Womb Twin Core Principles
The following six statements reflect a consensus by longstanding advocates and experts in this field of experience and research. We work both in association with the Womb Twin movement as well as engaging in our own independent activity and research. We find that the work is often life changing.
The six Core Principles* are:
1. With the advent of ultrasound in the 1970s and its more widespread use in the 1980s and 90s in developed countries, it is now well-known that many pregnancies are twins or multiples, and yet (because such pregnancies are at a higher risk) most of these result in a single child being born.
2. This loss of a twin** in the womb can have a profound effect on the twin who survives (known as a Womb Twin or Womb Twin Survivor). If this effect is not attended to or understood, its impact can persist long into adult life affecting one’s relationships, wellbeing and sense of their place in the world. It can also have an effect across family generations.
3. It is estimated that between one-in-ten and one-in-eight*** pregnancies with a live birth gives rise to a Womb Twin - someone who lost their twin in utero. This represents an estimated world population of close to (possibly more than) a billion people whose experiences and needs have largely gone unrecognised.
4. When a twin dies in the womb, it leaves a deep imprint on the surviving twin sibling. Psychological, neuroscientific and physiological research and practice now have powerful tools and perspectives that can support understanding and healing in a sensitive, compassionate way.
5. At different points in the journey of understanding and healing, an adult womb twin often needs a safe and supportive space and may want different kinds of approach and help. In the Womb Twin community there is a variety of support available - from physical and physiological help to address somatic components of prenatal loss and its link to emotion and current state-of-mind, to psychological help that includes approaches ranging from counselling to working with grief. There are also support groups and forums to share experiences with others.
6. Supporting yourself to heal from any prenatal loss and trauma is always a gradual process, and there are many ways to go about it. Your journey is your own – there is no one-size-fits-all approach – and the Womb Twin community recognises and honors this diversity and uniqueness. That is why our work, learning and research continues, and a variety of tools can be shared that help people to thrive.
* A comment on Womb Twin related terminology:
This website focuses on the life of a surviving twin who has experienced Prenatal Twin Loss as well as providing information for therapists and parents/guardians of a surviving twin.
Various terms are used to describe aspects of death before birth – including the following: Vanishing Twin (VT), Lone Twin or Lone Twin Survivor, Alone-Born Twin, Sole Survivor, Early Twin Loss, Half Twin, and of course familiar terms such as Miscarriage, Abortion, Still Birth, ART/IVF, and others. This organisation uses the term invented by Althea Hayton, Womb Twin (WT) or Womb Twin Survivor (WTS).
** The term ‘twin’ is understood to include both twin pairs and multiples.
***Reference: [link to original article] Charles E. Boklage Ph.D (1995) Frequency and Survival Probability Of Natural Twin Conceptions. Chaper 4 in Keith, L.G., Papiernik, E., Keith, D.M. and Luke, B. (eds) (1995) Multiple Pregnancy: Epidemiology, Gestation and Perinatal Outcome. New York: Parthenon. The average twinning rate in the world is 1%.