I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now, especially since Jana Rupnow and I talked about it in a recent episode of Three Makes Baby podcast – click here to listen. It was another ‘lightbulb moment’ for me and a concept that really lessened some of the fears I’d previously had around the donor. I spoke about my feelings and how, at times (more-so in the past), the mention of the donor had sparked some deep-rooted feelings of fear. Even writing it down feels somewhat silly in a way, especially now that we have built such strong bonds, but as you know I always like to be open and honest in the hope that it will help others who might be feeling this way.
In society much of what defines a mother seems to centre around genetics, similarities in looks, traits that we share …”I take after my Mum” and we grow up with the assumption that this is what it will be like for us. In reality, when we have to accept the loss of our own genetics, we too have to accept the introduction of someone else’s, and be comfortable to share this with our children. The logical part of my brain knows that there is so much more to being a Mum than the genetic link, something that grows stronger every day I spend with our girls, but it hasn’t completely stopped me feeling uncomfortable at the mention of the donor. One example being when I read Happy Together Children’s Book to Mila, I definitely noticed myself feeling more uncomfortable and emotional when we reached the page talking about the donor.
One thing I had struggled to understand and feel comfortable about is the way in which our girls might process the information about me and another lady. Personally, I’ve never had to do this, with all I’ve ever known being a genetically related mother and father, an uncomplicated conception which fits society’s ‘norm’. Jana explained it perfectly, from her own personal experience as an adoptee but also as an adoptive mother – that it is possible to hold “two places”, both important, but two very different places, with a clear distinction over who is ‘mum’.
It might feel a strange concept for me to get my head around, but if it is all they’ve ever known it should be natural for our girls to create these places, with their understanding of the roles cemented through their everyday experiences with us and the story that we tell. It all sounds so simple when I write it down but I’m sure I won’t be the only one that has felt this way – which is why I share!
So, I now know that this fear is linked to what Jana calls ‘parental legitimacy’ (have a read in Jana’s book, “Three Makes Baby”), it’s a fear that I will feel less of a mother when references are made to the donor. For me, our girls cannot ever be replaced and genetics really don’t matter, but the fear has always been about the other way around. I’m now reassured that it can quite easily be a natural way of thinking for our girls by introducing it at an early stage. I know that no-one can replace the time I’ve spent with our girls since they were placed within me as an embryo, the growing, the birth, feeding them, changing their nappies, singing to them, feeding them, comforting them when they’re hurt, loving them more than anything, and being part of all of their childhood memories. This comforts me and takes away this fear as I now understand how this can be possible from their perspective, I will always be their Mum, they’ll just also hold a place for their donor too.
Love, Becky x