Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter 14: A womb twin discovered

If it is true that for every pair of twins born there are at least ten womb twin survivors, then there are 600 million womb twin survivors in the world.  About half of them are adults and one of them may be you.  If you were never told when you were a child that you once had a twin, there are still many ways in which you may discover your own womb twin for yourself.  In this chapter we will review some of the ways in which a womb twin may be discovered for the first time by the sole survivor.

When an infant is aware
We learned in the last chapter how some young womb twin survivors, almost as soon as they could talk, ask their mother for a twin. This can sometimes pre-empt the mother’s intention to tell their child.  For instance, Maxim, who is now twelve years old, has no recollection of the fact that at two years old he talked about his twin sister. “When I was in Mummy’s tummy there was a little girl there. We used to talk, then one day she disappeared.”  Similarly, Lisa, who was not told about her twin until she was fourteen, remembers sitting half-way up the stairs from the age of two or three, chatting to her twin.  Young womb twin survivors seem to have some uncanny knowledge about their twin.  For example Evelyn was a teenager when she wondered about her twin’s name and the name Meredith kept coming to her.  She asked her mother what she was going to call her and her mother said, “Meredith.”

The mark of a lost twin
There may be a physical scar as a reminder of your lost twin.  If you are a womb twin survivor and you had a dermoid cyst, a teratoma or a foetus in fetu (a twin-in-a-twin) there is probably a scar where your twin was taken away. If this happened when you were very young, the scar may be a disturbing mystery if it is not properly explained.  Every time the scar is noticed, it will be a perpetual reminder to all concerned.

A dawning awareness

Even after the parents have told their child, naturally and gently, leaving them to process the information in their own way, the fact of the lost twin can remain a mysterious secret for many years, giving the child’s rich imagination full play.  The fantasies that arise sometimes include a sense
of somehow “being responsible” for the death of their twin.  Such thoughts have been described as: “Confused delusions about their supposed murderous foetal life.” Where some reassurance is not provided, these thoughts be disturbing for the womb twin survivor.

Even when a child has been told, the original memories can be lost for many years, surfacing in a disguised form in writing, art, dance or other creative activities.  These vague impressions from the time before birth may not be recognized as being based in a real memory until some moment of realisation occurs some time later.

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