There are two different types of twins, identical and fraternal. Identical, or monozygotic, twins are the result of one egg being fertilized and then splitting in two. Identical twins have the same DNA and normally look very much alike. They are always of the same gender. The majority of twins are fraternal, however, meaning they are not identical even though they may actually look very much alike in many cases. They are the result of two eggs being fertilized at the same time, and both babies being carried to term. These twins can be of the same or opposite sex and share only 50% of their DNA, which is the same amount as regular siblings.
The term ‘twin telepathy’ is used to refer to the connection that many twins have, that makes them constantly aware of each other. This includes doing or saying the same things at the same time, even when they are not together. Many of them also have the same interests in friends, sports, hobbies and other activities. This connection does not only exist in identical twins but, in many cases, extends to fraternal twins.
The twin bond is formed in the womb, which they share, so the twins enter the world already being completely aware of each other. Parents of twins find that as babies they fall asleep and wake up at the same time, as well as need to be fed and even changed within minutes of each other. From infancy and going into childhood they automatically begin to comfort each other, and find it difficult to sleep without holding hands or having some form of other physical contact. A high percentage of fraternal twins also sleep in the same position, even when they are separated.
This bond continues to grow with the children and twins even make up their own language, without consciously putting any effort into it. Their ‘twin vibes’ allows them to feel each other’s joy and pain, finish each other’s sentences, laugh at the same things and sometimes even communicate things to each other without words. Even though there is sibling rivalry and fierce competition in many twin relationships, they are still very protective of each other.
Probably one of the strangest twin connections, which can occur in fraternal twins, is when a twin’s brother actually goes through her pregnancy with her. In these cases the brother will know that his sister is pregnant before she tells him, experience her morning sickness and cravings and may feel her labour pains.
Distance doesn’t seem to affect the twin bond and twins, even if they haven’t spoken in a while, can still feel each other’s emotions. Losing a sibling is always a painful experience, but twins describe losing their twin as an overwhelmingly empty feeling inside. Whereas they felt whole when their twin was alive, they are now a ‘twinless twin.’ This causes them to experience regular moments of uncontrollable sorrow, and thoughts about their brother or sister dominate their lives. The connection that these twins share can never completely be understood by anyone else, and is truly an incredibly unique and fulfilling experience.