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One and the Same: Book Review

I’ve read a lot of books about multiples, and this one I could not put down. It is one thing to raise multiples and address the unique challenges, joys and pleasures of doing same, but quite another to be a multiple. In her research, Pogrebin has not only drawn on her experiences and journey with her monozygotic sister, but interviewed a plethora of well-known experts in the field of multiples (many of them being multiples themselves) as well as speaking with many sets of multiples across the U.S.

One and the Same: My Life As An Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular, Abigail Pogrebin, Double Day, 2009, hardcover, 275 pages

In addition she attended the International Society of Twins Studies Conference in Belgium to gather more data and attended the annual Conference of Twins held in Twinsburg, Ohio. As most of us in-the-know are aware, this Conference is a melting pot for multiples from all over the world.

What follows is a riveting, entertaining, informative, insightful and educational journey which is MUST read not only for multiples themselves, but also for the parents who love them. Pogrebin presents the many nuances of being a multiple, some complicated, some simple, how multiples are “entangled” and how both parties will usually attempt to seek individuality within their multipleship and when (e.g. marriage). And some can’t see themselves apart, even for a moment. In addition, she explores the unique circumstances around when one dies and what that event can mean for the survivor.

I could not put this book down, really. For anyone involved with multiples in any form, this book is definitely the crème de la crème!

Lynda P. Haddon

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Womb Mates: Book Review

Any couple looking into infertility treatments to assist them in getting pregnant would benefit from reading Womb Mates before they begin their treatments. It thoroughly sets the stage for such families to understand the chances of them conceiving at least twins, how that might happen and the many possible ramifications.

Dr. Steinman describes, in easy to understand language, how twinning occurs (the controllable and uncontrollable factors) and explores such topics as the risks of a multiple-birth pregnancy for the mother and babies and the different types of infertility assistance. Important issues for prospective parents to consider.

Womb Mates: A Modern Guide to Fertility and Twinning, Gary D. Steinman and Christina Verni, 2007, Baffin Books Publishing, 121 pages, soft cover

Healthcare and related professionals, researchers as well as some parents could get a lot out of this book. In other words, this book is very technical. I don’t think that it would be as valuable to parents who desire to learn how to get their babies on the same schedule or how to deal with sleep deprivation, for example. For most parents looking for ideas and answers in handling their new families, this is not a book I would recommend.

Nevertheless, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone involved with teaching multiple-birth prenatal classes, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants and those wanting to better understand how to better meet the needs of their clientele.

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Emotionally Healthy Twins: Book Review

I am SO excited about this book! There, that’s off my chest. For anyone expecting or raising multiples, this book needs to be on their recommended reading list! There are several very good books which focus on the early (and intense) years of raising multiples. Friedman’s book addresses the early years’ challenges and explores the parenting scenario beyond, into the multiples’ young adult years and does so with insight and personal knowledge.

Emotionally Healthy Twins: A new philosophy for parenting two unique children, by Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D., 2008, Da Capo Press Books, soft cover, 245 pages.

As someone working with multiples and their families for over 2 decades, I was pleased to note that Friedman encourages parents to look beyond their multiples’ unique bond and to focus as well on what makes them individuals. Every child, even if they arrive more than one at a time, needs and deserves the chance to discover his or her unique potential, and have ample opportunities to nourish and develop their individualities. Parents set the tone in their multiples’ development and Friedman asks them to honestly evaluate their contribution to encouraging their twins to become self-sufficient. Friedman provides several examples of twins whom have flourished within their “twinship” but floundered or were impeded when they needed to separate from each other. Her messages are some that every parent raising multiples needs to hear.

Friedman is a twin herself and has twin sons and three singletons, so she has many support bases covered. This book is an important addition to the reading resources for anyone raising their multiples.

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It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence (Book Review)

From the first few weeks through to 17 years, Heim covers many of the bases parents could expect to face and she doesn’t shy away from the tough discussion such as when bottle feeding is best for you and your twins.

Two of my favorite chapters addressed the advantages and disadvantages of being twins when the kids have reached adolescence. Even if you haven’t reached that stage yet, here are some thoughts for you to prepare yourselves. Another nice touch is each section has Points to Ponder with writing space for the reader to address those topics which are pertinent to them.

Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence, Susan M. Heim, Hampton Road Publishing Co. Inc., 2007, ISBN 13: 978-1-57174-531-6, 306 Pages

I liked that this book addresses the whole spectrum of raising multiples and did not just focus on the early weeks, months and years. Birthday party planning is important as is encouraging them to play with others, but so is dominancy, disabilities, when they mature at different rates, college – together or separate? and my favorite certainly as expressed to me by other parents with monozygotic (identical) multiples, the Old “Switcheroo.”

I found this book uplifting, informative, thoughtful and I wasn’t beyond laughing out loud at some points from understanding and having “been there, done that.”

Lynda P. Haddon

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Twice the Love: Book Review

Twice the Love includes 82 stories from families with twins and more, and in some cases singletons as well. It is well worth the read. Pick it up and open it anywhere to enjoy entertaining stories, tales, joys, challenges, and adventures that belong to families with multiples.

twice the loveOr if you prefer, Heim has chosen to group the stories by subject, e.g. Becoming a Family, Trials and Triumphs, Mischievous Multiples (no kidding!). You are not alone in your journey and the bonding that goes on with other families with multiples in this delightful book proves it!

Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families … With Twins, Multiples and Singletons. Compiled and edited by Susan H. Heim, in collaboration with TWINS Magazine, 2007, ISBN 1-891846-31-0, 208 pages

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Who Moved The Sun? A Twin Remembers: Book Review

We know multiples are bonded in the womb and research has shown that they are aware of each other certainly by 18 weeks gestation. The bond they have with each other is well established before any bonding with their parents, which occurs after birth. Multiples have a unique relationship and are usually very in tune with each other, especially monozygotics (identicals).

While dizygotics (fraternals) are basically siblings born at the same time, they too have a special connection and it isn’t recommended that anyone interfere with that relationship either. Multiples arrive together but it is quite unlikely that they will depart this earth together. We need to understand what it is like for the survivors and how better to support them as they make the adjustment to the loss of their “other half.”

Who Moved The Sun? A twin remembers, Ron McKenzie, D.E.M. Publishing, paperback, 94 pages

It has taken a long time before healthcare professionals, counselors, doctors, funeral directors, and others have paid particular attention to the unique relationship between multiples and thankfully this is changing. It is changing because surviving co-multiples are writing about and sharing their feelings, pain, guilt, emptiness and sense of despair at losing their co-multiple. Such survivors have come to be known as Twinless Twins or Lone Twins.

Ron McKenzie’s book about his relationship with his monozygotic brother, Don, and his brother’s death at age 62 years in 2008 is one of those books that clearly sets out the dynamics of a multiples’ unique relationship. Ron shares his pain, love, and details of their relationship and what it meant for both of them. Succinctly, Ron shares: “You may be in heaven, Don, but I am in hell.” It is not an easy step from spending a life time as “we” and having to become “I.” When 61 birthdays have been shared, when shaving in the morning becomes a painful memory of losing Don, and the treasures of texting each other or speaking on the phone each day are no longer an option, no wonder it feels like ‘hell.’

McKenzie’s book is a must-read for a first hand account of not only a tribute to a much-loved twin brother, but an eye-opening journey to better understanding what it means to lose a co-multiple, the consequences and the loneliness while still trying to continue on. Only by understanding when it means to lose your co-multiple can we, as a society, reach out to better offer help, resources and support.

 

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Forever Linked: A Mother’s Journey Through Twin to Twin Transfusion

Two cords tangled
Click to enlarge

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta and can affect monozygotic (identical) babies, including within triplets or more when there are monozygotics.

It has a spectrum from mild to severe and if left untreated, can result in death for one or both babies, or put in jeopardy the complete pregnancy for triplets or more.

Forever Linked: A Mother’s Journey Through Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Erin Bruch, Philatory Ink, 299 pages

Twin to Twin TransfusionErin Bruch explains what TTTS is, how it can happen, the need to have the diagnosis as early as possible in a multiple-birth pregnancy, about managing it and what it feels like for the parents and families to go through, sometimes with the loss of one or both babies.

In addition, 21 mothers’ stories of their twin pregnancies are followed from finding out their babies had TTTS, the worry that knowledge carried, through their births and outcomes.

Bruch has included a drawing of what a TTTS placenta might look like. It is a helpful visual in understanding what is happening with the babies and why their struggle with TTTS can be a life and death matter. I also find both the cover pictures to be important visuals of what the babies go through with their unequal sharing within the womb.

If your babies have or had TTTS and if you like first hand accounts, this is definitely a must-read book.