With support from family, Althea Hayton began Wren Publications in 1995, originally to bring forward her work as an author on the topic of food, but later as a vehicle to share ground-breaking work on food and dieting, loss in families, and latterly the challenge of creatively healing from bereavement as a twin. Althea worked as a counsellor, editor and non-ficton publisher and was an active member of her community in various volunary roles such as local community radio in Hertfordshire. Oxford educated and with a love of learning, she was dedicated to enthusing, entertaining and communicating with others.
Althea lived in Hertfordshire with her husband, two sons and two lovely grand children. In the autumn of 2013, Althea retired from public life after developing Motor Neurone Disease. She continued to write and edit books until 2014. Wren Publications, like its sister website WombTwin.org launched in 2002, is a source of information and practical emotional guidance on topics central to human life and creativity, such as food and eating, birth and loss in families, and healing from pain.
Althea's last great passion was the topic of prenatal psychology, an interest shared with her son Philip, a psychologist whose work at the time involved family interventions, and now focuses on core human development across the full lifespan. Althea found she was probably a twin while in her mother's womb, and began to connect this to various aspects of her life and relationships. So began a decade of research into the adult life of 'wombtwins' (a term she coined) who are born as a 'sole survivor' of a twin pregnancy. "Conceived as two but born alone" does seem, understandably, to lend itself to a psychological complex with some profound effects.
It is estimated that 10% of human embryos are, for some time, twins. Our colleague Monica Hudson in NYC calls them 'twindividuals' (www.twindividual.com). Just 1% of human births, though, are to surviving twins (or triplets). The remaining 9% must, therefore, be wombtwins. A twin in the womb but born as a lone infant. Althea's collaborative research yielded insights about how they may struggle with an unprocessed nameless loss, with lifelong effects. She sought to find ways to help them to heal, understand themselves better, and cultivate compassion for their past.
Wren Publications continues to publish and share a rich vein of collaborative work and research, through free resources, e-books, published volumes of scholarly works, fictional stories for children, and true stories from wombtwins themselves. WombTwin.org continues with its important work, and Wren Publications continues to publish on topics that are central to everyday life, wellbeing and creativity.
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