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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Are They Exactly Alike or Completely Different? Six Facts About Twins

The day I found out I was pregnant with my identical twins was one of the most amazing days of my life. I knew I was already pregnant, but didn’t know there were two. I was exactly 7 weeks pregnant at the time of the ultrasound. I lost my previous pregnancy and wasn't feeling well, so I was prepared to mourn again. 

As the exam began, I was geared up to hear the worst until the tech said, “I see a heartbeat!” I burst out into tears while my inner voice thanked God that I was still pregnant.  Then he said, “I have news for you - I see another one!” At that moment, I saw two heartbeats like two flashing lightning bolts that reminded me of string beans wrapped in Christmas lights.


Twins 101


Identical twins stem from one fertilized egg that splits into two and they are almost always the same gender. It’s literally a miracle of nature. Fraternals are two separate fertilized eggs that can be different genders, since the egg didn’t just split. Fraternals are more likely to be influenced by genetics, whereas identicals are more of a surprise. The CDC and Stanford Medicine have been longitudinally studying twins.


Twins are two different people.


Are they identical in every way or totally different? If I had a dollar for every person who asked me that question, I would have a nice lump of cash. They are really two separate people who were born from the same person at the same time. Although some twins are dressed alike at all times, they are unique as individuals. My sons are like most boys in their age group.


Twins typically don’t like when people get them confused.


Although they didn’t look alike when they were born, I always dressed them differently.  Intuitively, dressing them alike to me felt creepy and wrong. I wanted people to remember who was who without having to ask all the time, so dressing them in different colors helped.  They also differ in their favorite color choices, so they always wear different sneakers.


Twins are meant to be celebrated.


Babies are miracles, despite the circumstances. On that day, when I found out that I was expecting twins, the radiologist asked me how I felt about the news. I looked at him like he had just asked the stupidest question ever. “I feel like I won the lottery.  How else am I supposed to feel?” He said, “That’s good to hear because I get a lot of mixed reactions about twins when I ask that question.” Accra, Ghana, has an annual parade to celebrate the blessing of twins. 


Twins appreciate time apart.


Whether it’s a few hours or days, they need space.  Other siblings of different ages typically get separated throughout the school day. Even if they are in different classes, which I highly recommend whenever possible, they still have a high chance of crossing paths. When my sons were younger, we would go out of our way to separate them when they started getting on each other’s nerves. Now that they are older and have different paths in high school, they naturally get time apart, which really helps their relationship.


Twins are used to waiting.


It always seemed like someone was always waiting for something while I was tending to the other.  It was what it was. Nobody got a diaper rash, starved, or was left behind because of the other.  It was a bootcamp for developing patience.


What other questions do you have about twins?

Hi, Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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