One of the most important things to consider when choosing to use a donor to help build your family is how to go about telling your future children. There have been studies done that prove the importance of telling them from a young age and not witholding any kind of information from them about their genetics ever. I firmly believe in this and the importance of telling donor conceived children from a young age. First and foremost, not telling them is simply saying that there is something to be ashamed about them and we all know that that is so far from the truth. This concept can be really hard for donor recipients to wrap their heads around. It takes time and there are always going to be parents who just don’t see it this way and keep their children’s story under lock and key. But for us, and so many other donor recipients, we take pride in our story and I know for me, I want Georgia to understand and own her story just as much as we do. We want her to know that every single thing that we did in our journey through infertility was for her, and was from a place of love.
I know that our story is somewhat unique and having a known donor has many benefits, one being that we can keep in contact with each other, have an open relationship, and really become an extended family to each other. Despite all of this, I have always found it very important to begin telling Georgia her story from a young age. Looking at pictures of our donor and her family, teach her their names, and eventually beginning to explain how she came to be have all been part of the plan and from the beginning I knew that I wanted to make a photo book for her so she would have pictures to look at before she could understand words.
This year I decided that it was time to create her book and gift it t0 her for her second birthday. I started with one of our wedding photos. I wasn’t sure how far back I wanted to go with our relationship so I figured a nice wedding photo to open the book up to would work perfect. I wrote it in the words close to what she uses today, referring to myself as mama just as she does, and daddy just as she calls Joe. I told her that after we were married we wanted a baby right away and we tried and tried but we couldn’t get pregnant. I told her that we had doctors help us and shared some photos of piles of needles, me having surgery, and negative pregnancy tests. I know so much of that she won’t understand until she is much older, but I want her to be able to visually see what we went through.
I then went on to explain how I our donor came into our lives and shared some pictures from our first trip to Georgia when we met Amy and her family, and our second trip when we did our transfer. The bulk of the book is actually a documentation of my pregnancy. I talked a lot about my pregnancy and how I felt during our gender reveal, shower, and all of the aspects about pregnancy I didn’t know if I’d ever get to experience.
I shared our maternity photos and the details about how I went into labor and her birth along with some photos of her in her first few months of life and then I ended it and wrote about a full page on the very last page about how much she was wanted and how important she is to us and the rest of her family. I never ever want her to think that she wasn’t wanted or was a “second choice” – I truly believe that the universe placed us on this journey specifically to become parents to her and I hope that she can believe that too.
One day I hope that Georgia can really understand and appreciate all that we went through for her. I know it will take her into her adult years before she really really gets it, when she desires herself to become a mother, that is when she will really understand. But I know that this book will help her to start learning all about who she is and where she came from. It will teach her about the selfless gift and sacrifice made to us by a total stranger (at the time) who felt a calling to help us it will teach her about the love between her parents and how determined and driven they were to overcome one of the hardest obstacles they would ever face, and it will teach her that she was wanted by so so many people besides just her mom and dad.
I hope that this can help someone who may be struggling with this part of their journey or someone who is unfamiliar with this kind of journey and maybe is curious as to if and how we go about telling our donor conceived children. If you ever have any questions about any part of the donor process including life with a donor conceived child, please feel free to reach out to me. I am always happy to answer any questions that I can based on what I have learned from my experiences as a donor recipient and parent to a donor conceived child.