When a twin dies before birth, the sole survivor needs help and understanding. Womb twin survivors are the sole survivors of a twin or multiple pregnancy. This group, 1 in 10 of the population, includes survivors of a stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion and a "vanishing twin" pregnancy. It is a story of a twin bond broken by death, leaving a lonely survivor.
The Womb Twin Kids project was launched in June 2011. Once it is fully launched, we will have regular events for parents and children and there will be a full set of resources for them.
There is a special web site ( still under development but getting there) with details of the available resources so far.
There will be four books in all, each for a different age group. The first is called "Two little birds."
This book has taken two years to create. I thought for a long time of some metaphor that would work for young children and provide a vehicle for that sense of something missing that womb twin survivors feel. Then I came up with the idea of two little birds who hatched out of the same egg, but only one of them was strong enough to fly.
I tried the story out on a few parents of womb twin survivors, who said that it was very sweet and sad but did not exactly describe the experience of their children. This seemed a bit dispiriting until someone told me that when it comes to writing a children's book, yes you need a good story but above all you need splendid, colourful illustrations.
So I contacted Rara Schlitt, a folk artist who I once met in Tennessee. She had illustrated several children's books already and had a raw, fresh naive style that suited this emotionally-changed material very well. Her intuition was superb and her commitment to the task absolute. She took classes in how to draw birds and flowers and rented a special studio. It took about 9 months to make the pictures and in May this year a large parcel arrived by FEDEX containing 13 beautiful and bright pictures. By the beginning of August I made the final payment and they were mine. I am the proud owner of 14 original oil paintings and I am very excited about that!
So using one of them, where the stronger bird supports the weaker in a first attempt at flight, I made a cover:
There will be many changes before this is exactly right, but we are on our way to getting this published.