The West

Mum gets five times the joy
Shari Nelson, with Katrina, Isabelle, Peter and Alicia. File picture

Eighteen years ago, Alicia, Katrina, Isabelle and Peter Nelson captured the hearts of West Australians when they entered the world as the State's one-in-a-million quadruplets.

Tomorrow, like on so many Mother's Days since, they will give their adoring mum Shari Nelson handmade cards - a tradition she says has always reminded her how lucky she is.

"I thank God every day for my husband and children and for the many miracles it took to make our family, because I know there were so many obstacles to overcome," Mrs Nelson said.

"I remember crying when I turned 30 because I still had no children and I always thought at 30 I would have kids."

After marrying in their early 20s, Mrs Nelson and her husband Steve would often joke that she wanted two children and he hoped for five.

But their family did not come easily and it took years of fertility treatments before their daughter Emily was born.

When Emily was a baby, the Nelsons again turned to assisted reproductive technology in the hope of giving her a sibling.

Headline: Text: < None > Caption: Shari Nelson and Alicia, Katrina, Isabelle and Peter. File picture: The West Australian

In April 1996, Mr Nelson got the five children he had always wanted and Emily went from being an only child to the big sister of healthy quadruplets.

The couple relied on family, friends and the occasional stranger in the years that followed as they learnt to manage the logistics of looking after four babies.

Among the helpers were three local women aged in their 70s, who would drop by on Fridays to help with feeding, bathing and never-ending piles of washing.

"Every day was like an adventure, that was our attitude," Mrs Nelson said. "I don't know whether I'd be quite the person I am today if we didn't have quads."

Shari and Steve Nelson with their children, quadruplets Alicia, Katrina, Isabelle and Peter and their older sister Emily and the family dog Milly at their Mt Pleasant home. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

The quadruplets hated being apart from the moment they were born and today the bond between all the Nelson children is as strong as ever.

Emily, now 19, said the best thing about growing up with four siblings was that she was never short of someone to talk to.

She said the family was lucky to have such a positive and hardworking mum as a role model.

"She has accomplished so much while at the same time handling all of us, it's unbelievable," Emily said.

The West Australian

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