Friday, May 18, 2012

Talking about your lost twin - a teratoma!

This is a clip from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

If you once had a teratoma or a dermoid cyst,  it was your twin, but it's probable that no one, not even the doctors, told you that.

How to mention it? Not at a wedding, perhaps!

Maybe the simplest thing is to say, "I am a womb twin survivor."  It is very hard to know how to speak about your twin.  No one else wants to talk about it either......

I might say to a friend, who has surely known what I have been writing about these last five years, that my book is almost finished, or just started or whatever: she then says: "And what book is that?"

A curious general resistance to this subject. It should be amazing and fascinating but  no - people just dont want to speak of it.

Is that your experience?


  1. not every teratoma is a vanished twin and not all "wombtwin survivors" consider themselves that and suffer in any way. It's more complicated as I'm sure you know

  2. Absolutely. There is not always a great deal of suffering involved in being a womb twin survivor. It does vary greatly, from being in suicidal despair at one extreme to experiencing mild fascination with the subject at the other.

    As to the exact nature of the teratoma, the medical literature suggests that it is a slightly less organised version of the fetus in fetu - an enclosed twin. The jury is still out on this one, and the dermoid cysts also. Lots more research for us all to do and new things to discover. Healthy scepticism is a great idea, but we must all keep an open mind about these issues if we are to provide the help that womb twin survivors need so much. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I absolutely also run into resistance in others to talk about it. But then for them to understand when they are not WTS is almost impossible. Someone once said: I don't believe you had a twin, you're just saying that to get attention... It needs to get out in the open, people need to hear about it all the time before they will open up to the possibility, let alone the consequences. Good luck with all the work.

  4. I find that here in SAfrica, the subject seems to virtually unspeakable and not much known about it, especially by the medical profession. Being told at the age of 20 that I was a WTS, my twin a foetus papyraceous, I found it difficult to believe, and I myself was then pregnant with twins! The realisation that the large cyst removed from my iliac crest was in fact a 'terratoma' was a shock. Now only a scar on x-rays. Through reading your books Althea am learning so much, now busy with "Untwinned". Trying to speak about it I too find resistance and "odd looks" as if I am talking about an alien occurrence, and still looking for some kind of support group here, but no luck.

  5. A fair proportion of my friends know it's likely I had a twin. In fact, they've been more willing to accept that than me. A lot of it must depend on how you word things, and of course, the openness of those you're speaking to