The term vanishing twin is used when one of the fetuses in a multigestation pregnancy dies in utero and is either miscarried, reabsorbed into the uterine lining of the mother or into the living twin. It is as if nature sacrifices one so that the other can survive.
It is estimated that 10 – 15% of pregnancies have a vanished twin and nowadays that rate is higher due to increase in fertility treatments, such as IVF. However, because the loss of the twin can occur before the first ultrasound, parents and doctors might never consciously know that this happened.
The bond between twins is even stronger than the bond between mother and child and the loss of a twin is deeply felt by the one that survives, who experiences the death of the one they are closest to before they are born.
Here are some characteristics that could point at having a vanishing twin:
If you resonate with many of these, there is a possibility that you may have had a twin when you were in your mom’s womb. A family constellation could help you to see if this may have been your case and, if so, to give a place in your heart to your twin so that you yourself can take your own place in your family and therefore in the outside world.
““Our heart is the first organ that develops in our mother’s womb and it never forgets the twin with whom it shared its first beats.”
~ Marina Toledo
Join us for the next Family Constellations Online Workshops: Ready for a Shift, where we set up constellations on any issue that arises.
In my next thematic workshop, The Light of the Moon we will be focusing on healing the bond with our mother and our female lineage to open ourselves to the wisdom and joy of the feminine. Join us on May 22 and 23, 2021 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm EST.
Also, the Family Constellations training module The Couple Relationship and Parenting starts on May 27, 2021 and lasts 5 consecutive Thursdays, 11:00 – 2:00 pm EST.
44 years old, I am a vanishing twin survivor confirmed my dad beat her out and since then have had numerous NDE. I have known since birth I was missing something. I also know that my shine reflected on the people around me and will bring thier bad or good out. I have an ever present force around me that i am unable to protect myself from but seems to make the people around me better. I was result of violence in a marriage and fathers hate for his own insecurities my life has been a constant barrage of pain. I know I’m living with 2 souls in one body and that universe doesn’t like that, thats unfortunate for the universe because I don’t care. Love you all
I am a vanishing twin survivor, I am 53 and knew of my twin from my tenth birthday, because I asked my mother, where was David? I think I broke not just my mothers heart but also my love of any celebration as well. I Dread Christmas as this is my darkest time of year, each year, Can I survive once more, or is this the last one? I guess I will just have to wait and see.
I have a question as I’m a bit confused about my situation in particular and I don’t know how to go around it to start healing:
I’ve done a session with a therapist who strongly believed I have the vanishing twin syndrome, as I have many of the characteristics.
When talking to my mom, she says she’s 100% sure I’m not a twin but that, however, her best friend was pregnant as the same time as she was with me. This is a person who’s so close to our family I always called her auntie (she passed away a few years ago).
My auntie’s baby passed away at 3 months old. My mom was still pregnant with me at the time, about to give birth.
She didn’t go to the baby’s funeral for feelings of guilt that her baby is still alive in her womb.
I’ve always been told about this baby and how we would have been same age and how we would have played with each other.
My auntie went on to have another baby 1.5 years later, a girl, who I then shared my childhood with.
Could I have vanishing twin syndrome over someone who wasn’t actually my twin?
Has anyone come across a similar case?
I haven’t done family constellations myself, just had a session with a therapist that has knowledge in the subject.
I am a surviving vanishing twin. Was discovered at age 30 when after years of suffering of pain in left shoulder, had two cervical ribs removed..They were extra ribs and l still have more on my right shoulder but they don’t bother me..Also have a whole set of upper teeth and two fused tailbone. Always have felt s
Thank you, Anamaria! Yes, it sounds like your twin was physically absorbed in you.
Do you know what she might be called?
I am 68 years old. I always felt like I had a twin who died, When I was 10 I even started telling people that I had a twin brother who died at birth. My mom was surprised when someone asked her about it – not sad or angry, just surprised. She found it to be humorous.
If I had a twin who died at birth, I never understood how so many people could’ve kept it a secret all these years. I am my mother’s 1st child. She was young, happily married, and healthy when pregnant with me. To me it didn’t make sense that I weighed just a little over 4 lbs at birth. My mom was always adamant that I was not a preemie, but was a full term, 9 month baby. My 5 siblings were 7 to 10 lbs .(all 6 of us are my mom and dad’s biological kids) The article on vanishing twins was quite an eye opener. And It made so much sense because it explained how I could feel that I was a twin and yet nobody seemed to know about it. It also explains my low birth weight. When I was born my parents were told to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. They truly did not know if I would live. I had lung problems & stayed in the hospital for a month after being born. Dr’s notes are no help. They only documented when I was fed and had a diaper change.
I came here by searching on line.
I am 62 and in 1980 when pregnant I ended up in hospital bleeding after being punched in stomach by my husband. Back then, we had no ultrasounds in Europe and director of gynecology was taking care of me. I spent 2 months in hospital At first, I was told I carry twins by the looks of it. But two weeks after I was told the pregnancy is not progressing right. Was put on meds, got cerclage.
The rest of the pregnancy went fine and when my son was born, I heard the nurse saying “look, there is additional placenta”!
Was told not to worry, having healthy baby boy. My son was incredibly smart, extremely well behaved, above and beyond his age. Very eager to learn. He started having mental problems in his late teens.
He took his life at 22. He would be 42.
I always wondered if somehow he could know about his twin that vanished before birth..
After reading here, I am almost 100 % sure that somehow he knew.
It is heartbreaking not knowing what my son went through in his mind till he had to end it.
I thing there were other reasons and triggers but could the vanishing twin affect him so bad?
Reading about twins is fascinating and, happy and sad.
I wish all that experienced any part of it the best.
Thank you for sharing your experience and my condolences for your deep loss.
There are probably various unconscious dynamics that could have contributed to what happened to your son.
In relation to vanishing twins, I can share with you from my experience facilitating constellations that even though the living twin may not know consciously that there was another one, the soul does know. In your case, since there was another placenta, that is very telling.
I don’t fully understand this
I know that my mother had an abortion some years before I was born.
Then my “line” within the sibilings would not be being the oldest one but the one in the middle.
How is it going to afect my life to identify myself as the middle child instead of the oldest?
I dont see how that is so important. I am asking with respect , not to critizise.
Also I feel that would be harsh for my mother who has been a very loving mother and just did that in the past because of fear.
Acording to many masters, I may be the exact same soul who was about to come in the pregnancy that she stoped
Because many times if a pregnancy fails due to miscarriage or abortion, that soul who didnt encarnate yet comes later throught the same mother in a future pregnancy.
How can that be reconciled with this ” take your place in the line” theory?
It resonated alot I have every lone of those points
Thank you for sharing, Emma. The soul knows.
Thank you for your comment.
In Family Constellations we see that, at the soul, unconscious level, when we take our correct place in our family system, we have more strength in life. I would invite you to do a simple exercise and see if it resonates with you: place two pieces of paper on the floor. Step on the one to the right of the other and say (mindfully, consciously): “I am the first. Then take three pieces of paper and step onto the paper in the middle and say: “I am the second one and you are the oldest, dear brother or dear sister, and I see you now.” And see how it feels for you.
Hi – I am 53 years old and last week, through a therapy I’ve been doing called Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) I learned that I am a womb survivor and experienced the loss of my twin. This explains so much of my grief throughout my lifetime – a sadness that was always underlying everything from as long as I can remember. I have only just begun to process this but considering hypnotism, channeling, and will continue peeling the onion with my NET practitioner. Although sad, it is a relief to finally understand where this has come from. It hasn’t been easy – 30+ years of many different forms of therapy and coaching to get to it. The thought of meeting with other womb survivors is intriguing as I’m sure there are things to consider that others have already discovered.
Thank you for your share.
Yes, it is often a relief to bring to our awareness the origin of these unexplained emotions we have been carrying (such as grief).
It is very liberating and life enhancing to imaging speaking to the dead twin’s soul to acknowledge them and give them a place in one’s heart and to honour them by living our life. I congratulate you on the deep work that you are doing and wish you all the best!
Thought I would drop in and say hi as your story sounds a little like mine .
However It has never been confirmed that I was born a twin but I have always had an underlying sadness that has no logical explanation.
For over 18 years I have had constant challenge with needing to constantly clear my throat and I have wondered if unresolved grief is the underlying cause.? (Apparently in TCM the lungs store our grief )
When I was a young child I would wander the streets for hours alone and in my own world. Don’t recall feeling sad but I think it was my way of managing my feelings of unexplainable loneliness and the need to escape from realty.
Meanwhile at home my mother would be frantic with worry but when I eventually wandered home blissfully unaware of the panic I was causing my mother was so pleased that I was home that she just hugged me close ( Perhaps subconsciously I created that scenario to reap the benefits? ) So the next day I would do it all again !
I was obsessed with babies and would look for ‘stray’ babies. I remember very clearly nearly baby napping a baby from its pram one day.
I also remember standing outside the shop window of a baby shop staring for ages at a baby doll hoping if I stood there long enough they would give it to me.
I was doll crazy way past the age that little girls played with dolls and I remember taking my doll on a tram (much to my older sister’s disapproval)
I tried making pets out of caterpillars and frogs and didn’t quite understand why they ran away but finally at about age 5 or 6 I was the proud owner of two mice.
Still I wandered the streets looking for stray dogs ( my dogs have all been strays)
At school I was called ‘Cry baby’
because I think I cried every day. Always and still do feel like the odd one out and feel like something is missing Plus I have a strong sense of belonging but the challenge is where ?
Now I am 80 years old and still feel like a cry baby. Anything at all will start me crying.
I am still searching for another lost soul but console myself by calling out to the birds and talking to all the dogs I meet at the doggy beach
Still hoping to find a stray dog. (Or stray man) or even a cat would do. Lordie !
Probably my addiction to Internet dating is just another form of searching for the missing part of me ?
‘ Hopeful cry baby’ is my name.
To finish on a brighter note. Lately I have found that EFT really helps.
It’s exhausting trying to be cheerful while part of me is crying so let’s hope I have found a way to bring some relief to my perpetual sadness.
PS people often comment that I have a Cherry happy outgoing personality but little do they know the true me hidden behind my smile.
PS Two Healers believed I was supposed to be evolved as a twin and one time during Breath work I experienced the anguish of not wanting to leave my twin brother behind and travel alone down the birth canal. (But then I doubt myself and wonder if it was the power of suggestion? )
I’m 61 years old, and a survivor of the vanishing twin theory! I don’t know why it took me so long to investigate any further, but I’ve recently removed myself from an irrational society! I remember my mom talking to me about it when I was younger! Was born at an infamous osteopathic hospital in Ohio! I’ve spent a substantial amount of time recently researching osteopathic medicine and vanishing twin syndrome! Specifically the possible interactions of the two subjects! Any help that I can find here, would be greatly appreciated!
As far as the symptoms above…exactly!
Hi Steve, thank you for your share.
I invite you, if it resonates, to imagine that you are seeing your sibling in front of you in order to acknowledge them, give them a place in your heart and let them know that they belong, even if they left after a short time. Allow yourself to express freely whatever you have been feeling. When we do this soul movement, there is often a release and a sense of relief.
Wow! I do relate to a lot of these symptoms, especially these: (I never felt my parents and I were a complete family, it always felt like someone was missing when the three of us were together)
Feeling of loss
An unexplainable feeling of guilt (survival guilt)
Feeling somehow undeserving
Melancholy or grief that accompanies you in life
Constantly searching for something or someone (“soulmate”, spirituality, partners friends….) but nothing seems to be enough
Longing for close relationships, projecting that sibling in the role of a friend or partner and it being too much for the other (especially if they do not have a vanishing twin).
Feeling of not belonging
Feeling left out or left behind
Don’t like to celebrate birthdays (My mom says as a child I used to fall sick around every birthday and today too, somehow I end up not celebrating my birthday)
Struggle to love oneself/self esteem
I have a few questions:
1) What are the symptoms faced by parents of a vanishing twin? (My mother had a fibroid the size of a small football that had to be surgically removed along with her uterus when I was about 12-13 years old. It literally sucked out her blood and left her perennially anaemic for years. My father to faced massive challenges.)
2) Can the vanishing twin be reborn in the same family; either in the same or future generation? If yes, would they face any challenges? (Almost every generation of my family [grandfather’s, father’s and the generation next to me] has had twins, except my generation and one or both of these twins have either died young or been miscarried or have a genetic disease – as in the case of my nephew)
Thank you for your heartfelt comment.
It sounds like you resonate with a few of the usual symptoms of a vanishing twin survivor.
With regard to your questions, sometimes parents are consciously unaware that they lost a child and through a constellation it may reveal what is happening at the soul level, which may be quite different. There may be a deep sense of loss and sadness/emptiness that is unexplainable or even guilt as well. Each person and case is different.
The most important aspect, from the Family Constellation lens, is to acknowledge the unborn twin and give them a place in one’s heart and to honour them by living our life.
I recently turned 28 and always knew I had lost a twin, after grieving a pregnancy loss myself and going through the spiritual/physical experience of it myself. I started questioning how it might have been for my mother and if she gave my unborn twin the acknowledgement she/he deserved… I had been told little after in a astral reading that I have always had a strong connection with death since before I was born and in fact through that have the gift to feel things a lot stronger than other people, now I understand that our connection was always present.. also noticing I am a lot paler than both my parents almost dead like white.. and have dark circles under my eyes since I was a child. During my first pregnancy I was also told there were 2 sacs but ended up with one daughter. I am constantly connecting dots and finally understand so much about myself..
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Rose.
Thank you for this article. I believe I have this issue. I have yet to confirm with my mother but I was informed of this in a healing ritual where angels were called in and this is what they told me. That I had a twin in utero and I absorbed her when she died. This was many years ago and I did not really focus on it that much, it seemed kind of crazy at the time.
Now I’m doing shadow work, after all the years, and this suddenly came up again. I think the underlying feeling of unexplainable guilt I have is this. That I am alive and she’s not. I have most of the symptoms above. Except I don’t buy in pairs and I’m actually kind of intimidated by twins. Maybe it’s because it hurts without even realizing. I run a small animal sanctuary, and they way I found almost all of them was alone, abandoned and scared to death. I have a deep empathy for animals (and sometimes people) who are left behind, excluded, alone. I also have a very deep fear of abandonment and losing my loved ones.. As I’m writing these it got very intense emotionally. I’m still holding on to the guilt and feel like never doing enough good for the world. I thought the guilt came from a past life but I think it’s from this. I even know what her name was going to be. I have to forgive myself for this and let it go now.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Often times mothers are not aware that they might have been carrying twins when one of them is reabsorbed, since it may happen before there are any tests.
What you describe as guilt could very well be related to survivor guilt, which is often felt when one passes and the other survives.
Since you have a knowing of her name, I invite you, if it resonates with you, to prepare a beautiful surrounding, perhaps light a candle and imagine you are speaking to your sister’s soul. You could start with some soul sentences, for example: “Dear (Name), you are my sister and I see you now. We were together for sometime and then you died and I stayed and when the time came I came into this world without you. I have missed you so much, dear sister. Know that you will always have a very special place in my heart and in our family. I am aware that I have been carrying guilt, dear sister, because you did not make it and I did and from now I will think of you when I do things I love and honour you by living my life fully until it is my time to join you again.”
Thank you for this!! I truly believe that my daughter is a surviving vanishing twin after everything I have read and the symptoms I encountered more than 23 years ago, including hearing two heartbeats at my first appointment at 8 weeks and then one heartbeat the next visit. My daughter represents all of the symptoms you talk about in reference to being the survivor. She has been searching her entire life to feel “whole!” I hope she will now look toward grief counseling for healing. Yesterday a palm reader stated “oh you have 3 children, a single and a pair of twins.” I always suspected she was a twin, then after hearing that comment I got chills. I actually cried today over my loss of a child.
Yes, it is quite moving and mom’s have an innate knowing about this.
Yes, giving the twin a place in your hearts, figuring out your daughter’s proper order counting the one that left, and processing the emotions around this is very beneficial for you and. your daughter.
I wish you both well!
My concerned question is do vanishing twin get or grow spiritually as we do? Like are we on the same age even though they never set foot here?
I believe that in that realm time is probably different from our concept of time.
What I feel is that they are in the soul path they are meant to and we are in the one we are meant to and when we give them a place in our heart and process the emotions of their loss, we connect more with life while we are on this plane.
I’m a vanishing twin survivor. I have a feeling like my twin sister is the same aga as I am. That’s what I’m feeling.
Hope it helps
Thank you, Magda! Yes, often twins of ones that left feel that way.
I suspect that my son is a vanishing twin survivor.. I was 8 weeks and I had all the signs of a “threatened medical miscarriage/abortion” heavy bleeding, painful cramping and feeling nauseous from pain. Yet, when they finally did the ultrasound.. My one baby was fine. I wasn’t showing as much after that day too. My cervix was closed and yet I was having symptoms of miscarriage. When he was born his placenta was gray with a cluster of veins on the opposite side from his umbilical cord. I’ve suspected always he was a twin. Especially since his biological father has had another woman pregnant with twins too.(she unfortunately lost them).
Thank you for sharing your experience as mom of twins, even if one did not make it into birth.
I want to know more about vanishing twin cz I have been told I’m da 1 who survived
There is a lot of literature about it that you can find online.
In addition, if you are interested in working with the soul so acknowledge your twin and give him or her a place and work on the grief/survival guilt, you could always set up a family constellation.
Knowing what a vanishing twin is and learning how to see and integrate him has finally answered many lifelong questions and explained that feeling of loss that has been there all my life!
Now this deep knowledge is what will help my triplets who also lost their sibling while in the womb to integrate her and see her and rejoice her instead of taking her burden!
Knowledge is power, and family constellation knowledge is healing, integrating, truth and liberation!
Thank you so much Marina!
I honour you, Muna, and the deep work that you are doing. It is a pleasure to accompany you on this journey.
Many blessings to you and your entire family system!
Hmmm…how would you set up a constellation with a suspected vanishing twin? Place the twin and see if there is any resonance for the client? And if not, assume there was none?
Yes, that is a good start, and taking into account the other siblings too because it is very important that the person takes their place within the sibling line as well.