Twins Run in the Family

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Categories Family, Fraternal, Friendships with Other Multiples, Identical, Multiple Types, Other people, Perspective, Relationships

“Do twins run in the family?” is one of those questions that have many a MoM rolling her eyes.

In our case, I can honestly say that they do, at least in my ex-husband’s family.

Adult identical sisters hold 4-year-old identical sisters.
These two sets of identical twins are cousins. Specifically, they are first cousins, twice removed. (I had to look that up.)

I know that there isn’t a biological basis that anyone’s been able to explain for identical twinning being genetic. I still get a kick out of there being another set of identical twins in the family. At least one set of fraternal twins has a mom who’s unrelated, and she’s obviously the one who contributed the eggs that resulted in twins, so it’s not “running in the family” the way people mean. Still, it’s downright cool to have so many twins and triplets.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of my mother-in-law. She has identical twin first cousins, holding my daughters in the photo above. Those cousins’ brother has fraternal twins, who didn’t make it to the reunion where we managed to snap our “multiple multiples” picture below. Obviously, my former mother-in-law has identical twin granddaughters, my sassy and sweet J and M. She also has fraternal triplet nieces, the loveliest young ladies I have the pleasure of knowing. I honestly can’t remember exactly how we’re related to the fraternal boys in the photo, but they’re also twins.

Identical twin women,  teenage triplet girls, 9-year twin boys and 4-year-old identical girl twins make for a nice family photo.
The women in the back row are identical twins. The girls in the middle are J and M’s beloved triplet cousins once removed. The little girls are my identical daughters, M and J. The boys in the front are twin brothers.

The coolest thing about having multiples in the family is the wisdom of the mothers of multiples. It was such a joy to talk to the older identical twins’ mom about her experience of motherhood. It’s her recent passing that has me pondering the family connections. The triplets’ mom has been an indescribable support over the years. She’s been a role model to me. Watching her homeschool her triplets plus one with grace and commitment has given me confidence in my own ability to raise my two daughters. It was in large part observing his aunt nursing his three cousins when he was a pre-teen that helped my ex-husband provide very practical assistance when I was breastfeeding my twins.

I cherish the multiples throughout the extended family, and I love it when strangers ask whether twins run in the family. We have such a great answer!

Does your family have multiple multiples?

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

14 thoughts on “Twins Run in the Family”

  1. My brother and his wife have fraternal twins and I have identical twins- which cracks the entire family up since there are no twins anywhere else in the family lines- yet somehow both my mom’s kids (aka my brother and I) ended up with spontaneous twins. Pretty funny- and a huge support to each other indeed :)

  2. You know I do! I’m a triplet (all girls – no idea if we are all fraternal or if two of the three are identical) and I have twins. But sadly that’s it. It would have been cool if my other sisters also had multiples.

    1. I thought of you when I was writing this post! I’ve been meaning to ask you if you had other relatives who were also multiples.

  3. My great-grandmother on my maternal side, had TWO sets of twins, a set of boys and a set of girls. I don’t know if they were identical, however, but two sets seems to suggest they weren’t.

    However, they usually say if it runs in the family it skips a generation… but that would have been my mother. My mother however, never had a set of twins, despite having eleven pregnancies.

    I am also the only one of my siblings to have twins. My daughters are the only set of twins among my parents’ 25 grandchildren.

    However, my husband’s one and only sibling, his older sister, has identical twins. So, for his parents, both of their kids had twins! Crazy.

    I also have a cousin who had twins, but it’s not super prevalent in my family, despite my great-grandma having two sets!

    1. It seems from the comments that the generation-skipping isn’t all that common for families with multiple multiples. It probably depends on the type of twin.

  4. Yes, my fraternal g/g twins are the 9th set in the past 70 years in my mom’s family. My maternal grandma had twins (sadly they were stillborn), my mom had identical twins, my mom’s brother is dad to fraternal twins (clearly not running in the family), and there are several other sets. At my mom’s family reunion 2 years ago, my 2.5-year-old daughters were just the latest set of twins!

    My daughters are the first set of twins ever on my husband’s side of the family, so we’ve had the benefit of excitement from his family and practical wisdom from my family. Very ideal!

    I am very open about our IVF experience and infertility, but it’s nice to have a “cover” sometimes if I don’t feel like getting into the details or I simply want to enjoy feeling connected with my mom, grandma, and other relatives.

    1. No kidding! The girls’ great aunt always send them the perfect gifts: coordinated, but not matching. I’m sure she learned the hard way with triplets. It’s also lovely to watch the bond between the triplets and the twins. They get each other in a very special way, and the triplets’ older brother has always been more affectionate that you would expect of a typical teenage boy.

  5. its so cool that so many pepole have “twins in the family ” i defenitly do, i myself am an identical twin, my grandmother was also an Id twin , my twin margret also had identical twins and i have had 2 sets of identical twins

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