When I found out I was carrying identical twin girls, my mind immediately took me to how much they’d be alike. With the same DNA, they surely would enjoy the exact same things, do things at the exact same time, and in general just be the same person split into two separate bodies. I mean, that’s basically what I thought identical twins were. I had no idea of the world I would be thrown into.
When our twins were born at 36 weeks, they had Twin To Twin Transfusion. Essentially that means that our baby twin B, Halen, took most of the nutrients from twin A, Lennon. They were almost two pounds different in weight at birth and one was much paler while the other was much more red. I even asked the doctor when they were born, “are you sure they’re identical twins? They look nothing alike. I think you guys misdiagnosed them!”
Even though Halen took all of the nutrients, she was actually the sicker twin. She was the one who needed more attention than her sister did. But it’s almost like Lennon knew her sister was going to be cooped up in the NICU for a few weeks, so she decided to do what she had to stay. She was totally “fine” at birth. But by the end of that first day, she could no longer keep her temperature stable nor could she keep up with eating. So, she booked herself a stay in the NICU for the exact same amount of time her sister did. They came home on the same day. It’s sort of crazy how that worked out, considering Halen had many more issues than her sister and on paper, should have stayed longer.
Over the next few weeks, I would scroll through social media, admiring all of the babies my friends were having as well. When these babies would start doing things that my babies couldn’t do yet, I had to keep reminding myself that mine were premature and just needed a little extra time. It was hard not to compare them as these posts were flooding my newsfeed day in and day out. I started to feel like maybe something was wrong with my babies, even though I already had two other children! I had been through this before. I knew every baby has their own timeline. Yet, there I was…worrying my little twins were going to be behind.
Then something really funny happened in our own home. Halen rolled over. She rolled over four times in that one day. It was surprising to me since she was the underdog in this whole thing, being born sicker than her sister. I had this notion in my head that if anything, Lennon would do things a day or so before her sister. But Lennon didn’t have a single interest in rolling over. In fact, it took her TWO weeks to roll over. That whole time I was shocked. They were identical twins! Sure, they were born very different, but still. They’re identical! They’re supposed to do everything together.
Then Halen laughed. Again, it took Lennon two weeks to do it too. We started feeding them solids and it took Lennon two weeks to catch on. Halen crawled and Lennon took her two-week-interval to join her sister’s tricks. It was like clockwork! Halen would do something and Lennon would sit back like, “I’ll get to it later.”
So now instead of comparing my twins to other babies, I was comparing them to each other. I was comparing my babies with the same DNA sequence to each other. How could one be so different than the other? How could one do anything earlier than her sister? The science didn’t make sense to me! They’re the same! Literally down to the order of their nucleic acids. Surely their genetic code had the same markings for physical development. Yet here we are, watching them develop at different times. It was mind blowing to me as their mom.
I learned a big lesson in identical twins through this: Same DNA, different souls.
Their souls are different. They each have their own timeline. They each have their own likes and dislikes. They are their own person, despite looking alike and scientifically being the same. But the spirit powering their bodies is as unique and as original as you and I. Just because they are cut from the exact same cloth doesn’t mean that the little machine inside their brains is the same. It took raising them to teach me that children are all genuinely different. It really isn’t just a saying. It’s the absolute truth that we all sincerely need to remember.
Yes, Lennon and Halen do have a lot in common with each other. I mean, they are constantly around each other. They spend all day together. They sleep together. They nap together. They play together. They eat meals together. They are hardly ever apart. They truly are each other’s best friend. They enjoy a lot of the same things.
They just have their own identity.
Today, Halen can write her name. She’s been able to write the letters of her name for about a year. Lennon? That girl has zero interest in writing her name or learning how to spell it. She’d rather be out in the soccer field out-scoring all of the boys.
is empathetic, sweet, and gentle. She could sit down and color, do puzzles, and read books all day long. She lives for structure and being given little tasks. She loves helping to clean or do dishes. She wants to be of service to everyone she can. She plays by the rules and doesn’t stray from what she’s “supposed to be doing.” Her little inner radar starts beeping when anyone isn’t following the rules. Her feelings get hurt when people are mean or don’t want to play with her. She’s very sensitive and conscious of those around her.
has a sparkle in her eyes that only resembles the truest form of a free spirit. You can see it in her mannerisms and you can see it in her personality constantly. She doesn’t take anything seriously at all and she is happiest running around doing her own thing. She can’t be confined to a box and she enjoys the freedom to explore the world in the way she sees fit. She’s totally a roll-with-the-punches child. If someone doesn’t want to play with her, she shrugs her shoulders and moves on. If someone is mean to her she will spit it right back. She has a no holds bar approach to those around her.
With those explanations you would think they were *just* sisters. You would never truly think I was describing a set of identical twin sisters. They are so different from one another.
And so is every child.
It’s makes you think of nature vs. nurture. How much of our children’s personality is based on just who they are, down to their true authentic self? How much of it is based on their environment? I can tell you one thing; from my experience it seems that our babies come here with a lot of their character already tied into them.
Every child has their own personality. Every child is powered by an extraordinary soul. Every child has their own journey to walk. Every child has their own wants and needs. Every child has something to offer this world and it can’t be the same as the one standing next to them. Every child is different. Every child is perfect.
Social media makes that impossibly hard to remember these days. When we live in a world where we are constantly rewarding children for being better than their counterparts rather than celebrating each child's uniqueness, it can feel like you're failing as a mom. It feels like the three year old that can read is held higher than your three year old that enjoys playing in the dirt.
The next time you feel yourself comparing your child to someone else’s, just remember that even my identical twins are very different. And that's okay!
We all have our own purpose.