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Should I explain this? (Possible trigger warning)

(69 Posts)
57mama Thu 21-Nov-19 19:23:57

I don't want to drip feed, sorry if this is long.

I have 2 DDs, aged 12 and 14. I also had 2 stillbirths. They would've been 16 and the 12 year old's twin. Because of the twin, my youngest was born 2 months early, but when she was younger we just said she was born early because she wanted to meet her older sister. My 14 year old obviously understands the truth because we had to explain why she was only meeting 1 baby instead of 2, and I took her to the graves a few times, but we've still never told our 12 year old. Recently, she found out that babies usually aren't born that early for no reason, and she wants to know why she was. I'm really not sure what to say - her sister knew when she was 2, but something's telling me she doesn't need to know. WIBU to think of a lie or half truth, or does she deserve to know? And if I tell her, should I tell her about the first one as well? I don't want her to feel like she missed out on having 2 other siblings (I know older DD did), but I also don't want to pretend it didn't happen. Any advice would be appreciated, TIA x

Savingforarainyday Thu 21-Nov-19 19:26:09

I'd tell her... why keep it a secret?

Areyoufree Thu 21-Nov-19 19:26:30

I am so sorry for your losses. That’s absolutely devastating. I have no experience of this, but my inclination would be to tell her the truth. It would be better coming from you in a gentle, loving way, than for her to find out from someone else later on.

Whatsername7 Thu 21-Nov-19 19:28:36

You should tell her the truth. Chances are she has picked up on something anyway. I am sorry for your losses.

JasonPollack Thu 21-Nov-19 19:31:29

You should tell her. Especially if her sister already knows. So sorry for your losses OP flowers

Iggleonkupsy Thu 21-Nov-19 19:31:51

I am really sorry for your losses, it must have been so difficult for you. I have to say though that I am really shocked that you haven't told your child that she is a twin. I'd be devastated if this had been kept from me until 12.
Please tell her, the longer you leave it I think the harder it will be for her.
My mum had a stillbirth and she is spoken about a lot in our family. I have always known I have a sister..I was 3 when she was born so don't remember it at all.. but we have pictures up of her.

brummiesue Thu 21-Nov-19 19:36:44

I'm really sorry about what has happened to you but your 12 year old needs to know she had a twin, you really should have told her before this, please do it soon.

Maryann1975 Thu 21-Nov-19 19:36:55

My only experience of baby loss is a miscarriage so obviously completely different to your story, but I have told my dc (similar age to yours)?about it as I thought it shouldn’t be a secret and that it would come out in the future anyway. It has helped that they know tbh. Occasionally the topic comes up, recently a friend went through a late miscarriage or on a tv programme or on the news and we discuss it.
I much prefer openness about topics like this. I think it would be worse for it to come out even later down the line than now and think you should be open with your daughter about her twin.

steppemum Thu 21-Nov-19 19:36:59

please tell her.
She has the right to know she is a twin.

It is usually better to be open about these things, as otherwise they become an issue.
As it is now quite late, you may have to be prepared for a reaction from her, and help her to process the news. She may also want to visit the graves.
He sister may well have known at the time, but she may also have forgotten, so be prepared that she doesn't remember this.

Justkeeprollingalong Thu 21-Nov-19 19:40:23

You need to tell the 12 year old she is a twin but I'm not sure how you can broach it. It should never have been a secret.

roisinagusniamh Thu 21-Nov-19 19:41:47

She has a right to know. You run the risk of her not trusting you if you don't tell her the full truth.
Sorry for your losses.

SmileyClare Thu 21-Nov-19 19:44:36

I wonder if you could get some advice on how best to approach this from a charity such as Bliss or similar? I think they have online support forums.

If you do tell her, my instinct would be to keep it quite factual and simple, she is only 12 so will likely to find an emotional account of events distressing, she may even feel "survivors guilt". Perhaps frame it that her twin was very ill, nothing could change that and that she was your miracle baby that lived against the odds?

Perhaps show her some photos or keepsakes and let her know you're happy to answer her questions. I'm not an expert though. So sorry you've been through such traumas. bear in mind that revisiting this will probably bring up a lot of difficult emotions for you.

It might be healing for the family that it's not a "dark secret" anymore which may actually help.

Sammy867 Thu 21-Nov-19 19:46:35

I would explain it to her.
There are some stories of twins "knowing" they were a twin via a feeling or sensation of not being quite whole but not knowing why. I imagine she feels like something is amiss considering she is still thinking about it - i have to admit I've never asked my parents anything about my birth but occasionally get thrown some information (mum sent months in hospital pregnant, large bleeds, coming early) in conversation.

At the moment it is just an omission, however if you continue down this path you would have lied to her and obviously her sibling would need to continue with this as well. It's a slippery slope especially if she finds out herself later on and feels betrayed,

supersop60 Thu 21-Nov-19 19:48:13

What is your reason for keeping it a secret?
She deserves to know she is a twin.
If you don't tell her, it's a lie that you, and everyone who knows, is going to have keep for the rest of their lives.
That's not right.

lljkk Thu 21-Nov-19 19:59:41

someone I know told a story about how her eldest was a fraternal twin but the other baby died inside her. She had to wait months to give birth to the live healthy twin (& the deceased one). Kind of weird, but she had known from maybe 20 weeks that one of the twins wasn't well.

I didn't know her well but she told me so obviously it was just a remarkable thing that happened in her life. Didn't have to be a painful story for anyone to know about.

ringletsandtwiglets Thu 21-Nov-19 20:01:52

I agree and think you should tell her. I had a twin brother who died and my parents have never told me about it. I found 'congratulations on the birth of your twins' cards when we moved house when I was 10 years old, and there have been a few comments from family members that didn't really make sense until I put it all together.

We're not very close, and I'm painfully awkward, so even now, we all just avoid it. I don't even know if they're aware that I know.

Please tell her.

SmileyClare Thu 21-Nov-19 20:05:22

There's no point beating yourself up about not telling her before now. You did what you thought was best at the time with the intent of protecting your dd.

As a parent to teens I find talking to them about difficult issues is often best when out for a walk together. If that's something you might do. It does help to relieve some of the tension of the conversation.

Passthecherrycoke Thu 21-Nov-19 20:07:31

I’d be wondering if the 14 year old has already told her, and she’s coming to you for confirmation? No way would I have kept that secret from my sister at such an age

Mushypeasandchipstogo Thu 21-Nov-19 20:12:19

You really must tell her the truth but, as others have said, she might know already from her elder sister. Personally I would have told your DD a long time ago.

Passthecherrycoke Thu 21-Nov-19 20:14:26

Also, if you’re worried about the effect on her I’d be willing to bet she won’t think much of it at all tbh Op. children at school always have a sad family baby story to share IME and it isn’t done with much grief or sadness. I’m sure she’ll just be interested, and sorry for you of course

LagunaBubbles Thu 21-Nov-19 20:14:30

She needs to know the truth. It's secrets that cause problems in families.

MadeForThis Thu 21-Nov-19 20:14:58

I thought the same. It's possible the 14 yo has mentioned it to her and she's scared to ask you outright.

Yarboosucks Thu 21-Nov-19 20:18:30

So sorry that you had to experience such loss.

I am guessing that she already knows the facts of life - that for me would be the watershed that she can be told the truth about her birth and her twin. The longer you leave it, the more she will question why you did not tell her.

doritosdip Thu 21-Nov-19 20:18:39

I'd tell her the truth because she'll be angry when/if it comes out later. I would also correct her about her belief that there is a medical reason for premature babies. Sometimes it just happens.

Tartyflette Thu 21-Nov-19 20:21:13

We lost our first DS to a stillbirth, our second DS was born a couple of years later.
I think he has known for a very young age that he had an older brother who died at birth, TBH we never thought about keeping it a secret.
And what if we hadn't told him and someone else in the family mentioned it to him at some stage? He might have wondered why we had never told him ourselves.

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