Things You Should Know About Our Twins

Our girls are about to turn eight, and after 8 years of parenting twins I’ve been asked many an odd question about twins and have learnt a lot about these strange creatures. Here are some answers to some of the common questions we are asked…

  • No, twins do not run in our family.
  • Identical twins are conceived when ONE egg is fertilised by ONE sperm and then later splits creating two babies. It is not known why this occurs, but it is not thought to be genetic. So that means it could happen to anyone, with any pregnancy, even you.

  • Yes, our twins are identical. Yes, we are sure. Here’s how we know.
  • Yes, our twins were born premature.
  • Our girls were born 11 weeks early due to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. This is a complication that only affects identical twins who share a placenta. It sucks, but detection and treatment has improved a lot in the past eight years.

    twins

  • Yes, our twins are ‘natural’. Our twins were conceived in the normal way, by having boring, missionary position, sex, so please stop asking about our sex lives.
  • Please be aware that pointing, staring, asking us to stop so you can take photos and making comments like “wow look at those freaky twins” (yes someone really said that just the other day) is not nice. It embarrasses our girls and is just plain rude.
  • Yes, they are identical and they do look very similar.
  • Yes, they are identical and they are different.
  • Please don’t call them ‘The Twinnies’, they really don’t like it and Izzy’s dirty looks really can kill.
  • It is ok if you don’t know who is who, just ask, they’ll tell you.

    twins

  • Yes, I have my hands full (though not so much now they can walk). No they are not ‘double trouble’…
  • You may think you are clever, or funny, or just making conversation, but we’ve heard all those comments eleventyhundred times before so how about next time you simply say “Aren’t you lucky to have such beautiful children.”

  • No, I don’t purposely dress them the same all the time, they are old enough to choose their clothes.
  • However, they are the same sex, the same age, the same size and spend a heck of a lot of time together. It makes sense that they’d like the same things and have the same taste in clothes.

  • No, they don’t have a secret language only they can understand.
  • twins

  • Yes, they love each other, and hate each other.
  • They are (almost) 8 year old girls, what did you expect??

  • Legally Izzy is older by 1 minute.
  • However, they were born (via c-section) almost simultaneously (they had to be because of the TTTS), Izzy is marked as older because she was ‘twin 1′ (the twin closest to the exit) and you must legally record a different time of birth for twins.

  • Yes, I know I am lucky, but not in the way you might think.
  • I love my girls more than life itself, we are so very lucky to have them and I wouldn’t change who they are for the world… BUT…. not everyone dreams of having twins, especially after they have them. Sometimes I feel the negatives of having or being twins outweighs the positives. So don’t be surprised if your “Oh I wish I had twins’ gets a less than enthusiastic reaction.

    I know there there are a LOT of fabulous ‘Mother’s of Multiples’ who blog, so I’m hoping that they will pop in and leave a comment adding to the things people should know about twins!

    Joining in with Yay For Home’s Things I Know link up!

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

    Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

    1. says

      Loved reading this one, Kate!
      My Mum used to get asked the “are they twins?” questions all. the. time. Except my little sister is a whole 2.5 years younger… Yes, we do look alike, even our parents can’t tell us apart in pictures from our childhood, but not twins! That would be a hard one to explain :) But I remember she just used to nod and smile and move on… :)

    2. says

      Heehee Kate, I could have written a post almost identical to this!

      These are some of the things I know about twins as a mother of 18 month old fraternal twin girls.

      Fraternal twins happen when TWO seperate eggs are fertilised and carried in the one pregnancy. They may not look alike, just as any siblings don’t always look alike. Yes they are still twins even though they are not identical! (I get told regularly by random strangers that they can’t be twins because they’re not identical, umm yes they can be)

      When giving presents to twins please give them two of the same thing rather than two different things. This may or may not apply as they get older I have yet to find out, but for twin toddlers it prevents a lot of tears and fights!

      :-)

      • katef says

        Or worse… when someone gives them one present to share, and it’s not a sharing kind of present! My girls were given one push along toy for their first birthday…. cause one year olds can so take turns to push the toy right?!?!

        • Erin says

          I curse our #$^# ONE push along toy every single day at the moment…..Yes, we too recieved ONE for the girls to share….at 20 months it is their favourite and fight like little gremlins over it. It doesn’t matter that we have another similar one either…..

      • katef says

        That used to drive me nuts when my girls were little too. That and ‘are they real?’… eventually I’d get so sick of it I’d reply
        ‘no, they are dolls, I’m a freak’ and walk away real fast!

        • says

          I always had to stop myself from responding to the “are they twins?” With a “no, this one is my baby and seeing as I was taking her for a walk in a twin pram and saw this baby that is the same age and size, I thought I’d pop her in the pram too”

    3. says

      Gorgeous girls!

      I was in a cafe yesterday and a mum came in with 18 month old twins. I almost said, ‘Gee, you must have your hands full!’ but I stopped myself and instead told her how gorgeous and happy they looked. Sounds like I did the right thing! ;)

      • katef says

        totally!
        I will never forget after a particularly comment filled day at a shopping centre an older lady stopped me as we were about to leave. I was waiting for yet another stupid comment when she smiled and said “are you lucky to have such beautiful babies”. It made my day, and I’ll be you made that mum’s day too!

    4. Jane says

      My mum’s twins are now 41. But they are boy/girl twins and frequently my mum was asked if the were identical!?! They were also undiagnosed twins born in 1970 before ultra sound etc. Even the doctor was surprised when another baby arrived. Imagine how surprised my parents were!

      • katef says

        I still vividly remember the moment at our first OB visit when he said those fateful words… “Definitely two, possibly three babies.” I CAN NOT fathom what it must have been like not to find out you were having twins till the second one was born!

    5. says

      I have identical girl twins. They are both 5 yrs old (hehe).
      They have almost finished their first year of prep and still, no one (not even their teacher) can tell them apart. They don’t mind being called the twins (but I do). I would have to say that initially I did not like the thought of having twins, it was quite a shock and a little bit scary…I’m used to it now and love the fact that I got two for the price of one pregnancy.

    6. says

      You do have such gorgeous girls.

      I promise I would never, ever say to you “I wish I had twins” – I take my hat off to all parents of twins, one at a time can be tricky enough. During our IVF dramas our specialist wanted to try two embryos at once and I vehemently said no. If nature brings you twins then so be it but I didn’t want to deliberately take the risk.

      Someone really said “those freaky twins”???? People are very strange.

    7. Nanny B says

      Hard to believe that our precious grand daughters are turning eight.
      The highs and lows but most of all the magic of the last eight years has been wonderful. We look forward to years of excitement, love and laughter and the occasional tear. Happy Birthday Izzy and Zoe.

    8. says

      You know, I really, really wanted twins.. even after the doc told me that we were only going to have one kid, I was still a little hopeful. Maybe the other one is hiding behind? And isn’t my pregnant belly bigger than usual?? haha…

      Glad they bring such joy to u. And they definitely aren’t “freaky” twins!!

      Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    9. Clare says

      I think you’ve pretty much covered what most twin Mums feel (or at least this one). I despise those comments from people who say they wish they had twins, and yes, the fighting and bickering at times is never-ending. And whoever started that rumour about a secret ‘twin language’ has got a lot to answer for…. Our twin girls (and no, I don’t know if they’re identical or fraternal, and boy am I paying for not giving that issue more attention!) are 6 now, younger sisters to our almost-10-year-old girl. I get a giggle whenever one of my friends or cousins go in for their first ante-natal ultrasound, and the question of twins is top priority now… Just to be sure!!!

    10. says

      They are gorgeous girls Kate, I know quite a few ‘twin families’ and they all admit it is tough going at times, but that’s parenthood isn’t it? :-)

      • katef says

        They do have pretty nice eye brows don’t they. They didn’t inherit that from me… in fact they didn’t inherit much from me at all! LOL

      • Granma Jill says

        Those are the “welsh eyebrows” from my mother, Gwenythe, their great grandmother, still going strong at 91!

    11. says

      Thank you for a lovely post Kate. Also anyone who wishes they have twins should ask any twin mum how her pregnancy was and (often) what it was like to have premature babies.

      My twin pregnancy was hard hard work. I was the size of a small building. People actually stopped in the street with their mouths open to stare.

      My boys were born at 37 weeks via c-section weighing 7lbs & 6lbs. Our boys were not identical and had separate placenta.Unfortunately my youngest twin Findlay had twisted his umbilical cord around itself and cut off his oxygen supply so he was born sleeping. We love him and miss him a lot. I still think of myself as a twin mum although I missed out on so much.

      His twin brother Jacob is nearly four. He has an older sister Molly who will be 8 in April next year and a younger brother Pete who is 2.

      • katef says

        I am so sorry for your lost baby… You are most definitely a twin mum, and always will be.

        Twin pregnancies can be hard, mine was fairly easy until 25 weeks when I went into labour and was diagnosed with TTTS. The next 4 weeks was spent in and out of hospital, and I never got very pregnant because the girls were born at 29 weeks. I wouldn’t wish prem babies or a difficult pregnancy on my worst enemy.

    12. says

      Hiya! I have two girls, now 15+ months, not identical, I’m also not talking about my sex life, they have been called ‘freaks’ already when they were 4 months old (accompanied by a “oh my god!”) and generally people enjoy looking at them. At this point they still enjoy being looked at, I’m sure that will change, but I am guessing it is different when they’re not identical. Hop on over and have a look-see at my blog, be sure to leave a comment!
      Cheers,
      Really Ninja

    13. says

      People keep calling me freaky twins too. I just wish they’d leave us alone. Your girls are cool. They’ve taught me that it’s okay to wear the same dress as I wear.

      • katef says

        I’m thinking all that new tap-ware must have gone to your head. But you do look very pretty in a dress.

    14. says

      I know if you have one set of fraternal twins you are more likely to have another set. Don’t say it won’t happen because that is just daring the universe.

      Raising girl girl twins is totally different from raising boy girl twins.

      After the first set of twins a single baby feels very different.

      Twins are amazing.

      • katef says

        I can’t tell you how many times people asked me if I was having another set of twins when I was pregnant with both the boys. I took much joy in explaining that because my girls were identical it was more likely that they would have twins than I would have a second set.
        People with two sets of twins are my absolute and total heroes… especially those who do with wish such love and grace as you do.

        • Erin says

          I know its thought that identical twins don’t run in families…but….i have identical twins (mo/mo) my cousin has identical twins….my grandmother was a twin, as was her mother (and although we can’t confirm if they were identical, the photos tell me they were) and my dad has identical cousins…..so…..

    15. Pixie says

      Twins are fabulous. My twins are IVF. I did get asked once if I sure they were twins….sigh….umm yeah I was there! People often insisted that twin one was a boy inspite of me insisting she was a girl. just coz I often dressed her in mint green.

    16. says

      I have conceived 3 (yes 3) sets of twins in a row naturally, but lost a twin in the 3rd set at 10 weeks gestation…

      People should know that:

      - boy/girl twins are NOT identical!
      - twins are NOT double trouble
      - twins are double the love, double the hugs
      - twins do not like being referred to as such n such’s twin
      - they are completely separate people don’t compare them all the time
      - they do not always like the same thing – just ask my 13 year old boy twins and my 16yr old boy/girl twins!!

    17. Melc_1911 says

      I’m so hearing you! My identical twin girls are 9. I have pretty much had every one of those questions asked. Some people are so rude. My girlfriend has identical twin girls with red hair. One lady stuck her head in the pram and said Mmm their fat aren’t they!! They weren’t even remotely fat and they were about 9 months old. Ahh bloody hell some people need an uppercut! Then others can be so lovely and understanding. And yes I do remember getting the your so lucky thing when they were little. At the time it was pretty tough going and not really the thing you want to hear.

    18. says

      Great post! The only way I can relate is that my eldest daughter has curly hair and everywhere we go and just about everyday someone will stop and make a comment about her hair. As a one off comment it would be fine, but people don’t realise that everyday my 4 year old hears “what gorgeous hair”…. “I love her hair” etc I feel like it kind of disregards her as a person beyond her pretty hair. I imagine twins experience this on a much larger scale, being seen as ‘twins’ rather than people. Labels such as ‘double trouble’ are not very sensitive. Thanks for sharing this. Happy birthday to your girls.

      • katef says

        Oh Lisa you are spot on and I so know where you are coming from!

        My middle boy had white blonde curls as a toddler and the strange comments I got were incredible! One woman actually told me he must have cancer because only ‘sick children’ have hair like his!

        I feel your pain!

    19. says

      WTF? People really need to think before they speak. I certainly hope I’m never that insensitive.

      My girls are two years apart, are quite different in appearance, yet I get the twin question a lot. Go figure.

      Your girls are gorgeous!

    20. Erin says

      I think you have it pretty much covered! We get dumb qns all the time and it definatley wears a little thin! My id girls are now 20 months and at 11 months got glasses and i agree they do look ridiculously cute, but the amount of attention that also recieves drives me mad!

    21. says

      Love this! Our twins are 7 months and it amazes me the questions people ask and comments people make. We have BG twins and the best question is they are identical? Maybe these people need to go back to anatomy class!

    22. says

      I am always so surprised at the rude comments that people actually say to other people. I don’t know what makes them think it’s okay! I certainly don’t have twins, but I have received my fair share of rude comments regarding other things. If people like that would only please think before they speak! That helps a lot.

      Your girls are beautiful. I hope they have a wonderful birthday!

      • Reina says

        I have boy-boy fraternal twins of almost 4 years old and I recognize all those stupid comments from people even when I live in the other side of the world. At the beginning they really irritated me but now I just smile and walk away. Well…actualy not always….if somebody asks me with that mean face “you needed IVF because you could not get pregnat, didn,t you?”, I smile and say “no it was just such fantastic sex that we made 2 instead one one the same night”. They never ask again ;)

        Happy birthday to the girls :) :)

      • katef says

        Me too… I got a number of really weird comments when my middle boy was little because of his white blonde hair. I would never approach a stranger and say things like this… heck I would never say them to a friend!

    23. Shawna says

      I absolutely love this!!! I hate being stopped in the grocery store every five minutes to have the same conversations over and over. I need a shirt that says “Yes they are twins, No they are not identical, yes I am sure and please do not stop me, we are on a tight schedule and do not have time to converse with strangers today!” Yes it gets irritating and my girls are only 16mo:-(

    24. Kylie says

      A belated Happy Birthday to Izzy and Zoe.
      I’m not a mum to twins, but here’s what I know about twins;
      * 2 sisters (not twins, and no long history of twins) can possibly naturally conceive identical twins (all girls too!) on both their 3rd pregnancies, 3 months apart – wowzers, didn’t that one throw us a loop, lol
      * People will stop you to ask if your 5 month old babies who look the same are twins. yes, they are. “so, they were born at the same time?” yes, they were, they are twins. “but, were they born at the same time?” – how do you argue with that?
      * 2 sets of twins together at a public family gathering get lots of ooohhhs and ahhhs from passers-by
      * when you have a 6yr old, a 5yr old and 5 month old twins, people will be silly enough to suggest you should get pregnant again (now) and try for another set of twins!
      * someone will always have an opinion on how you dress your twins – whether you dress them identical or similar
      * all mums of twins handle having twins differently. some love it and want more twins, others feel overwhelmed with the extra workload and some are just lucky enough to have twins who make it easy :)

    25. EJ says

      LOVE this post! It should be printed out and given to twin mums at the hospital. I never realised how intrusive people can be until we had ours. Some people are lovely and genuinely interested, others are just sticky beaks. Are they ‘natural’, did I breast feed, must of been a c section, are they identical -oh a boy and girl, how lovely! For the record, my identical twin girls were born vaginally at 35 weeks due to TTS, they were fed every way imaginable :) and I won’t bore you with details of my sex life. They are the hardest and the best thing that has ever happened to us!
      (And we randomly stopped for photos too. People get very offended because we always say no. I can’t imagine taking photos of a strangers baby and thinking that’s ok!)

    Trackbacks

    1. [...] ask a question about twins. I’m extending that invitation here too and sharing this old post Things You Should Know About Our Twins which answers some of the questions we get asked most often. You can also check out the Australian [...]