Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Survivor - A true story of a young womb twin survivor

The Survivor by Lynne Schulz    (read more here)    

This book tells the real story of a young womb twin survivor, and what effect the pre-birth loss of his twin sister had upon him. In her contribution to the 2007 anthology, "Untwinned: perspectives on the death of a twin before birth", Lynne Schulz explained what it is like to be the parent of a womb twin survivor, living in a disbelieving world.

The anthology
As the mother of a surviving twin I have experienced ridicule and disbelief from friends, family, child carers and school teachers whenever I have even mentioned that my eldest son is a surviving twin, and therefore different to singleton children. In an attempt to make the lives of other twin loss families a little easier, myself and a small dedicated team set out to try and educate those who came into contact with multiple loss families such as my own to be a little more empathetic towards our unique needs.

Twinship evokes an enormous amount of curiosity and interest throughout our society. The media are often guilty of turning the whole topic of multiple births into a circus second book, The Survivor, I look at how twinship is viewed in different ways. Interestingly enough, the whole concept of twinship continues to be shrouded in mystical, magical, even romantic notions. 

In explaining the differences between a singleton and multiple pregnancy, I want you to imagine that I am holding two apples. Each piece of fruit represents a pregnancy. The first apple is one complete unit, whilst the other has been sliced into two. Even though one apple has been divided into portions, it remains exactly like the first one, i.e. one whole, healthy apple. Now, if we take away one half of the divided piece of fruit, what do we have left ? We are left with part of an apple. It has not turned itself into a banana, or a grapefruit.It remains an apple.
When a baby dies in a twin pregnancy, it is like removing half of the apple. The picture now appears out of balance. It does not look quite right to the untrained eye. That is precisely how a surviving twin appears to the world – a slightly unbalanced picture. Something is missing and behavioural patterns and physical abilities may not be quite right. The child has not magically turned into a singleton
package – that child will always be a twin for the rest of their entire life.

Well said!!
Elizabeth Pector MD,  an expert on multiple birth, wrote this about The Survivor:

"In her second book on twin loss, Lynne Schulz skillfully weaves together poignant anecdotes and professional advice to guide parents in raising surviving multiples. Schulz fills a critically unmet need, as no existing books address in detail the challenge of nurturing survivors' emotional health while keeping the memories of equally desired siblings alive. She includes comments from bereaved parents and adult surviving multiples throughout the book. After reviewing parental grief, the author presents a thought-provoking survey of behaviours observed in young survivors. Strengths of this volume include creative advice for remembering the enduring relationship with deceased co-multiples, advocacy for survivors' special educational and social needs, and the oft-overlooked surviving triplets and higher-order multiples.

Recurring moments of sadness, inevitable when survivors reach major milestones, are viewed from the positive perspective of celebrating the survivor while understandably remembering those who are missing. A discussion of non-Western ideas of twinship illustrates the universal recognition of the uniqueness of multiples and the special attention sometimes paid to their death. Resources and recommendations for parents and professionals round out a well-researched book that is essential reading for parents of surviving multiples and professionals or educators who work with them. " - Beth Pector M.D


  1. I liked Lynne's comment about how the twin who has lost the other twin in utero will be a twin forever. I remember looking at my birth certificate and hating the fact that the block designating a single birth was checked. I never even liked the word "singleton". I knew something was wrong but I could never really explain why...but now I can.

  2. I'm glad, because knowing why you feel like that is the critical first step. There are 30 steps on the healing path and this is the first. Only 29 to go! Keep going now you have started: we are with you all the way!