Defining Mum, The power of sharing

Sarah’s Story – Telling the Child

I’m Sarah, a 46 year old mum to a 6 year old son, conceived in northern Cyprus by anonymous egg donation. When my husband and I initially embarked on the donor conception part of our journey, we were adamant that we would not tell our child how he had been conceived.  However, as soon as I got pregnant and the dream of having a child became a reality, my thoughts began to change.  We’d told my parents, my brother and my husband’s sister.  My friends who I’d met online from infertility forums (one of whom is his Godmother) also knew.  How could I keep something from our child, when people who it didn’t even effect knew? I really hadn’t thought it through!   As my pregnancy progressed it was clearer in my mind that we would tell our child as much information as we could about his conception and about the wonderful woman who gave us the cell which enabled us to give him life.

As soon as he was born, I felt an instant bond.  I knew that this little boy in my arms was MY baby.  My very talented friend had made me a book with photographs, telling his story from conception to birth.  She included photos of us in Cyprus along with quotes that she’d secretly taken off a secret group I’d set up to keep my ‘infertility friends’ updated.  They’d held my hand through 6 cycles of clomid, 4 IUIs, 3 own egg IVFs and I needed their love and support now, more than ever!  This book, with its photos and actual words spoken by me, has been an invaluable tool in telling him from a very young age.

We’ve read it at bedtime. We’ve talked about how Mummy was poorly and didn’t have any seeds to make a baby.  How the doctor found Mummy and Daddy a very kind lady who said that we could have one of her seeds.  How they mixed her seed with Daddy’s seed and how it started to grow into a baby.  How the doctor put that tiny, microscopic baby into Mummy’s tummy and how he grew and grew.  How I felt him kick me for the very first time, how he used to wriggle in my tummy keeping me awake at night – which he finds highly amusing!

As I said, he’s now six years old and enjoys reading his special book.  He came with his Dad to pick me up from Becky’s baby shower.  He was only 3, but he knew then that Becky was having an extra special baby just like him.  When he met Mila, he knew he was going to meet that special baby.  To this day, when we talk about it, he’ll say ‘Mila’s extra special, just like me isn’t she mummy?’  In the summer I’m hoping we’ll have chance to meet up with Becky, Mila, Eska and Lena.  I think it helps him to know that there are other children who were conceived in the same way that he was.

We were recently laid in bed having a cuddle and the subject came up.  He said ‘Mummy, which bits of me are like Daddy and which bits of me are like you if I didn’t come from your seed?’

We talked about how his hair and his face are just like Daddy’s and how him and Daddy both love Lego, Mr Bean and fixing things.  Then we moved onto me.  We both like chocolate, Harry Potter and cuddling.  We both have a birthmark in exactly the same place.  We both sit with our 2ndtoe tucked under our big toe because its comfy???  We both get cross in the same way but neither of us sulk like Daddy 😉

That was enough for him! I find that complete honesty in a way he can understand, is the only way to be.  I never ignore his questions but just answer them in the best way I know how. His ‘special lady’ does come up in conversation, but not often.  He’s more excited about how special he is and how he’s made Daddy and I so very happy.

My son and I have the most incredible relationship.  He’s definitely a Mummy’s boy.  He is my world and I could not love him more if he were genetically mine.  I remember saying to Becky before she had Mila, how insignificant genes were and how they really don’t matter.  Then I remember meeting her after she’d had Mila.  I just looked at her and said ‘they really don’t matter do they?’  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and simply said ‘No, they don’t’.  No more words were needed to know that here were two women, who could not be more in love with these two children.

I know that as he gets older he’ll understand more about how he was conceived.  All I can do is answer every question he asks me with complete honesty.  It took three people to give him life and I am forever grateful to our donor.  But without my husband and I, that cell would have gone to waste as part of a normal, monthly cycle.  We gave that cell life and the little boy who is that life is the most incredible person I have ever met.  I am truly blessed.

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