Life,  Madrehood

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Being a Twin

Here’s Baby A and there’s Baby B! 

The intern pointed me and my sister out on the ultrasound to my mother. She could not believe it! Pregnant with twin girls!! I crack up every time Mom tells me this story. Today is her birthday and I want to thank her for putting up with me and my sister. As you already know from my Mother’s Day post, she’s an amazing woman! 

So no, you’re not seeing double. I have an identical twin! And yes, we can read each other’s minds.

We were born forty-five minutes apart and currently live a thousand miles apart. My sister is my best friend, hands down. Having a doppelganger has gotten me in and out of trouble. Mistaken identity, switcheroos, pranks — lots of fun! Whether you’re a parent to twins or a twin yourself, I hope these facts about twinhood resonate with you.

4. We Are Individuals

Rhyming names, similar personalities, or matching clothes. Some twins may have these but not all of them. My sister and I are completely different people. As children, expressing individuality proved difficult because of how our peers addressed us. More often than not our classmates or teachers would not bother to learn our names. They would simply call one of us “twin.” I’ve met twins who say people referred to them as “twinnie.” That’s cute and all but that’s just that’s not your name. So take time out. Even If you confuse us, that’s okay! As long as you’re trying and you’re making that effort. 

It wasn’t until we went to different schools that we diverged from the twin persona. I wish we could have been in an environment where others would not have seen us as parts of a whole but entire persons in our own right. 

3. We Can Experience Separation Anxiety

Going to separate high schools helped me establish my sense of self. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I was around 14 or 15 years old my first day of high school and I was absolutely terrified to be by myself. I didn’t know what to do without my sister, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. But yeah, I cried. 

When I came back home, I prepared to tell my sob story to my sister. I also thought we’d have a tearful reunion after just ten hours apart. But she told me that her first day of school was incredible. She made a ton of friends, got along with her teachers, and found herself looking forward to the rest of the year. At that moment, I told thought, y’know what? I can decide right now to be who I want to be. I can decide to be someone positive and unique. I can come back and share my experiences instead of wishing that my sister was always by my side, which is just not realistic.

2. Comparisons Hurt 

I want to talk about it is comparisons. Comparisons can be more hurtful than constructive. They can start from a young age and follow you into adulthood. A big part of being a twin is dealing with comparisons: your family is going to compare you, your friends are going to compare you, strangers are just going to compare you!

How can you tell them apart? Which one’s the evil one and which one’s the good one (I swear, I hated this question because I was always labeled as the evil twin!)? It’s very common. But it can also be really detrimental to how you see yourself. I know for me growing up always being called the bigger one or the heavier one, etc. always made me groan internally. Comments like that hurt my feelings. It made me feel like I was a twin that had something wrong with them. And no, that is not true.

There is nothing wrong with me. There was nothing wrong at the time. Comparisons in general can twist your mind to believe all sorts of bad things about yourself. I do not believe that it’s anyone’s intentions to bring me down but I was given the impression that I had no room to just be myself without having a benchmark, without being compared to my twin’s successes or failures. Then it just made me feel like every action I took was going to be analyzed.

Sure, there’s friendly competition, but then there’s this feeling that we’re tearing each other down instead of lifting each other up. How to prevent this? Keep the comparisons to a minimum, keep them positive, or just keep them to yourself. I’m fully aware of what my twin is doing but I never feel the need to copy or compare. We’re twins, not mimes. 

1. We Have An Imperfect But Everlasting Bond

I want to clarify that though the twin bond is beautiful, it’s not perfect. When does the bonding start exactly? It can start long before birth. I’ve heard stories of twins that have saved each other by embracing in the womb. We had a secret twin language as babies. As kids we even shared interest in learning the same target languages.

But look, twins will not get along all the time. I will say that yes, my sister and I have a great connection, but it’s not telepathic. We communicate with each other. I show my love for her through positive affirmations. At the same time, we can be openly critical of each other. Hey sis, I’m gonna help you up after you fall down, but I’m gonna laugh at you first! That’s the kind of relationship we have. That’s really important. Our boundaries are also critical for our relationship to stay as strong as it is now.

Do you share a special bond with someone in your family? They don’t even have to be your twin. If you are a twin, can you relate to any of the things I talked about? Here’s another amazing fact for the road: my twin and I share the same DNA (but not the same fingerprints!). She’s basically my spare kidney!



2 Comments

  • K E Garland

    I really enjoyed reading this! Almost every twin I’ve seen has been referred to as “twin,” instead of his or her name. I’m pretty sure this is cultural (in the black community) more so anywhere else. But, I’m glad you mentioned how it could affect the two people. Also, I’m guilty of saying, “that’s the fat twin” or something like that. This post really made me think about how wrong that is because I wouldn’t refer to someone else’s sibling that way. Thanks again for this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *