Lost Twin Syndrome: surviving on your own

Lost Twin Syndrome: surviving on your own

Today, October 5th, we remember the day we had to give back the twin sister of our oldest daughter to the Universe. Even though this happened 15 years ago, we still remember her every single year on this day. It’s a special day for our family, one to remember, mourn, celebrate and be grateful about. But we didn’t always do this. The first few years, we didn’t think it was ok to openly remember her, so we didn’t. But when Troia grew older, Lost Twin Syndrome came knocking on her door… it was time to truly embrace Maya* as a part of our family.

October 5th, 2004

We lost a twin

We will never forget that day. After my husband came home from work, we started to rewind for the evening. Or at least, that was the plan. We were 8 weeks pregnant by that time, so not thát far along. When I started bleeding heavily that evening, we both thought that we lost the baby. The energy hanging around us was one of loss and despair. I knew I lost my baby, I felt her soul leaving my body.

In the hospital, they prepared us for an ultrasound. But as soon as we the machine touched my belly, we could here a strong, beautiful heartbeat. Pfew, our baby was still there! It was “just” a bleeding. Relieve filled us, a big smile took hold of that moment. We still had our baby! She was still there!

The days after, we were filled with different feelings, all tangled together. What happened? We were so sure that we lost our baby. We felt her energy leaving me. And there were huge blood cloths. There’s no way that it was “just a bleeding”. But we still had our baby. Did we lost a twin?

Talking to our gynaecologist two weeks later, confirmed what we already thought. Yes, there was a big chance that we lost a twin baby. All signs were there. We would never know for sure, but the entire picture was right. We could just feel it.

First Lost Twin Symptoms

Feeling all alone

When Troia was 9 years old, things went downhill with her. She felt like she was always alone, even with friends and family around; her perfectionism got worse; she also felt like something was missing, she couldn’t explain it, but it was a huge burden to carry around for her. She cried a lot during that time and was buried under a lot of unexplainable feelings, probably triggered by the hormones of prepuberty.

We were already familiar with Lost Twin Syndrome, something a lot of surviving twins go through. Recognizing the signs wasn’t the hard part. But how do you deal with something like that? And how do you help a 9 years old child with all of this?

What is Lost Twin Syndrome?

Many pregnancy’s start out being a twin pregnancy. But mostly one of the baby’s don’t survive the first few weeks. The twin dies. Sometimes the mother has an unexplainable bleeding, releasing the twin in the process. Other times, the mother doesn’t bleed and the tissue of the twin gets absorbed by the living child. This experience brings some psychological consequences to the surviving child, which we call Lost Twin Syndrome.

What is Lost Twin Syndrome?

The physical part of Lost Twin Syndrome was discovered and accepted in mainstream society in the 80’s. But until today, most psychiatrists still don’t know what to do with the mental consequences that Lost Twin Syndrome brings. Luckily, there’s a lot of awareness now, so people don’t have to go through it alone.

Symptoms of Lost Twin Syndrome

Lost Twin Syndrome comes with these symptoms:

– Feeling alone. Even when a room is filled with people, you can feel like you’re completely alone, all the time, anywhere.
– A gnawing feeling that there’s something missing in your life. You mostly can’t explain what exactly you’re feeling, but you feel deep down that your life isn’t complete.
– Feeling guilty. Someone with Lost Twin Syndrome often feels guilty. You don’t always know what you feel guilty about, but you feel guilty non the less.
– Longing for something unexplainable. Surviving twins can long for their sibling, without understanding what exactly they are longing for.
– Not good in saying goodbye. A Surviving Twin has already said goodbye in the most traumatising way. Saying goodbye in the rest of their lives is most often problematic.
– Perfectionist! Surviving twins are often very perfectionistic.
– Empaths. A lot of people with Lost Twin Syndrome are empaths as well.
– Always searching for their soulmate.
– They don’t always feel understood. They probably don’t even understand themselves.
– Emotion Bomb. Surviving twins have their emotions everywhere. They can feel low one moment and ecstatic the next. Sometimes it’s the opposite, when they have learned themselves how to close off from their feelings.
– …

There are probably a lot more symptoms as well, but these are the common ones.

How to deal with Lost Twin Syndrome

Surviving Twins almost always need someone who understand them and who they can talk to. Talking is a huge part of healing.

Something that helped with our daughter, was to accept her twin sister into our lives. She was once real, so she can be a part of us. She gave her sister a name and we decided to celebrate and remember her every year on the day we lost her. This seemed to help for her, but every surviving twin is of course different.

What we did this year for Maya*’s remembering day

Today, we choose to go to one of the most beautiful pieces of nature we have ever seen and went for a walk, climbed some rocks and went to play on and over the river. It was amazing. Just our family, secret spots where no people were and just enjoying life outside, together.

This year, I also asked a friend to make some “lost baby”-pictures for us. Have you seen that kind of pictures before? Family pictures, with the living kids all dressed up and then next to everyone the shadows of the children that are missing? Well… something like that. I had Troia model for a few pictures and then secretly sent them to my friend who created some pictures of her and Maya*.

Every time I stare at them, I go weak and my eyes fill themselves with tears. They’re beautiful.


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