Being a mother of identical twins, I find myself exposed to two main questions from random strangers:
“Are your twins conceived through IVF ? (“None of your bee’s wax”)
“Do twins run in your family ?” (“Nope”)
Usually, my flat ‘no’ reply to either question is insufficient. Without fail, this fly-by person will ask the alternative one.
It’s as though they need to hear a logical reason.
Yet, the responses I have to offer are insufficient.
So then, there is a slight pause of disbelief. Followed by disinterest.
It’s as though I can hear their thoughts:
“She’s either lying or just doesn’t want to tell us.”
If I’m up for it, I sometimes find myself trying to describe the randomness behind identical twins. That, unlike fraternal (dizygotic) twins, there is no geneological explanation.
Then I realise my voice is fading and the person who actually initially started the conversation has already drifted away.
I always end up wondering what does it take to let others know that there is no clear cut, black and white hypothesis for identical twins ?
Then, I think that maybe I shouldn’t give these sceptical people such a hard time.
Even for ourselves, we were surprised, to say the least.
You see, our road to conceiving wasn’t so forthcoming. And although we didn’t go through the process of IVF, our story still had struggles and included a fear of lost opportunities. But that’s another story for perhaps, another time.
So, yes. When I found out I was having identical twins, I too was surprised to discover just how much of a fluke…or dare I even say, a miracle…they actually are.
At around week 20 of my pregnancy, this is what I found out:
- The causes of identical (monozygotic) twinning are unknown. Why an egg splits to produce two (or more) embryos is – for lack of a better term – an abnormal process. Hence, identical twins can happen to anyone.
- Identical twins do not run in families. There is no evidence that suggest identical twins are caused by hereditary traits.
- Fertility enhancing drugs or IVF treatment is not generally a direct influence to the production of identical twinning.
And these are the facts I’ve chosen to stick with.
Yet, as I scour through the interwebs, I see that people are still in search for some rationality.
There is a plethora of stories talking about high incidences of identical twins in certain families. Cases submitted by those who are trying to “figure it out” and argue that there are definite causes for identical twinning.
But why does there need to be an answer ?
Just as there are still a small number who decide not to find out the sex of their baby until its arrival – claiming it’s one of the few surprises left in life – why do we need to try and resolve something that’s always been unknown ?
I’ve stopped asking. I no longer wonder.
I still get frustrated with those who are dissatisfied with my lack of reasoning.
But then, I figure, what does it matter ?
I’ll happily sit back and just enjoy that I’ve been bestowed with one of life’s mysteries.