News about the healthy birth of monoamniotic (sharing the same amniotic sac) twin girls in Ohio in May went viral for a number of reasons. First, these births are rare (one in every 10,000 births) and often pose significant health risks to the unborn twins. The fetuses share a placenta and an amniotic sac but have separate umbilical cords. If unmonitored, strangulation might happen.
Naturally everyone was relieved and pleased about the positive outcome. However, most people seemed to be most captivated by the fact that the girls were born holding hands. The twins’ mother gushed that the babies are already best friends. One reporter wrote that she was pretty sure that this hand-holding means these girls will never fight over their toys.
If I am the only person who feels upset and annoyed about this “best friend” expectation, I will explain why. As an identical twin, I have lived with this societal requisite to be my sister’s best friend. If by some inexplicable lunacy this soul mate connection is not part of your twin experience, people somehow summarily dismiss you as an outcast in the twin cosmos! When my twin sister Jane and I tell people that we are sisters, that we love each other, and that we both have our own best friends, they seem disappointed and lose interest in continuing to talk about twins. While many twins are best friends and remain so throughout their lifetimes, many are not. It does not seem fair to stigmatize those who do not fit the stereotype.
I happen to believe that many twin pairs nurture their connection by putting some physical distance between themselves. They can maintain an emotional closeness that is modulated by some separateness. It is a bond that holds true to the adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
What do you think about the idea that twins should be best friends? Please share your thoughts below.