June 30, 2010

The body contact with the Other

The womb is a non-verbal world; there are only emotions and body contact.

Besides being very symbiotic (twins feels intuitively what their siblings feels; they cannot avoid this perception) and spiritual, the twins intrauterine experience is very physical. The touch, the physical contact with his friend from the beginning of life is so familiar to him; it gives him safeness and comfort. At first both feel united as if they were One; they cannot understand the difference between each other... their bond is so close ...that intimacy is hard to describe.

Since its birth, and while growing, baby twins become aware of their body confines, they start to distinguish their body from the body of his brother or sister, and the two individuals become separated from each other. But even if life and distance separates them, the intensity of their bond of brotherly love remains, as well as its history of an initial connection of great intimacy. Here a woman describes the relationship with her sister in a beautiful testimony of such complicity. Another witness in the first person that speaks of longing for body contact including, is a girl who lost her twin as early as a teenager, see here.

And what about single born twins?
Also keeping alive the memory of the comfort in body contact with the Other, they have not had the chance to decode and integrate these feelings in childhood (see here a poignant example) they do not know where these impulses come from ...
The prenatal experience influences the present life to the level of social relationships, professional life and certainly also of sexual life. The deep loving relationship between twins has nothing sexual, however, in life outside the womb, the sexual relationship is one of the ways to recriate this level of closeness between two human beings. For survivors of a twin pregnancy the choice of his sexual partner may be imbued with the attempt to rescue this remote experience, that is, as distant as it is, still present - the unity with the Other. Homosexuality and bisexuality may appear as a possibility to express the inner body wisdom and reenact the body closeness with his same sex twin, or his triplets of both sexes.

This is the hypothesis: can the traumatic loss of a twin embryo, in the first weeks of pregnancy, influence the survivor's sexual choices and orientation, leading him to make a bond with the person that can satisfy his need to recreate the kind of intimacy that his body remembers from the time when he was just a small embryo?

June 28, 2010

Vanished twins and other stories: the APPAH conference 2010

There will be a full list of speakers at  the APPAH conference ( see web site) including Brent  Babcock and me!

The 4-day event will be held at the gorgeous Asilomar Conference Grounds on November 11-14, 2010. Asilomar is northern California’s "Refuge by the Sea" making it an ideal location for attendees, as they come together to be in community with one another. The theme of the conference this year is, Embracing the Science of Prenatal and Birth Psychology: What We Know and How We Know It. That is, the congress is emphasizing the importance of research in our leading edge field.



June 22, 2010

Part of the Richness of this blog

comes from the variety of countries represented here & also the types of post.  Looking back we'll see posts of a more personal nature where womb twin survivors share parts of their own experience.  This post is going to be more about Womb Twin Ireland & what's happening with us.  It is, of course, made up of & for people who all have their own womb twin story.

The time has come, just like it has for the French Football team, to it have some fresh blood, ideas & inspiration.  The postings on the Irish blog have been from the same person for so long that just people reading it may wish for a different style, tone or feel to the posts.  So there's a great opportunity for someone with a good understanding of Ireland & their people & who's lost a womb twin to look outside their own pain; loneliness & confusion & despite the blackness they may experience to make a difference to other womb twins in Ireland.

No experience is needed, just a willingess to post regularly on the Womb Twin Ireland blog  (weekly at least) and/or to liaise with womb twin survivors in Ireland and Althea. And yes, that person will receive support from us to get you going if you want it. So let us know if you're interested.

To give you an idea of Womb Twins in Ireland that we know of,  there are around 20 around Mullingar, some on the West & obviously a good few around Dublin - (not to mention the 10's of thousands that are "in hiding.")  There's even been talk about Womb Twin Ireland hosting a future conference.... so why not get involved?

June 17, 2010

Womb Twin Survivors Canada

I am so pleased to join Womb Twin Survivors from around the world. A little bit on my story.I was born, 6 weeks premature in 1966. Growing up, I was told I was smaller than a pound of butter. However, the fact that I had a twin that died 5 months ingestation was kept from me . It was a huge family secret hushed when I walked in the room. For my whole childhood, I knew different. I knew I was different, there was something that set me apart from everyone else. I knew that someone was missing. I always felt incomplete, and that is one thing that has not changed in my life. I still feel incomplete. The only difference now, is that I understand why I feel that way. I was the other half of the whole that survived. I LIVED, MICHAEL DIDN'T! I would change places with Michael if I could. Don't get me wrong, I have a blessed life . I want to live, I have faced alot of adversity to get where I am now. I am a 23 yr. cancer survivor of stage 3b metastatic Hodgekin's Disease. I did die during the cancer battle and came back! The Doctors said I would not have kids due to all the treatment. I have not one but two beautiful daughters. In spite of all the odds, I'm still here to tell the tale. I should be on top of the world...
But, I feel sometimes, I don't deserve it. Even knowing all I have been through in this life, I still , deep down feel I should not be here.
I feel guilty for being the one who lived. This world somehow isn't right because my brother, Michael did not live. The other half of my whole isn't here, with me. Where he is supposed to be.
So I guess, I must do all I can, to make it through the dark days. To some how make my life count, plus two. Somehow to honour my brother and have him live on through all I do. It's a tall order, but with a little help, I'm up for the task. Until then, it's one foot in front of the other...that's how we get where we're going. One day at a time...Live in peace and peace will live in you...

June 16, 2010

Switched BEFORE Birth

Being a womb twin survivor, I had grown accustomed to the term “slipping into a black hole” and to the idea of switching alpha/beta roles with one’s vanished twin – these concepts and behaviors were just as ordinary to me as blinking.

Then….something quite startling happened, to shake this up and make me realize its true meaning beyond my previous level of comprehension. I would like to share it, in case it is helpful to others to know about this subtle distinction which turned out to be hugely powerful in understanding my story.

It was during an NET session (neuro emotional technique), I was re-experiencing my gestational reality from conception to birth. Like other womb twins, I was finding this modality to be a helpful tool for accessing and releasing womb memories & emotions, but I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced during the 5th month in utero.

(note: my twin & I were born premature at 6 months, she died the next day)

My twin & I made a pact – she would go and I would stay. She would wait long enough for me to be healthy enough to survive, which turned out to be one more month - at which point she asphyxiated on her cord and went into distress causing our birth and then I never saw her again. We did say goodbye, which was incredibly comforting to know. But there in the 5th month when we were making our little agreement, I actually felt myself switch roles with her!
In this NET session, I fully recalled myself switching places (as twins do) with my twin in the womb – as if I got up, went over to her side, stepped into her body, zipped up my Jennifer suit and became her, the beta, at that point.

My journal entry after the session reads:
5 months in utero = paralyzed will, blocked. Breakthrough: I thought I suffered from low or no self esteem but I realized that I have plenty of self esteem. I thought I didn’t because I switched roles with her out of survivor guilt! I knew she wouldn’t stay so I became her so as not to lose her. I went Beta!

It was amazing to re-witness myself doing this because it speaks to two things:

1) the power of survivor guilt is so strong, that even a defenseless unborn baby knows how to defend itself from it.

2) slipping into the beta space isn’t just a temporary thing for me like I thought, it is every thing to me. I’ve been there my whole life, living her weakened beta state so that I wouldn’t have to feel survival or guilt. I bypassed it from day zero!

So if I have lived a black hole beta life all this time, my momentary lapses downward must have been a “blacker hole” – no wonder it felt so horrendous!

Further, this realization brought a deeper understanding about my clutter. I realized that in becoming her in the womb – there still remained a body next to me (my real body which was one pound bigger than her body) to take the place of the emptiness which would eventually represent my lost twin (surprising that I could anticipate that and recall all this from my body memory at 5 months gestation, not from my current mind. I could feel the difference!) Because I was already traumatized by her impending death, even though we agreed to it and she was still there alive, the dynamic had already been activated – I would be the little helpless beta surrounded by the placebo-like comfort of a bigger twin who wouldn’t disappear. This was my comfort zone and this is still being played out today in the form of clutter.

For example: A few weeks ago, my son left our home for an extended stay with his Dad. Ever since he left, these womb dynamics have played out exactly - I barely exist/function there (beta), don’t cook for myself (if I’m her, I have to be one pound lighter), fill up the empty space with clutter so there are signs of life, shrink down intimidated by the clutter that becomes bigger than me. It always seems so huge in my mind but when I finally get down to tackling it, it only takes 10 minutes to clean up. I build this ‘bigger than me’ thing in my head, and now I know why.

This also explains why it's hard for me to delegate, I have to do everything for everybody because that's what I did for my twin - I became her and did everything "as" her because she couldn't do it herself from that body. No wonder upper management is so difficult for me and I've sabotaged career success to stay the small underling who perfers to be mighty behind the scenes!

I am currently learning just how much of my life I have lived through my twin’s beta lens, while I learn to own MY self esteem and build on it so that I can fully step into my power. Who knew I was operating from my twin’s lack of self esteem all this time and how reassuring that I have my own. Now I have to learn how to use it and stay in it.

Alphaville here I come!

June 14, 2010

What is Defeat?

What is defeat and when do we experience it? Defeat is not merely making a mistake. Defeat occurs when, in the midst of a difficult task, we give up on ourselves. 

The contrary of that is success. We succeed when we win with the battle of ourselves.

When we persist in the pursuit of our dreams, no matter the obstacles, we are winners in life, for we have won over our weakness.

The other day, a young man came to visit, to ask help in accomplishing his goal. He has a novel in first draft and looked for guidance. He said, "I'm afraid to keep going with this, trying to get published, because I fear I will fail."

My reply to him was, "You won't fail, because you won't let yourself. You pick yourself up and keep working at it until you accomplish your goal. That's the only way you will ever be successful." Before he left, I connected him with a critique group and off he went. He will be successful, because he won't let hurdles stop him.

How about you? How do you handle rejection or the fear of defeat? What works for you that helps you accomplish you goals?

Hoarding survey in USA - is it in the genes?

Are you a Hoarder? Lots of womb twin survivors are-

Help out with research here:


Please note that this is an opportunity to participate in research for compensation and not a job posting.
We are looking for people to participate in a research study sponsored by the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH.

The study will create a DNA collection from over 2,000 people to permit scientists to search for hoarding-related genes. Identifying genes that contribute to hoarding may lead to the development of better treatments for hoarding.

• You are between the ages of 18 and 60.
• You have been told by a doctor or other health professional that you have hoarding behaviors.
• You have two close biological relatives (parents or siblings) who might also be interested in helping with the study

• You will be interviewed about your personal and family mental health history. Interviews can be completed over the phone.
• You and your relatives will be asked to give a blood sample for DNA. This can be done in your home.
• Confidentiality is protected for you and your relatives.
• Compensation is $75 for a 2-3 hour interview and a blood draw

June 11, 2010

The grief of a parent of a "vanishing twin"

See the twin - twin relationship depicted in dance; witness the grief of a parent whose son is a vanishing twin survivor; watch this dry- eyed, if you can!

I wonder if they will win?

June 05, 2010

New initiative in the UK

We  want to build a strong UK womb twin community of members, associates and others, and so we are going to hold some events, workshops, gatherings etc.  We also now have a special UK news bulletin so you can be kept up to date with what is going on.

To see the latest ( Eg. a lunch with Althea in London Sat July 24th - coming?) and sign up for the bulletin, visit this page on the WombTwin website. 

June 01, 2010

International Children's Day

Today is a special day for the portuguese children, so here goes a special hello to all the womb twin children in the world. Let's help them by spreading the word about how womb twins feel, especially among parents and teachers!

Olá meninos gémeos singulares de todo o mundo. Hoje é o dia Mundial da Criança e quero dar um miminho àqueles meninos que vivem com uma determinada tristeza no seu coração, que não conseguem identificar.
Sabendo como sentem os gémeos que sobrevivem à perda do seu irmão ou irmã no ventre materno, nós podemos ajudar esses meninos.
Vamos informar principalmente os pais e os professores de que existe esta possibilidade, para que eles próprios possam compreender o porquê das crianças sentirem aquilo que sentem.
É a partir desse conhecimento que a vivência da perda do irmão gémeo desaparecido pode ser integrada. Durante esse processo, que é um processo de luto e pode levar bastante tempo, os pais e cuidadores podem ajudar dando simplesmente um apoio presente e amoroso, disposto a ouvir e acolher tudo o que a criança tiver necessidade de dizer ou exprimir.
Estas crianças tiveram realmente uma vivência pré-natal especial: elas nasceram com uma experiência de perda do mais íntimo, mais próximo e mais entrelaçado (física-, emocional-, psicológica- e espiritualmente) de todos os relacionamentos humanos - o relacionamento gemelar.