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Somehow, I’m Going To Have To Tell My Daughter About How She Was Conceived

Image credit: Tierney Bagley

My daughter has the most deliciously plump cheeks. She has hazel eyes and golden hair, with red tints as the light hits it— colors so different from my own—yet it doesn’t stop random people from constantly commenting, “You look just like your mommy!”

The thing that’s far too complicated to explain to these strangers is that my daughter didn’t come from my own eggs. She actually came about after three failed IVF cycles and one failed donor egg cycle in a complicated and emotional fertility journey. And all the tears of happiness and sheer thankfulness that she’s actually here in my arms doesn’t negate the troubled thoughts that run through my head about one day needing to tell her how she came into the world.

Most people wonder how they’ll get through the awkwardness of the sex talk with their children. They read books by experts on how to explain what Mommy and Daddy did to create a baby. But here I am, not only trying to figure out the birds and the bees talk without scarring her for life, but how to explain the fact that she was created in a lab by a team of doctors and that there is a woman out there that donated her eggs to us so my baby could be born.

Just sitting here writing these words makes my head spin.

My daughter is almost two years old and I know I still have time. She’s still so young, but I can’t help but worry. I’m not ashamed of her conception. Nor do I hide it from people. How else can we normalize infertility? But what I worry about is doing it right. Explaining to her, early and often, so that she grows up just knowing it’s normal for her. That it’s no big deal.

The first year of her life, I was just trying to survive life with an infant, so I didn’t think too much about it. But now that she’s on the verge of talking and understands more than I’m realizing, I think it’s time for me to start those conversations.

 

For her sake, as well as my own, I need to check in with my feelings about her conception and figure out how I can explain something like a donor egg treatment cycle to her in simple terms. Most importantly, I need to start bringing it up way more than I am now.

Our story is so different than the norm, and I’m thankful to be surrounded by others who have similar journeys to their children. I’m a part of a community now and I know I can call on some amazing women to help me out when the words to my daughter fail me.

Being the Type A planner that I am, I need to go into this with a game plan. I don’t ever want her to feel ashamed. I want to portray to her how much love went into creating her. How hard we fought to bring her into this world. That no matter what, she was wanted and a true miracle and the greatest love of our lives.

 

This article originally appeared on mom.me.

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16 Comments on "Somehow, I’m Going To Have To Tell My Daughter About How She Was Conceived"

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Jenny
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The librarian in me immediately did a search for children’s books that help explain fertility treatments. I’m sure you’ve probably done the same, but in case you haven’t, I found this list, which looks promising. 🙂

https://creatingafamily.org/infertility/suggested-books-for-adults-and-kids/children-conceived/

Beth
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I get it. My older daughter was conceived via IVF with my egg and my husband’s sperm but the whole IVF scenario is going to come up at some point soon since she’s 6 and we celebrate embryo transfer day. My younger daughter is adopted. She knows she’s adopted as much as a 3 year old can understand. We have explained her “tummy mommy” to her and told her she grew in my heart but that’s not going to be enough forever. And the situation is made more interesting by the fact that my two kids look a lot alike.… Read more »
Amie
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Although I am certainly not in your particular situation I do feel like all of these different routes to conceive are becoming more and more needed and used so I feel like when these kiddos get a little older and even into their adult ages is will just be ‘normal’ ya know?

Amber
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We really should start having these conversations, too. For us, it’s a little different since my sister was our egg donor. I don’t know if that makes it even more complicated, or easier to understand! When people say my daughter looks like me, I tend to just agree rather than say she looks more like her auntie who happens to look just like me. See? Complicated or more simple? I can’t decide. The fact that they were conceived via egg donor has never been something we’ve tried to hide, but it’s also not something we talk about. It’s just not… Read more »
Cristy
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Years ago, Keiko Zoll shared this post. http://www.theinfertilityvoice.com/2011/06/mommys-garden/

I have no idea how to begin this conversation. But I do know that like with adoption, starting sooner than later seems to be the best route. That and you aren’t alone. Thinking of you.

Jane allen
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Oliva seriously looks like you. Like you should be in a study about donor eggs and genetic imprinting. I often think that my IF friends who used donors have kids who look more like them then my daughter looks like me. I loved Erika’s response when she was told that her (adopted) daughter looked like her. Well, she is themost beautiful baby in the world, so that means they’re basically telling me I’m a supermodel. Hope is something you pee on [sorry, I can’t think of the author’s name off hand] described that she started telling her twin sons as… Read more »
Rebecca
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When I started the last round of treatments of donor eggs that gave me my precious daughter I started a baby book. I have baby photos of the donor, myself and my husband in the front along with the embryo photos. Plus writings from myself. I have already shared the book to my daughter before her 3rd birthday to explain that “yes you did hatch from an egg and I have proof!”. LOL The embryo hatching photo made her eyes go round. Start small and work into it. Eventually she’ll understand all the love and commitment that went into creating… Read more »
Holly Benson
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When Becky was carrying Noah and Beckom I wrote a children’s story called “The other owls nest” It was about how my nest was broken and that my eggs had to go to her nest to be safe (I never did anything with the story but plan to read it to Noey and B at some point). I thought that I could go this route for egg donor-same story line, but another bird sharing and egg and the mother bird sitting on it in her nest? I too want my twins to always know their story as normal and that… Read more »
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