Lawrence Wright’s article, Double Mystery published in the New Yorker, August 7, 1995 explained that one out of eighty or ninety live human births produces twins. With the advent of ultrasonography it has been determined that at least one-eighth of all natural pregnancies begin as twins. This is evident when the first ultrasound detects twins and the second one does not. So what happens to these twins? Often, one external sign of a vanishing twin is vaginal bleeding. Using emotional clearing, I often detect vanishing twins. It seems to be more common with people in “care-giving” fields. Here are some of the findings and similarities I have put together over the years with Vanishing Twin Syndrome patients: 

Typical Personality Characteristics of the Surviving Twin: 

  • Control Issues: The surviving twin often has control issues and it may be based on the premise that since they couldn’t control what happened in utero, they are doing everything in their power to do so now.
  • Survivor’s guilt: There is a lot of survivor’s guilt for taking the nutrition from the vanishing twin, not being able to help prevent the death of the twin and viewing this resorption process in utero. Once identifying this occurrence, the patient must go through the grieving process like in any death of someone that means a great deal to them. They experience loss, guilt, grief and anger at being separated from the twin. Sometimes the survivor does not care if they live or die and may occasionally have thoughts of suicide.
  • No competition: Survivors don’t usually like competitive sports unless they are competing against themselves. They subconsciously feel that if they compete with others, death may result. They want everyone to get along and work together.
  • Sabotaging relationships: Sabotaging happens when relationships start going too well.  The superconscious/subconscious thinking is that if they get close to someone that they will be in danger and might die from the actions of the surviving twin. Because they love this person so much, they will push them away to protect them. They also seem to self-sabotage to make sure they have paid for what their role was that caused their twin to depart in utero.
  • Not deserving: The survivor often feels they don’t deserve all the good this world has to offer so they find ways to exclude themselves from receiving good. They are major givers, but not very accepting takers.
  • Money issues: These are motivated people. Because they do such good in the world, often money follows. The problem is that Vanishing Twins don’t seem to be able to hold onto the money because they self-sabotage. Survivor’s guilt prevents them from using the money for their own care. They give it away or let it flow through their hands, not keeping any of it for themselves.
  • Fascination with or friends with twins: Twins have a special energetic bonding with each other which lasts their entire lives. Just because your twin left you in utero, doesn’t break that energetic bond. And if you don’t feel your twin still around you, naturally you will be attracted to twin energy.
  • Feeling abandoned, left out, and excluded: These are the kids who get picked last for the team, who don’t make friends easily and feel like other’s can’t relate to what they are going through. They are searching for close relationships but can’t seem to find them. Often they would rather spend time with older people than kids their own age.
  • Low self-esteem, lack of self-love: This is one of the major Spiritual lessons that the survivor must work through before they can fully be the gift to the world that God intends. Low self esteem is intertwined with Unconditional Love of Self, Trust and Discernment, and Worthiness lessons.  See handout on Spiritual Lessons for more on this.
  • Vanishing Twins are often in the Healing Field: Since they could not heal the situation in utero, they are intent on healing the world and saving others. There are lots of surviving twins who are massage therapists, doctors and nurses.
  • Vanishing Twins say or think, “I wish I could find somebody like me.”
  • Other Weird Stuff: I actually had one woman I was working on take out a picture from her wallet to show me who her vanishing twin was. She explained that she believed in reincarnation and that she somehow felt attached to this man. When I asked her if she had ever met the man she said she hadn’t, but that she felt compelled to cut his picture out and carry it around with her. At the time she had had the picture in her wallet for over two years.  

How much do you know about your gestation and birth? The following items are clues in determining if you have a vanishing twin: 

  • Trauma to the mother: Three to four months in utero is about the time the twin “checks out” and is being reabsorbed by the body. What are some causes? Some include getting hit in the stomach, car accidents, falling down a flight of stairs, emotional trauma, experiencing high fever from an illness, violent vomiting, etc.      
  • Did your mother smoke? Studies show that smoking lowers the oxygen content of the blood so less oxygen is available to the fetus. Smoking is also associated with low birth weights. So does that mean there is less available nutrition for two fetuses?
  • History of twins in the bloodlines: Are there twins in the family? If so, there is a greater chance of repeating that within the same family lines.
  • Long labor: Here’s how this works–when you have one baby ready to come out, the placenta (the sac that contains the fetus) and the pituitary gland produce a certain amount of a hormone called oxytocin (also called pitocin). The function of oxytocin is to cause muscular contractions to push the baby out. So, if there are two babies, then there is a proportionately larger amount of oxytocin. But, if one of the fetuses dies, there is not enough oxytocin to push out the extra residual placenta associated with the dead fetus, and the birthing process takes much longer. These days, a cesarean section is performed when the shutdown occurs to take the stress off the fetus.
  • No ultrasound background: If you were born before the 60’s, most likely your mom did not have an ultrasound so twins could easily be missed. An x-ray was only rarely taken because we didn’t want to expose the baby to radiation unnecessarily.
  • Giving birth in a hospital before the 70’s: There used to be a time when doctors only gave their patient the information they thought they needed to know at the time. If the mother had a difficult birth or there was extra placenta or a resorbed fetal membranes, the doctor gave these to the nurse who disposed of them and did not tell the mother about it. I think midwives were a little more open to this miracle and included mothers in the information they gathered about their birthing and findings. Many midwives I’ve talked with have these placentas in their freezers and use them to educate other midwives about the process. Also, some midwives would save these extra placental tissues for the mother for a special burial ceremony later.
  • Many eggs released, few fertilized: A woman’s ovaries produce hundreds of thousands of eggs from the ovarian tissue over her reproductive lifetime. Only a few of these are released each month. It takes several million sperm to penetrate one egg and fertilize it. It seems as we get older that twins are more common.  Maybe it’s our body’s last ditch effort to procreate.
  • Imperfections or improper nutrients reaching both fetuses: It would make sense that not every egg is perfect and not every sperm is perfect. When the imperfection is too great, problems can occur in regards to the available nutrition for one or both of the babies. When this happens, the fetus starves and is then resorbed back into the body. The remaining fetus then has enough nutrition to grow to full-term. 
  • Do you have any dermoid cysts? This is a little tumor made of every conceivable type of cell from skin cells, hair cells, tooth cells and more. Evidence of a resorbed fetus or a vanishing twin? I think so. 

Life Lessons associated with the Vanishing Twin Syndrome:  

These are the typical issues that the surviving twin must work through to live a full, happy, and productive life.  Although many other people without twins also have to work through these issues, I see these lessons every time with those who have a vanishing twin. 

  • I love and accept myself unconditionally.
  • I am important and a gift to our world.
  • I deserve all the good this world has to offer.
  • I am worthy.
  • I forgive myself.
  • I forgive God/Jesus/My Higher Power.
  • God loves me.  

If you relate to some of this information, you may have a vanishing twin. I would recommend the article: Life in the Womb: Dangers and Opportunities by David B Chamberlain, Ph.D. 

Dr. Chamberlain does lots of research on this topic. Interesting stuff. You may order this article direct from Chamberlain Communications 909 Hayes Ave. San Diego, CA 92103. His phone number is (619) 296-7535.