Saturday, October 01, 2011

Multiples: a pair of identical twins who were once multiples

When we see  a pair of identical twins, what are we seeing? Are they truly the result of a single zygote splitting into two?  Or did that zygote split again once, creating triplets, or twice, creating quads?  Its a varied and confusing picture  when you start to think of additional splits. This image shows how triplets can be formed - 3 single zygotes, one single zygote and an MZ pair and a single zygote that splits twice.

When one zygote splits twice but two of the tiny embryos die, the resultant twin pair will share the same genes, as monozygotic twins all do, but they will both be womb twin survivors.

And then there is the question of the timing of the various splits - it's all crucial to the outcome......

If  all the embryos die but one, the sole survivor of a multiple pregnancy, what is that like?

One multiple survivor told me she was unsure who she was, and felt confused about her own true identity. She had been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder.  My immediate thought was that she was a multiple womb twin survivor. We are gradually unravelling the story, and we have found three others so far, two of them very faint and hardly existing at all, but one of them strong and very present in her life.

The womb twin hypothesis says that womb twin survivors spend their lives reenacting their Dream of the Womb.  Only when the Dream is fully understood can deep healing begin. The multiple womb twin survivor needs to find all the various little embryos and foetuses that peopled the womb, and make sense of the Dream as a real memory.  I know that many womb twin survivors have struggled for years, trying to find their way through their confused feelings,  and I have walked with them, equally puzzled.

However the truth comes clear eventually, even after a very long time. The vague prenatal memories do finally surface, the Dream settles into a reassuring reality and healing can begin.


  1. Reading this gave me some hope and encouragement. Firstly, reading that first the dream has to be understood before the healing can begin and secondly, that there are others as confused as me who are getting on on there way! Meaning that however confusing it is there is hope for me. I hold on to that.

  2. The thought of a very 'crowded' womb makes me feel comfortable and cozy, but in born life now I don't like crowds or to few space with too much people or even touches. How could that go together?