Abigail “Abby” Loraine Hensel and Brittany Lee Hensel captivated the world when they were born on March 7, 1990.
As dicephalic parapagus twins, Abby and Brittany have two separate heads and necks, but their bodies are joined.
They share vital organs like the circulatory, reproductive, and digestive systems.
From crawling and clapping to driving and teaching, the twins have learned to coordinate with each other and live their lives to the fullest.
Their story is one of resilience, determination, and the power of sisterly love.
Early Life: Learning to Coordinate
When Abby and Brittany were born, doctors did not expect them to survive.
However, the twins defied the odds. As infants, their parents had to carry them in one arm to avoid them hitting their heads together.
As they grew older, Abby and Brittany learned to crawl, walk, clap, and even play patty cake by coordinating their arm and leg movements.
Their parents, Patty and Mike Hensel, encouraged Abby and Brittany to develop their own interests and identities.
While the twins shared one body, their parents wanted them to become distinct individuals.
Abby developed a more reserved, introverted personality while Brittany was more outgoing and outspoken.
Growing Up Together: School, Friends, and Family
Abby and Brittany attended public school in their hometown of New Ulm, Minnesota.
They participated in activities like volleyball and cycling and made many friends.
As conjoined twins, Abby and Brittany attracted attention, but they tried not to let their condition define them.
At home, the twins shared a room but had separate beds.
They enjoyed different foods, TV shows, and clothing styles.
Abby and Brittany learned to compromise when making decisions.
If one twin was sleeping, the other could still engage in activities.
The tight-knit Hensel family treated the twins as individuals.
Learning Life Skills: College, Careers, and More
After graduating high school, Abby and Brittany attended Bethel University in Minnesota. Impressively, they each earned their own teaching degree.
The twins learned to study and take tests independently.
They also took turns writing essays and assignments.
As adults, Abby and Brittany alternate control of their shared body.
They learned to drive a car together, with each twin controlling one side of the steering wheel.
The twins can type on a keyboard, use a phone, do chores, and play sports by coordinating their hands and arms.
Professionally, Abby and Brittany worked as teachers. They inspire elementary students with their determination and unique perspective.
Outside work, the twins have traveled, given interviews, and even starred on their own reality show.
Health Considerations and Future Outlook
Conjoined twins face many medical issues, and Abby and Brittany are no exception.
They have one set of organs and have to coordinate going to the bathroom.
Brittany was born with scoliosis. When one twin gets sick, it directly impacts the other.
Separation surgery would be extremely risky for Abby and Brittany.
The twins are generally in good health and will only consider separation if their lives depend on it.
They do not let their condition stop them from enjoying life together to the fullest.
As young women, Abby and Brittany look forward to what the future holds.
They want to continue teaching, advocating for others like them, traveling the world, and spending time with family.
Most importantly, the Hensel twins will rely on each other. Their bond as sisters is unbreakable.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Twins
How do Abby and Brittany get dressed and ready in the morning?
While their movements have to be coordinated, Abby and Brittany are able to dress themselves and get ready independently.
They each control one arm and leg. The twins have different fashion tastes and separate wardrobes.
What are some activities Abby and Brittany enjoy doing together?
Abby and Brittany enjoy bowling, swimming, playing musical instruments like the piano, and riding bikes together.
Doing activities together takes compromise and teamwork between the twins.
Do Abby and Brittany have separate identities and social lives?
Yes, the twins have very distinct personalities and interests. Abby is more reserved while Brittany is outgoing.
They have different sets of friends and sometimes attend different social events. The twins respect each other’s differences.
What are some challenges Abby and Brittany face?
Abby and Brittany face physical challenges like scoliosis and coordinating their body movements.
They also deal with the stares and questions of strangers. However, the twins have never let obstacles prevent them from thriving.
Why don’t Abby and Brittany consider separation surgery?
Separation surgery would be extremely risky for the conjoined twins.
Since they are healthy and happy together, Abby and Brittany opt not to chance dangerous operations unless absolutely necessary to save their lives.
The phenomenal story of Abby and Brittany demonstrates how two sisters can live full, enriching lives together despite extraordinary circumstances.
With resilience and optimism, the twins have achieved their dreams side-by-side. Abby and Brittany’s unbreakable bond is inspiring.