Friday, September 09, 2011

The Alpha-Beta gap

After the in-depth consideration of MZ twins, I have adopted the concept of an "Alpha- Beta gap."
This is used to describe the difference between the person you know you could be and the person you are ; in other words, the difference between your authentic and your  in-authentic self.  The Womb twin hypothesis states that womb twin survivors constantly re-enact the life and death of their womb twins. To re-enact the life of your MZ womb twin, who is half of you and made of the same genetic material,  you also re-enact the difference between you. "The person you could be" is your whole Alpha self, but the "person you are" is someone diminished by the need to keep alive your Beta womb twin on your  life.  But that varies according to what actually happened.

For example, Stella says:
I am quite tall and well built, but often inside I feel very small, almost invisible.  When I feel like that, I can scarcely do anything, and I feel helpless and no good.
Stella has identified with her Beta womb twin and is living out the memory of a little, helpless Beta individual while at the same time being a naturally strong and capable Alpha individual.   The gap between what she knows she could be and what she is, is her "Alpha-Beta gap."

What is the size of your Alpha-Beta gap?

This series of diagrams may serve to illustrate this. I am experimenting with a diagram like this for the new book about healing for womb twin survivors, which I am currently writing.

The black line represents the size of the Alpha-Beta gap, which varies in size according to how much of the pregnancy the womb twin survivor spent in the womb after the death of the twin.

The blighted ovum:

Death  at 6 weeks:

Death in the second trimester

A stillborn twin

Notice that the gap is much less when the twins are together for all of the pregnancy.  A stillborn twin has a slightly different effect on the survivor from, say, a second trimester loss at about 14 weeks, because there was no part of the pregnancy spent alone. 

I have yet to explore all the intricacies of the Alpha-Beta gap, but I welcome your comments as to whether it is helpful to see diagrams like these, and if so, why.


  1. Dear Althea,

    am I right in understanding that the longer the twins stayed together the smaller is the difference between alpha and beta?


  2. That is the general idea. The more time you spend with your twin the less is the difference between your twin and you. They feel like "another version of you". Is that a helpful idea at all?

  3. I really think that makes sense...

  4. So, how does this affect an identical twin whose sister was born first and lived only 2 months then died of SIDS in the early 1970's? I'm new to this (I'm the 2nd born twin)and don't understand a lot.

  5. Its an idea that works mainly for womb twin survivors whose twin was lost before birth. The twin-less twins sites may have people with your same story. The feelings are much the same for both twin-less twins and womb twin survivors, there is not a whole lot of difference.