Grief, fear, nostalgia: the trauma of losing a twin, as happened to Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodríguez

A pain they describe as “the greatest any parent can feel”and with which millions of people in the world who have faced similar losses of a child who died before, at or shortly after birth.

Although multiple pregnancies, such as Georgina Rodríguez’s, are known to carry a higher risk of complications, the couple did not provide details on the cause of death.

Regardless of what happened, there is no doubt that this is a traumatic experience.

“We are devastated by this loss and ask for privacy at this very difficult time,” they add in the post where they admit that “Only the birth of our girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness.”

“Baby, you are our angel. We will always love you”, they conclude in their emotional message posted on Instagram.

Losing a twin, as happened to Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodríguez, implies contradictory feelings

Although the pain of any parent who loses a child is immeasurable, the death of a twin or a baby from a multiple pregnancy, as happened to Ronaldo and his partner, can bring about even more complex emotions, warns the Mayo Clinic:

  • Sadness for not having time to live fully the mourning of the baby who died (because we have to attend to the one who has just been born).
  • Fear the survivor dies as well, which can inhibit parents from holding, getting close, or getting too attached.
  • Distress for the health of the surviving child.
  • ConfusionWell, even if only one baby is alive, the person is still a father of twins, even if others do not see it that way and the family may not want to talk about the one who died.
  • Nostalgia. Living with the constant reminder of the baby who died and wondering what would have happened to him if he hadn’t died.

The Bereavement Center for Multiple Pregnancies (CLMB) clearly illustrates that dichotomy with these words on their website:
“Talking about a twin already sounds like a contradiction and it is not something that one would have imagined when hearing that she was expecting twins. But for many of us, because of the high risks in pregnancy and childbirth, this is what happens: we have to caring for one and raising him, while we miss and grieve for his twin. We experience all the realities of becoming a parent and all of the realities of being a grieving parent, all at once.”

Among the recommendations offered by that institution to parents who have just lost a twin are the following:

  • Hold the baby who has died, for as long as possible. Some people who think they don’t have the strength to hold their dead baby later regret not doing so when possible. “Yes, you may feel like the world is falling apart, but you’ll be fine,” warns the organization.
  • Being able to take pictures of the deceased baby, and of all the babies together, will be very important to the family in the future. It will also be very helpful when it is explained to the surviving sibling that they actually had a twin.
  • Surviving babies continue to be twins or triplets despite the death of their sibling. It is very important that hospital staff, family members, and family friends respect the wishes of the parents. “It is very unfortunate for a parent who lost a twin or triplet baby that the surviving baby is treated as an only child,” stresses the organization.
  • Find a way to talk about the deceased baby, and find a time to commemorate his life. “Many of us are convinced that we must grieve and not avoid it, in order to enjoy our surviving baby or babies. Being able to go through the grieving process is a healthy thing, and it will reduce anxieties and depressions in the future. This will allow us to be prepared to talk in the future with our children about the sibling (or siblings) who are no longer with us”, warns the Grief Center for Multiple Pregnancies.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina are the parents of another daughter, Alana Martina, born in November 2017.
The soccer player, for his part, is the father of twins Eva and Mateo, 4 years old, whom he conceived through a surrogate mother, and another older son, Cristiano Jr, 11 years old, who conceived together with a woman whose identity has been kept secret.

In mid-December the couple announced the sex of the babies they were expecting: a boy and a girl. The latter was born without complications.

After the loss of a baby it is possible to “reconcile with life”

Although, at the moment of suffering the death of a baby, it may seem that life no longer has meaning, those who have gone through this process warn that, with the proper psychological help to face this trauma, there are ways to move on.

“By losing a child, we moms can experience a loss of meaning in our lives, a loss of purpose. It is as if we were suddenly left aimless, and even without reasons to continue in this world. That was what I experienced, and I know that it is the same feeling that many mothers have, because I have been very close to them in the community that has been created around the Instagram account of @LaMamáDeMatias”, affirms the journalist Ileana García Mora whose first baby was stillborn, prompting her to share her experience on Instagram.

With the help of therapists at the Irma Institute in Mexico, she found the tools not to erase the pain, because it is impossible, but to feel accompanied. “They helped me understand that reconciliation with life is possible after experiencing that pain that has no name,” she told Univision News.

For her, ” Sometimes it seems that, for society, the pain of the death of a child should be proportional to the time his life has lasted.that is, the age he was at the time of death.

“If that son didn’t ‘be there’, that is, if people didn’t know him, didn’t see him grow up, then he didn’t exist. And based on that misperception they push us parents to ‘turn the page quickly’, to ‘move forward’ and leave ‘the past behind’, as if a child could simply be left aside, just like that”, he adds.

Talking about that pain -as Ronaldo and Georgina have already done-, honoring the duel and taking the time to mourn is crucial to healing.

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Grief, fear, nostalgia: the trauma of losing a twin, as happened to Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodríguez