Bittersweet: A qualitative exploration of mothers’ experiences of raising a single surviving twin.

Abbie Jordan, Paula Smith, Karen Rodham

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3 Citations (SciVal)
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Loss of a child from a multiple birth pregnancy is not uncommon yet the idiographic experience of parents who have lost a single twin from a multiple birth pregnancy is underexplored. This novel study sought to explore the experiences of mothers bereaved after loss of a twin from a multiple birth pregnancy, focusing on the dual challenges of parenting and grieving. Eighteen mothers at least 12 months post loss were recruited from a private UK based Facebook page dedicated to supporting parents after loss from a multiple birth. Eligible mothers completed an independent qualitative open-ended survey to explore maternal experiences of loss. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Findings represented a sense of duality for participants, with mothers experiencing conflict between roles and identities as well as the nature of their loss. Key themes identified include ‘Narrating a story of family and loss’, ‘Finding a place for the twins within the family’ and ‘A changing sense of self’. Findings fit with theoretical conceptualisations of bereavement that acknowledge retaining relationships with the deceased. Practically, suggestions for supporting mothers to identify stock answers to often asked questions about family make up were suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-898
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology, Health & Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date31 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Twin loss
  • bereavement
  • identity
  • infant loss
  • multiple birth
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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