like?

Meetings include time for new parents of multiples to share their challenges and joys, learn about babies’ development and learn songs and activities to do with their babies, and to have a facilitated discussion on a parenting topic chosen by the group. 

Participants are welcome to attend with both parents or just the one. Most families bring all the babies, though you are welcome to attend with one or none. Our goal is for the meeting to work for you. 

Register

For more information, or if you are interested in registering for a group (including future groups not yet listed in the schedule above), please fill out this brief survey. There are typically about 8 spaces available per group so sign up soon to reserve your spot. 


Former PEMS group outing as preschoolers

SFOM families in a PEMS group meeting

Frequently Asked Questions

PEMS groups are based on PEPS™  groups, which have been bringing Seattle area parents together for 30 years.

Here are some common questions that parents sometimes have about this kind of peer-support groups model:

Is this group a good fit for me? Is it limited to certain types of families?

ALL families are welcome.  Groups reflect the wide diversity of the Seattle area, with a range of age, race, religion, income, education, political views, and so on. Groups include adoptive parents, single parents, LGBTQ parents, bi-racial families, both first-time and experienced parents, and more. All are connected by the common experience of parenting new babies.

What do parents say about their PEMS Group experience?

Here are a few quotes from recent evaluations:


“As a first time mother of multiples, joining a PEMS group is the single most important piece of advice I would give to new/expecting mothers of multiples.”


“Even though it is still a challenge getting out-and-about with twins, being a part of a PEMS group pulls us out of the house. Our gatherings are always the highlight of our week.”


“Meeting other parents with multiples and seeing how their experiences compare to our own. We feel like we are less alone because everyone has tough times with twins.”


“Our leader was excellent. We felt incredibly lucky to have this community.”

How does this group compare to other groups and classes?

In Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of postpartum support groups, and early learning opportunities. It can be hard to sort through all your options to find the support that meets your needs, although there are definitely fewer activities focused specifically for parents of multiples. Because PEMS is provided by SFOM, you can be assured that all of the participants in your group, and in the wider SFOM organization that you will be connected with, understand what it is like to parent more than one baby!

There are also parent-baby classes in specific activities such as gymnastics, swimming, music, and yoga. Many participants have participated in multiple types of classes and programs, and they report that they found value in each type of program. Parents who have participated in a variety of groups report that the things they liked best about their PEPS-based group were:

I hear that PEPS Groups often meet for years. Will my PEMS Group?

Your volunteer leader will facilitate the group for ten weeks. Parents are then encouraged to continue meeting on their own for as long as they wish. Some groups choose to stop meeting, some continue for a while but then drift away, but some groups continue to meet for years, supporting each other through preschool, first days of kindergarten, even through the challenges of adolescence and beyond!

We can’t guarantee how long your PEMS group may choose to stay together. However, we will give you tools to help you get started, and you are encouraged to take advantage of the variety of opportunities available through SFOM, such as club events, the Year One program, family meetups, and parents’ nights out. Beyond that, it’s up to you and your fellow group members to make it the experience you want it to be!

Is PEMS a parent education program?

You will learn a great deal about babies and parenting by attending PEMS. However, a majority of the learning comes from sharing information with other parents, observing other parents and their babies, and participating in facilitated discussions that guide you in exploring your own values and priorities for your family.

Every PEMS Group is filled with experts – you, the parents! You’re all learning new things about parenting every day, and your group’s leader(s) can help guide you on this journey. PEMS provides a curriculum for group leaders, which offers an overview of each parenting topic, a summary of vital research information and current trends in parenting advice, and resources for more information. Your leader may also offer additional handouts, or email articles related to the week’s topic. Your leader’s role is not to be an authoritative educator, lecturing you in the “one right way to parent.” Instead, he or she will facilitate the sharing of information amongst group members.

Can I be in a PEMS Group and a PEPS Group?

Yes! Some parents of multiples also choose to be in a PEPS Newborn Group in their neighborhood with other parents with single babies around the same age as their own. To do that, just register for a PEPS Newborn Group. Note that there is a separate cost to participate in each program.

I’m an experienced parent of multiples! Can I lead a group?

Yes, please! SFOM is entirely volunteer-run, and we are always looking for experienced parents of multiples to lead upcoming groups. We train leaders to facilitate PEMS group meetings, and all basic materials and resources for the weekly topics are provided to the leaders. Groups meet for a series of 10 weeks (2 hours per week). As a leader, you can pick the meeting schedule that works for you, though weekend groups and weekday evening groups are definitely the most popular for new families of multiples. Groups can be facilitated by a single leader or by co-leaders (who may attend all meetings together, or alternate weeks). 

Past PEMS Leaders have enjoyed this role because they get to provide a space for new families to learn together during a focused series of weeks. And, participants frequently report that their PEMS group was one of the most pivotal experiences as a new parent. We have many leaders who enjoy it so much that they return to lead another group a few months or a year later, as their schedule allows. 

Time commitment is about 4 hours per week for 10 weeks (preparing for meetings, travel time, facilitating meetings, and following up after meetings, as needed).

Thank you for your interest in supporting these newest SFOM families! Interested group leaders can fill out our interest form


Email us with any additional questions you may have about being in a group (or leading a group).