Swisters or Twisters?

The babies switched at birth story I blogged on a couple of days ago has continued to percolate through the media.  Yesterday the New York Times, today the Guardian.   I’m a bit disappointed because originally  reports said the two women called each other “swisters”  which seems quite clever to me.  The subsequent reports, however, say they call each other “twisters,” which doesn’t seem to capture the same relationship.   Oh well.   (I wonder if some editor mistakenly substituted a real word for the one the two women coined?)

But really the reason I’m writing about it again is two-fold.  First, it’s amazing to me that this story has such wide appeal.   There’s something about it that has really captured some piece of the imagination, I guess.   It might be worth thinking about what that is.

Second, the more recent stories seem to add new layers of detail.   For example, the Guardian describes how the switch occurred.  But more interesting to me, is the way in which the two women–Kay Rene and DeeAnn–talk about how this has changed how and who they think of who they are.   They speak of having lived the wrong lives, of taken each others places.

I’m not sure this is entirely about the power of genetic linkage–that they missed growing up in the “real” families.    I think it is as much knowing that if the mistake had been discovered early enough it would have been undone and then their lives would be different.  Such a small mistake set them on completely divergent tracks.    That’s something to ponder.

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2 responses to “Swisters or Twisters?

  1. I agree it is interesting, it has wide appeal because it means a large change in your identity. Finding out you were adopted as an adult might be less shocking because in that case, there wasn’t another person who literally had the experiences that you would have had if this mistake had not been made. And without that mistake you would have a whole different identity.

    Also, it is partly sensational, it makes the reader think ‘what if that was me? what if everything I knew and everything I took for granted was a product of a hospital mistake’. Frankly, it is a little creepy!

  2. The information would have to lead one there–that “you shoulda been me, and I you”–but I don’t think this says as much about genetics as it does the life story built upon the mistake. There is also the issue of what one wouldn’t have had if one had led one’s “real” life. This reality stuff cuts both ways.

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