Book Review: Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets

by Susan M. Heim

One of the most popular shows on TV right now is Jon & Kate Plus 8, which portrays the daily lives of the Gosselins — a family with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets! People are fascinated by how Jon and Kate maintain their sanity while rearing eight young children. Fortunately, the couple’s deep faith often comes in handy when their patience runs thin, as it frequently does. Kate and Jon have no doubt that they’ve been chosen for the special privilege of raising these children.

Of course, the TV show can only give viewers a glimpse of their lives a day or two at a time, so it’s welcome news that the Gosselins have just released a book that tells their story from the beginning. Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets explains how Jon and Kate first met, their journey through infertility, finding out they’re expecting twins…and then sextuplets, Kate’s high-risk second pregnancy, Jon’s bout with unemployment, and their strategies for raising their suddenly expanded family. The book makes it clear that many days are a struggle, but the overriding blessings of a healthy, large family outweigh the negatives. As Kate notes in the book’s conclusion: “I feel so incredibly blessed that God has chosen us for this journey. This life is absolutely not in a million years what Jon and I expected, but it is infinitely more than we ever hoped or dreamed in so many ways. While Jon and I can’t imagine what the days ahead will hold for our family, I am often comforted by a quote by Abraham Lincoln. He said, ‘The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.’ I say, ‘Thank God.'”

Although Jon and Kate are both listed as coauthors (along with Beth Carson), this book is clearly in Kate’s voice and from her perspective. Kate is surprisingly candid about her weaknesses and fears, such as her difficulty in relinquishing her need for control and accepting help via strangers in her home. While being very grateful for all the people who stepped in to help out, she is frustrated at the same time with her inability to be able to “do it all,” as she had in the past. As she notes about her children, “I really wanted to try to train them to entertain themselves, knowing that as part of a big family they would need to be fairly self-sufficient. I just couldn’t possibly give them their way the minute they wanted something.” She also says of her sextuplets’ early days, “One thing that makes me so sad is thinking about all the moments I missed.” This is because she was constantly running to the kitchen to make formula, then to the laundry room to wash clothes, and everywhere else when she was “on duty.” She didn’t have the luxury like parents of singletons do to just sit down with her babies and enjoy their milestones.

Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets is an eye-opening and fascinating account of life with “multiple multiples.” It is also a story of determination and faith — two qualities that certainly make the Gosselins ideal parents for their large brood. I have a feeling we’ll be reading a sequel of this family’s incredible journey in a few years!