The Birth of a Magazine…and why we created it just for parents like you!
By Barbara and Bob Unell, Founders of TWINS Magazine
A bone-chilling cold, pouring rain had been steadily coming down for hours on this particularly dreary November night in Kansas City. The year was 1982, and we were hungry to learn everything we could about twinship, after having brought our own son and daughter into the world two years earlier.
In spite of the unpleasant weather, we decided to feed that hunger by attending a presentation by the esteemed researcher, Thomas Bouchard, Ph.D., the Director of the Minnesota Study for Twins Reared Apart. We were hoping that doing so would help us in parenting our 2-year-old twins, but the weather reports predicting ice and snow showers made us think twice about the wisdom of leaving our cozy home to venture out on this educational journey. We agreed that it would be important to go, but had no idea that doing so would transform our family’s life…and yours!
Dr. Bouchard shared information and insights that inspired us to think about the entire subject of multiples in different ways. We quickly had more questions than answers: What does research say about how families can best support their twins’ and triplets’ identities as co-twins and individuals? How do families apply the research on behavior and temperament to help their multiples’ reach their individual potential? What does the research say about the influence of the environment and genetics on who we are as unique human beings… and on the special influence of both on multiple-birth children and adults? How do we apply this research-based information to the practical decisions all parents, physicians and teachers of multiples face—from same/different toys to more complicated decision-making? From birth to adulthood, children are their parents’ best teachers…so how can we best listen and learn from our “multiple-birth classroom”?
At the conclusion of the lecture, Dr. Bouchard joined us for some in-depth conversation on all of the above topics, and together, we agreed that it was time for a publication that could answer these questions, while providing a forum for sharing the miracle of parenting multiple-birth children. We wanted to learn, firsthand, if other multiple-birth families, teachers, doctors and researchers across the country shared our thirst for knowledge in translating multiple-birth research into “news we could use…and set about the tasks to explore this dream.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Indeed, it was on that dark night in 1982 that our bright and sunny dream was born of creating a magazine we chose to call “TWINS”. Behavioral researchers, scientists, physicians, parents, teachers, coaches, and parenting organizations—everyone with whom we consulted about our dream of a TWINS Magazine--enthusiastically said, “Yes! We, too, need such a publication to answer our questions about helping multiples balance their genetics with the influences of the environment, whether the subject is mental, physical, psychological, social or spiritual health and well-being.”
After over two years of our own market research, we led our team of writers, salespeople, and artists to give birth to this dream, TWINS Magazine! The birth date? September/October 1984!
To truly reflect on the birth of a magazine 30 years ago, we must spend a moment reflecting on two other births that occurred 33 years ago: our twins, Justin and Amy. For us, that’s the true anniversary of TWINS Magazine. Our belief of the need for specialized parenting information for parents of multiples was, and is, a daily, almost minute-to-minute discussion from pregnancy…through this very minute!
It was only natural that we, a couple raising twins, with one being journalist specializing in behavior, psychology and social-emotional health, and the other being an advertising executive, would take the step to fill this long-ignored information void. The ideas that filled the posters taped around our office were soon bound into a business plan and the rest is history.
But that first issue of TWINS would have never come off the press if it wasn’t for so many who believed in the concept and encouraged us to succeed…
- The banker who believed in our dream, just as we did.
- The national experts…doctors, researchers, psychologists…and parents all over the world…who were our first editorial contributors for the only parenting magazine for parents of multiples.
- All those early subscribers who verified that our instincts were right and subscribed to TWINS Magazine to support their own families.
- Marion Meyer, the Executive Director of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs in 1982, who, over a bowl of crab stew in her Silver Springs, Maryland home, listened to our dreams and gave us the full support we needed during our start-up years.
- The advertisers who agreed to invest in our new magazine serving a segment of parents who had never before had such a publication.
- The first staff members of TWINS…who helped us distill multiple-birth research into easy to understand practical parenting information and present a forum for advocating for multiple-birth families in fields of education, health, childbirth, fertility, genetics, temperament and personality.
- And of course, Justin and Amy, who taught us all we ever really needed to know about raising twins!
We are grateful for all of these individuals we know, and tens of thousands whom we never met, who hungered for sharing how families of multiples balance their children’s identities as individuals and multiples. We are grateful for the privilege of being part of their lives for so many years. And we are thrilled to celebrate this milestone in the publication of this magazine, as TWINS reaches its 30th birthday. Now we have a new dream: We dream that TWINS Magazine continues to provide a forum for research-based information, personal sharing, and the celebration of the miracle of our common humanity. The number of multiple-births increases each year and our information-hungry culture abounds with more and more research about the influence of genetics, the environment, personality and temperament on our behavior. Helping families parent multiple-birth children is more relevant and remarkable an adventure than ever before in history! In conclusion, we leave you with the important words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Never forget that at the heart of any parenting magazine is the heart! We send our best wishes for loving days ahead for each of you, and those you care about most, your multiple-birth children, for whom TWINS Magazine’s every issue is lovingly dedicated.