Twinless Twin

Luca and her fraternal twin, Beau, were born severly premature. Both Luca and Beau were critically ill following their birth. Several weeks after entering this world, Beau passed away. Luca is now 3.

” Fascination with the twin bond has gripped cultures all over the world for millennia. Although only approximately 3% of the total general population are twins, those who are twins have imbued twin relationships with expectations of extreme closeness, magical understanding, private languages, individual’s fantasies of having another self.

Equal fascination with the severing of this mystically strong bond seems like a foregone conclusion. Yet, strangely, a paucity of research has been conducted to investigate how twins cope with the death of a co-twin.

Women with twin and triplet pregnancies are, in general, considered to be at high risk of losing one or more babies; 20%-50% losing a foetus within the first trimester, 4%-17% losing one in the second trimester.

Psychologists are divided as to the significance of twin loss immediately after birth, but the effects on a survivor whose twin died in childhood are profound. Several people in such a family have simultaneously been hit with the most stressful forms of loss experienced by humans. Parents have lost a child, a twin has lost a co-twin, and other children have lost a sibling. To compound the intensity of these losses, society often “forgets” the loss of a twin. For example, when parents lose an entire pregnancy of multiples, their grief is fully acknowledged in the community, but when one or more babies survive, they receive very little sympathy.

Because the babies are of the same age, many people seem to imagine that, in some peculiar way, one of them should be dispensable and the other a sufficient replacement. Yet each baby is, of course, a complete and precious being in itself. For most of her pregnancy the mother has been relating to both or all of her babies, however many there may be. And a death is a death, even if the lost baby be one of quads or more. People often point out that at least one child survived, a small consolation to bereft families.”

By Valerie L. Schwiebert; Twinless Twins Support Group