Twins are talking to each other in the womb.  The sister said to the brother, “I believe there is life after birth.”  Her brother protested vehemently, “No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling to the cord that feeds us.” The little girl insisted, “There must be something more than this dark place. There must be something else, a place with light where there is freedom to move.” Still she could not convince her twin brother.

After some silence, the sister said hesitantly, “I have something else to say, and I’m afraid you won’t believe that, either, but I think there is a mother.” Her brother became furious. “A mother!” he shouted. “What are you talking about?” I have never seen a mother, and neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have. Why do you always want more?. This is not such a bad place, after all. We have all we need, so let’s be content.”

The sister was quite overwhelmed by her brother’s response and for a while didn’t dare say anything more. But she couldn’t let go of her thoughts, and since she only had her twin brother to speak to, she finally said, “Don’t you feel these squeezes every once in a while? They’re quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful.” “Yes,” he answered. “What’s special about that?” “Well”, the sister said, “I think that these squeezes are there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face-to-face. Don’t you think that’s exciting”

Source | Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift, A Meditation on Dying and Caring 
(Harper One, 2009) pages 18-19.


This is a story about birth and life outside the womb. But can it  also be a story about death? Can it perhaps be an  invitation to think about death in a fresh way?  We can live as if this life were all we had, coming to an end with the absurdity of death. Or we can choose to claim our divine childhood and trust that death is the painful but graceful passage that will bring us face-to-face with God, our mother.

Author: philipchircop

An artist at heart and madly in love with all things beautiful and soulful: music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, theatre, poetry, good company, good food, good wine and more. I believe that beauty is a wonderful entry into the mystery of the God “whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” God can be sensed in all things if and when we engage in a long, loving look at the real that surrounds us. I consider myself a seeker with bottomless curiosity, an eternal student of life, exploring fresh and creative ways to proclaim the Good News in the hope of helping fellow pilgrims and seekers to embrace real and radical changes that will lead to conversion and transformation.

9 thoughts on “TWINS IN THE WOMB”

  1. What a beautiful story. What a wonderful way to look at death. As a nurse I see a lot of death and often feel just as there is a nurse to bring babies into this world there is a nurse to help you on to the next life. Thank you.


  2. Inspiring allegory in deed! I was a Jesuit for ten years. I am inspired everyday listening and reading such!


  3. nice story ,but I have one doubt “Either the brother believe in mother and the life after birth or not” he will come out from moms womb after 9 month and he realize that there is one mother and a place to live. The sister believe in mother and life after birth she is also come out from moms womb after 9 month. one is believing other is unbelieving but both get the same i right.??

    expecting your reply.thank you.


    1. It’s all in the way one looks at things. As the saying goes:

      Two people looked out from behind the prison bars,
      One looked down and saw only mud,
      the other looked up and saw the stars.


  4. Good analogy but in our physical death’s case, we simply disperse into dirt while the twins only transitioned from one physical dimension into another.


    1. Yes, you are right we physically go into the earth at death. But the twins did not know that they are coming to a bigger, better world. The after life could also be one that is not physical and is on a higher level and dimension which is unknown to us. We do not know of any other kind of existence but nor did the twins !


  5. I am just wondering if this is your story or one that has been passed down? I would love to retell it in a talk I am giving and want to credit the right person.
    Jane Whitlock
    End of Life doula


    1. It’s not original with me. That’s the beauty of most stories told, and retold. There are many variations of the same story so of course, use it and perhaps give it your own twist or say it in your own words. I believe that all stories are a common heritage of humanity.


    2. From Henri Nouwen’s book, Our Greatest Gift. Other wonderful stories as well. He was a Catholic writer who spent the last years of his life working with mentally challenged individuals. Quite an inspiring person. . .


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