Imagine being told by a doctor that a twin, your twin, one you never knew u had, exists inside you. Mind blowing isn’t it? Or let’s put it this way: you get married; have children only to be told by a doctor that you cannot possibly be the mother of your kids? Scary right?
Thanks to a medical condition, a Washington state woman found out that pregnancy was not enough to prove motherhood; DNA testing indicated that she was, in fact, not the mother of her own children. So who was she?
The Discovery(2005) documentary first introduces Lydia Fairchild , a Caucasian single mother with two young children and pregnant with a third, applying to receive welfare aid for her family during the course of a desperate battle to retain custody of her three children after being separated from her husband. Through standard procedure, she and the African American father of her children took requisite blood tests to verify parentage. That’s when Lydia got the shock of her life that led to prolonged legal battles. Lydia’s world was indeed shattered by an incredible revelation-one that led to criminal accusations and the impending prospect of loosing her children to the state.
The lab results reported that the father of the children was a match but that Lydia could not possibly be the mother of her children. The desperate mother soon found herself facing a summons and impeding legal battles. Even her husband Jamie Townsend was also questioned and accused of fathering the children with another woman. Lydia’s father even suspected she was not being honest about her conception and pregnancy. Eventually she was accused of welfare fraud and taken to court. Unable to procure a lawyer because of the strength of the DNA evidence against her, Lydia appeared in court alone. No lawyer agreed to take up Lydia’s case.
Seeing that Lydia was pregnant with her third child, the judge appointed a witness to observe her birth and run DNA tests on both her and the infant. After delivery of her new born baby, tests on the blood samples, once again showed no genetic link between the new born baby and Lydia. Lydia was accused of being a surrogate mum.
Fate however was on Lydia’s side. One of the prosecutors in her case stumbled upon an article in The New England journal of medicine. When Lydia later had a cervical smear, DNA from it was tested and found to match that of her children.
Lydia was her own twin! How is that possible you ask? Sounds strange yes but Lydia’s lost twin, it appeared, had lived on as cells only found in her ovaries; she was her own twin- and the twin was the biological mother of her children…Lydia was a Chimera.
A chimera in Greek mythology (dating back to homer ,circa eight century BCE) refers to a monstrous creature made of the parts of several different animals ,typically ,the head of a lion ,the body of a goat, and a snake for a tail.(lesky 1966)
Those rare individuals dubbed “chimeras” had started out as twins; in the early stage of pregnancy, one of the twins had merged with-been absorbed by, one could almost say-the other twin. The cells of the consumed twin did not disappear rather it remained alive in one concentrated part of their sibling’s body. Because of how rare chimeras are this condition has been documented or recorded just thirty times throughout the whole world. It was completely unknown to anyone dealing with Lydia at the time.