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.