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Archive for the ‘Books for Surviving Co-Multiples’ Category

I have been supporting and writing resources for bereaved parents, grandparents and surviving multiples for over 32 years and a few thoughts come to mind for the latter, i.e. surviving co-multiples (SC). SC, even when they lose their co-multiple in utero, at birth, shortly thereafter or in early childhood, can grieve enormously for their special womb mate(s). Survivors who have had their co-multiple for years and decades before he or she dies, find it extremely hard to go from “We” to “I.” One man stopped shaving when his MZ twin died, because he could not bear looking in the mirror. It is not uncommon for a survivor to want to die, kill themselves, and join their co-multiple.
 
I have thought long and hard about to better prepare, if it is at all possible, the SC for when the time came when they must be alone. Of course there will be difficult days, unbearable grief, fear, loneliness, emptiness, feeling incomplete and so much more. But what if parents did better at the beginning of their multiples’ lives? By better, I mean teaching and encouraging their multiples to not only enjoy their multiple relationship but also be comfortable with being alone and separated from time to time from their co-multiple? Some ideas I have in mind are quite a few “DON’Ts”:
 
-DON’T give them rhyming names, or names which begin with the same letter as this presents them as a package;
-DON’T call them “the twins” or “the triplets” which also presents them as a group and there is no individuality in these labels, nor is their gender known;
-DON’T continually dress them alike. Once again, it presents them as a group and it can impossible to recognize the individual;
-DON’T always take them out only together. Split them up from time to time for errands, groceries, doctor appointments, sleep overs at grandparents and so much more. This helps them be apart, yet they can enjoy each other’s company upon their return. Parents also get one-on-one time;
-DON’T keep doing their hair alike. Let each individual personality shine through;
-DON’T insist they only sleep together or in the same room. Give them each their own space. Room in your house may be a challenge but there are ways to “divide” a room so that each area can reflect the personality of the occupant.
-DON’T insist they be in the same classroom because they are multiples. When possible, let them develop without them always being under their co-multiple’s eye.
-DON’T dress them alike each day for school. This is not only hard on teachers having to use their names and correctly tell them apart, but it is confusing for peers too. Not everyone appreciates your children dressed alike.
-DON’T insist that each be invited to the same parties. This can cause problems for any multiple not originally invited. Allow each to branch out, have their own friends and then do something special with the one not invited.
-DON’T force them to be in the same sports or after school activities. Allow each to shine on their own merits.  Yes it means you drive to only one place, but it also can negatively effect your multiples over the long run.
 
No studies have been put in place to see if any of these ideas would help support SC get through their loss experience later in life, but I wonder if it would be worth a try to see if encouraging and supporting individuality within our multiples would help over the long run. We CANNOT get caught up at the front end of our children’s lives with items that “make parents happy (such as dressing them alike all the time or giving them rhyming names),” when at the end of their lives they will need to face their permanent separation with no tools in their toolbox to cope. There is a good chance that we may not be around to help our survivor cope with the magnitude of their loss so it stands to reason that parents need to look at outfitting their multiples from birth for the time when they will eventually have to stand alone. Based on this, can we not consider some of the above, and maybe other DON’Ts as well, in order to ensure that our survivors have the best chance possible of not choosing the idea of killing themselves in order to be with their co-multiple???
 
For more in depth information on Survivors of Multiple Births, please see my Web Site at http://www.jumelle.ca
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Linda Leonard has created an amazing, comprehensive resource regarding multiple births in British Columbia, Canada 🇨🇦️ and beyond. This in depth brochure will be of interest to parents expecting twins or more, grandparents, healthcare professionals, researchers, grieving parents, and any one else with an interest in multiple births. Lots of information and resources re breastfeeding of multiples. I am so excited about this valuable brochure. Check it out here: https://nursing.ubc.ca/pdfs/twinstripletsandmore.pdf

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While there is a lot of literature available to support bereaved parents, there is less so for the survivors of multiple-birth and/or who lose their co-multiple later in life.  Multiples come into the world at the same time, but there is no guarantee they will leave it at the same time. What challenges do survivors face?  Below I have shared some of the existing books which I think are very supportive.  If I have missed any that you think should be added to this list, please let me know.

Twin Loss: A Book for Survivor Twins, by Raymond William Brandt.  Dr. Brandt lost his twin brother when they were 20 years old.  Dr. Brandt began the American organization, Twinless Twins, to support surviving co-multiples, parents, grandparents, healthcare professionals, bereavement counsellors and anyone else needing to learn about the unique twin relationship and the challenges when one dies.  Twinless Twins can be reached at http://www.twinlesstwins.org

The End of The Twins:  A Memoir of Losing a Brother, by Saul Diskin.  Saul lost his twin brother to cancer later in their lives.

Who Moved the Sun?:  A Twin Remembers, by Ron McKenzie.  Ron lost his twin brother, Don when they were 62 years old.

The Lone Twin: Understanding Twin Bereavement and Loss, by Joan Woodward.  Joan lost her twin sister when they were three years old.  In this book, Joan explores not only what her loss means to her, but after working in the multiple-birth field for several years and learning about multiples’ connections, Joan prepared this important and eye-opening book.  This is a must-read book for understanding and comprehension of what it means to lose a co-multiple at any point in life and what the survivor has to face moving on alone.

Living Without Your Twin, by Betty Jean Case.  Betty is a twin, had twin brothers and twin grandchildren.  In this book, Betty explores loss of a twin through death, suicide, murder, adoption and estrangement.  She discusses what it means to lose a twin, separation and reuniting and its challenges.

The Survivor, by Lynne Schulz.  Lynne’s first book was The Diary.  Lynne had boy/girl twins and her daughter, Meghan, did not survive.  Lynne addresses the challenges of raising a survivor of multiple-birth plus some of the challenges that parents can expect to have to face as their survivor navigates their lives without their womb-mate.  Lynne also discusses the challenges for her, as a parent, of loving and bringing up her son while knowing there should have been two children throughout the same journey.

 

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