We all get so many questions regarding our multiples every time we leave the house. One of the hardest questions I have found to answer in the past is, “Do they have a twin connection?” I polled my local twin parents support group to find out if they believed their twins have what people call a “twin connection”. Most say yes, they think their twins have a unique bond. A close second was parents believing their twins had a special sibling-type connection, but they weren’t sure if it was specifically a twin thing.
What exactly is a twin connection?
Some believe the twin connection is really twin telepathy, but there simply isn’t evidence to prove this is possible, and most twins don’t claim to be able to read each other’s thoughts. According to Dr. Marion Verp, a Geneticist and Obstetrician from Chicago, Illinois, the fact that twins share much of the same DNA cause their brains to have similar thought patterns. They are genetically predisposed to think alike. So maybe it’s not really reading each other’s minds as much as it is sharing similar DNA make up. Others think that twins have the ability to feel each other’s pain. Again, studies have shown that most twins do not report being able to feel pain the other twin experiences. Then there is the “twin language” as a theory for the twin connection when twins start to communicate by creating their own words or language. But would two toddlers living together full time who were not twins perhaps learn to do the same thing? Possibly. Some of these connections may happen at times, but we are not able to confirm or evaluate them accurately.
Maybe the connection is more about how their personalities mesh. I’ve often noticed twins seem to balance or compliment each other. Strangers think my twins will act exactly alike, but actually, they have many pieces of their personalities that are opposite. They seem to almost be each other’s “better half” in their strengths, helping along the one who is weaker in a particular area. Sometimes I like to think of it by using the idea of the perfect old married couple; they have grown together for so long they almost complete each other. Together, they seem to make the perfect person. Twins get to start so much farther along in their growing together adventure because it already starts in the womb. What a gift, to have that type of close personal connection with another person. Some people never find that type of closeness with anyone their whole lives. So when one of my twins is feeling shy in a social setting, his twin brother encourages him to join in. When one is scared to try part of the playground, the stunt-brother twin goes first to show him how it’s done. My one boy eats anything and tells his twin to try it, and usually, it works! It seems like this list just keeps getting longer as my boys grow up together.
To someone who doesn’t know my twins very well, their behavior might look like they are matching and acting the same. As their mother, I can see that it’s more of one bringing the other alongside and being their partner and encourager. Without that relationship in place, they likely wouldn’t look like they were acting the same. Some people even suggest that this unique bond between twins actually extends their lifespan. Having a positive relationship that is consistent can do wonders for health and happiness; many twins have that type of bond started before their first breath is ever taken.
I’d suggest these complementing personalities make up a large part of the twin connection. It’s not some secret language or science-defying telepathic skills. Maybe it’s just being a part of a relationship that literally started the very moment they began living. The longest possible relationship anyone could have. All twins have a connection, but as every relationship is different, so is each twin connection. We can’t measure how deep their bond is, to determine if they are “twin enough”. Unless we are a twin ourselves, we can’t really know what it’s like to be so far along in a relationship to another person, right from the beginning of our being.
So when you are asked if your twins have a special connection, say yes. They do! They have the most unique relationship people have, starting from the womb! If that’s not an amazing bond, what else would qualify?! Some days my boys do have me wondering if the twin connection also includes how well they can work together as a team to keep their mother busy. In that case, my boys couldn’t be closer. What a gorgeous team twins can be, unlike any other.
Rhonda Doerksen lives in Manitoba, Canada with her husband Dan and three kids. She is a survivor of HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) with her singleton pregnancy, then had twin boys 4 years later. She is the creator and manager of a non-profit support group for parents of multiples. She finds adventure and joy in her personal art creations. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.