There is one question that I have been asked my whole life. What does it feel like to be a twin? And I have struggled with how to answer it. What does it feel like to have someone sitting next to you who looks exactly like you?
When you are a twin, that question always stumps you, my sister tells me. It’s like a detailed joke, when at the end you look around to see if anyone else gets it and it looks like no one does.
I have an identical twin sister named Kelly. We are what they call “mirror” identical. I am right-handed and Kelly is left-handed. We looked exactly alike up until about age 16. I have always been referred to as “the fatter one”. I laugh at that because Kelly has weighed the same since she was 16 years old – a whopping 105 pounds. We are now 51 years old. I continually tell her please don’t stand next to me.
And that is basically the definition of our relationship. You go back and forth continuously wanting to be your own person, but then you don’t want to fully go at it alone. You feel like you want to find yourself, but at the same time you want to help the “other” one do the same.
And there are the feelings and emotions you can’t explain. The stuff they say about twins is true – how you can feel the other one’s pain, you sometimes know what they are thinking, or you shop at the same time (not with each other) and bring home the same outfit. We used to flip my brother out with some of this stuff.
Perfect examples – hold on to your seat, ‘cause you can’t even make this stuff up:
Example 1 – I went into labor with my first child. Kelly worked in Philadelphia at the time. When I was heading to the hospital, I began calling her. Tried her at work and on her cell phone. I lost count after awhile because the pain started hitting me. LOL. After my son was born and I came out of the fog – I had to have a C-Section – my husband finally got in touch with my sister’s boyfriend. At the exact time I gave birth, Kelly was passing a kidney stone. LOL.
Example 2 – My sister has 3 boys. Every pregnancy she had, I had her morning sickness. Yes, you read it right. I knew she was pregnant before she did. What was God thinking? Morning sickness given to the girl who was done having kids. And I would have it the first 3 months of her pregnancies. The topper is Kelly wore my regular clothes as her maternity clothes!
So, the bottom line is this – being a twin is an incredible bond that you can never explain. We are a unit and it is a unit that is the best of both. There will be days you want to rip each other’s hair out, but there will be more days where you would do ANYTHING for each other. No one has your back in life more than the one who shared your mother’s belly!
Kathy Chlan is the author of Maternally Challenged: How My Special Needs Son Taught Me To Sack Up And Laugh! and the writer behind the popular website Unfiltered Mom. More at