Now I’m a bit emotional these days what with the hormones going a bit wild but this article appeared on my news feed a couple of times lately and I took a lot of comfort in the content. It’s a message from a grown up IVF baby conceived through embryo donation and it’s lovely.
I have at times struggled a bit with the fact that we used donor eggs to make the twins and that I’ll never have my own genetic children. Whilst I broadly came to terms with using donor eggs a couple of years ago there was still a residual upset over it even once I became pregnant. Over the last few weeks I’ve made a bit of a mental breakthrough in my feelings following some very late night soul searching and tears. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still feel jealous of those who conceive easily and that I won’t always have a little sadness about having to choose this route to becoming a parent. And I’ll never have a mini me in the traditional sense – though actually when you start to think that through it’s a narcissistic thing to think that your children will or should be mini you’s! They should be mini themselves!
I am also very grateful to have had the option of using donor eggs. More recently I’ve felt a relaxing in my feelings towards my pregnancy itself and an acceptance and more joy at being pregnant after a tension filled first trimester and a tentative start to my second. As I’m in the third trimester and the babies kicks become harder and I see the ripples across my stomach my attachment to them has got stronger. They are my children and I love them already, and I realised that I always have, ever since that first pregnancy test, before I knew there were two, when I thought I was going to lose them when I bled, and when I saw they were still there. Because of my history I put those feelings into a little box and closed the lid – I didn’t really let myself feel the love at first. The feelings were fighting with a need to come to terms with and process much of the last few years. I had a very well developed method of self preservation. I have been more open about our infertility struggles in the last couple of years and as part of that I have been told how resilient I am, how well I’ve coped with my miscarriages, with the years of injections, with the hope, the failure and the eternal sadness. I did cope. But only in part because I repressed a lot of my emotions. But then I saw my husband start to fall apart and I knew we couldn’t continue like this – emotionally, physically and financially we needed to draw a line. The last cycle really was the last one.
I guess this is a very long winded way of saying that being pregnant has forced me to confront and work through all these feelings in a way that I’ve avoided in the past – even when I was having counselling – I’m very good at avoiding talking about things I don’t want to discuss!
As part of this I do want to tell my brothers very soon that the twins are from donor eggs (my sister and my parents know as do a few very close friends). I’m actually not worried about that conversation. I just haven’t got round to it yet. I know they will all be very accepting and I know this because of the way we all feel about my niece. My niece is not genetically related to my brother who is her dad, or to my other brothers and sister or to my parents, her grandparents, because my brother is technically her step dad. He brought her up from the age of 3, she calls him dad and even though she now has a relationship with her biological dad she’s also firmly a part of my family and is treated no differently than her siblings who are related to all of us genetically. I’ve always found it especially touching to see my parents relationship with her – they were super excited to become her grandparents and they have also been super supportive of our decision to use donor eggs. In many ways the way my family are with my niece sealed my decision to use donor eggs.
I know that there are potentially emotional and difficult conversations ahead. I think much of my fear has to do with how my children will react to the fact they were conceived by donor eggs and how they will feel about me, their mum. But I can’t control that. We just have to do our best as parents. For us that means being honest with them from an early age. And this means we may need to tell others around us more about our route to becoming parents.
But for now I’m relaxing into my pregnancy finally and starting to feel quite excited about meeting our little ones. I’ll always have some fears about the future but actually parenting is scary anyway! At the moment the prospect of coping with twins is more pressing and all consuming! More of that another time.