August 13, 2016
Today let us remember and give thanks to a great woman who dared to dream beyond the limits in order to carve out new territory for womb twin survivors to have a place to go for help and understanding, which the world is getting closer to embracing. She always said one day the world will get it and then it will be huge. We've gone from baby steps to toddler steps and continue to adapt the work to the needs of Womb Twins everywhere, no matter their age or womb story. We can help now, thanks to Althea.
Everyday she is very much alive in the Womb Twin realm and we couldn't be luckier to live in a time where she made this possible.
June 09, 2016
What physical challenges does a newborn Womb Twin Survivor face?
Because mind body & spirit are interconnected, separating out physical symptoms is difficult because they include deeply emotional/psychospiritual components. All symptoms are a direct result of the what happened in the womb for the survivor and each womb story is unique, so how the symptoms manifest depends on the experience. Details such as when the twin was lost, how it was lost, gender, zygosity, etc. shape the outcome. There are trends seen among womb twin survivors such as:
-Newborns can be in shock not only from the trauma of losing their twin but having to navigate birth solo and thus separate from the mother, when separation already means death. They may be unable to sleep or unable to wake up, they may cry incessantly and be clingier than other babies.
-Sometimes symptoms arise from the NICU depending on the length of time & experience there. The baby, in shock, loses critical attachment bonding with mother due to the often lengthy stay - which is an important "twin replacement" bond that would ease the transition into born life alone but instead, being cared for by various nurses reinforces separation anxiety which can stress the baby and have all kinds of physical repercussions.
-They need to feel a physical barrier in their proprioception to remind them of the good time with their twin (when space was tighter), rather than feel the vulnerability of open space such as when their twin died leaving them alone in it, which they feel guilty about taking up by themselves. The baby will smash it's body into the corner of the crib or cling tightly to another object. (google "The Rescuing Hug" videoclip)
-The baby may appear despondent with inward eyes due to their intense inner nature and hypersensitivity. They may delay speech to hold on to the non-verbal relationship imprint of their twin.
-They may exhibit anomalies such as dermoid cyst, chimerism, 3rd nipple, extra digits or teeth or other unusual markings/features. Ambidexterity. Skin sensitivity/Hypersensitivity.
-All kinds of eating issues show up, from mild to severe, usually originating from feeling guilty about getting more food and surviving. WTS often want to stay small and not be bigger than anyone, not grow, so they can be like their twin or they will show up the size of two or three people, eating for them all. Alternating between the two (as in yoyo dieters) is wonderful way to express duality which is their twin nature. (Not all WTS have these issues, it depends on what happened in the womb).
-As toddlers they may follow/stay in close proximity to caregivers in order to bond and make sure their "twin replacement" doesn't disappear.
-They may exhibit twin confusion by treating a favorite pillow or blanket like a person and go into panic if the object is lost. (buy two of a favorite thing so you have a replacement to avoid this).
-They may have a different sense of boundaries and safety - both personally and interpersonally (usually lacking).
-They may express thoughts about death, dying, killing, etc. as a way to articulate the confusing, unspeakable death which they witnessed before birth.
What can you do to help a very young Womb Twin Survivor? Foster their brilliance while dialing down their triggers, this will help give them the energy to navigate the day and grow. Give them comfort and love. Pick and choose when to give in - they need alot of attention generally but proper boundaries shouldn't be compromised, they should be reinforced (WTS need to learn to navigate the world just like everyone else even though they are quite different). Disagreements, disapproval, separations of any kind are threatening to a WTS so be ready for an unusual amount of anger (too much or too little). Do your best not to judge, be consistent and authentic. Be patient when they flip flop from alpha to beta, they are often two people in one so it gets confusing! Awareness is key...and we can learn to bring out the best in our very special Womb Twin Survivors.
December 06, 2015
Holiday time is upon us...it can be a difficult time for those in grief, particularly Womb Twin Survivors who may feel sad or guilty celebrating without their twin or who feel different from their loved ones at times of "togetherness". It can be a busy time of comings and goings and symbolic representation, a reflective time and a depressing & disappointing time. So how can we get through another holiday successfully? What strategies might we use to get through the holidays, year to year and how does that change over time?
I spent many years in agony during this time because all in a row were big dates which were excruciatingly difficult yet I had to be "on" in a world that didn't understand:
Dec21- Womb Twin Day (reflection)
Dec22- My birthday (weird being celebrated without my born twin)
Dec23- My twin death date (she lived 24 hours)
Dec24&25- Christmas Eve & Christmas (rejoicing)
Dec31- New Years Eve & my son's birthday (renewal)
The balancing act between our inner and outer worlds, with all the triggers inherent in family gatherings, can be managed with a little care and foresight. The key is to not let your beta-sabotage take over your annual memory as a way to keep your twin alive. This is your holiday and you deserve to enjoy all the blessings of your life. You deserve to connect and share bonds of love with everyone dear to you, regardless of who is here or who is not. So here are some tips for staying in the alpha-present as you approach this tender time: -Take control & don't get overwhelmed. Say no if it doesn't feel right and own your decision. Don't feel guilty about anything - it's up to you how you spend your time, who you spend it with, what you eat or drink, where you travel or stay, how active or restful you choose to be. So be sure to say yes to all you need to create for who you are now. It's all up to you, after all it's your holiday and these are your born memories to create.
-Don't have any expectations because you are bound to be disappointed - someone will say the wrong thing, you will get the wrong gift, or any other mechanism will come up to prove that nobody else can ever be your twin. Don't go down this road!
-Channel Emotions in Separate Buckets: use Womb Twin Day Dec 21 to have your twin reflection/ritual time, or do something to celebrate the upcoming holidays privately with your twin first so that the twin part of yourself is acknowledged. Then you can face the holidays without feeling like something is missing. It's ok to acknowledge the part of you that is a twin, if it helps you feel balanced going into the holidays as an individual. Delineate both identities in yourself and create appropriate holiday rituals for each.
-Prepare an out so you can easily get a break from the overstimulation - of lights, colors, shiny textures, laughter, gluttony. Remember to have some down time, this is your time to relax after a year full of hypersensitivity and navigating emotional landscapes just to feel "normal".
-Affirm "this is my memory to have and it's ok" - enjoy yourself!
-Give yourself a symbolic twin gift. Wrap it and open it. You can be the Self who gives a gift to their Twin AND you can be the Twin who receives a gift from their Twin as well as a Self who receives a gift from their Twin. Feel all the ways of being and allow them to resonate. (I thought I was a Self giving a gift to my Self all these years until I realized it was a twin ritual.)
-Be present, that's the best gift of all. Don't disappear or feel invisible just to feel close to your twin. Your twin is where your twin needs to be and you are where you need to be. Now be here!! You just have to give yourself permission...
Happy Holidays to all the special Womb Twins of the World! May your holidays be happy and free, allowing you to shine!