Thursday, March 24, 2011

The message:(3) Telling the children

Two weeks ago, we launched the Womb Twin Kids project ( see my blog post of that day).

There are three reasons for this project, and they are all about passing on the Womb Twin message to the people who matter  - the womb twin survivors themselves.

Children have a right to know
The fact that one is a womb twin survivor is a very important piece of  personal information. This should not be withheld permanently.
Research carried out by Carolyn Dawn, PhD, at the Santa Barbara Institute in California, with 52 adult womb twin survivors, revealed the anger and distress caused by not being told by their parents.

(Ref: The surviving twin: psychological, emotional, and spiritual impacts of having experienced a death before or at birth. Chapter in Untwinned: perspectives on the death of a twin before birth. (Download an extract here)

As a direct result of this research, and after meeting twins who were told early in life, it is clear how much less distressed they are than people who were told about their twin as adults.    I consider it good practice for parents to make the facts of a lost twin available to the survivor as early as possible, in whatever way seems most suitable.  Most of the many hundreds of womb twin survivors I have come across agree with this - do you?  Feel free to comment either on this blog or by using the contact form.

Parents have a right to remain silent on the subject
Some parents carefully preserve their right to remain silent.  There are many reasons for this, such as the loss of a twin being part of a terribly traumatic  pregnancy and birth, or a sense of personal failure - not to have been able to keep both babies alive.  This blog post is not intended to put pressure on parents who would find it too distressing to speak about, but this information must not be lost for ever.  If you are a parent of a womb twin survivor and you feel you would rather not talk about it then, for the sake of your child do please write it all down and put it into safe keeping, perhaps along with your will, so that after you have died, your child can know.

The Womb Twin Kids Project is designed to help parents to discover ways of speaking to their child about their twin. We can show parents that speaking about it need not be distressing, but can be a playful celebration of something special and rather wonderful, in many ways.

Most womb twin survivors are already aware of their twin
I read a blog yesterday about a surviving twin who was haunted by her twin. It makes  fascinating reading, for this girl had not been told of her twin.  She always had a sense of something missing and had an imaginary friend called Sarah, whom she saw one night, in her bedroom, when she was 19.

A few months before I saw Sarah in my bedroom, my brother told me I had experienced "Vanishing twin syndrome" I didn't want to believe him but I really do and thought so before he told me even.


Even when children are told, they are  often not surprised. They may be confused, or a little doubtful, and may suddenly feel a surge of grief, but this is not a bad thing.  Knowing is the first step on the healing path.

(We will be walking the Healing Path together on this blog in April. More here)

Do you want to help with the Womb Twin project for parents and children?  Find out how.



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