You were always my egg - Mumsrock
Sun, 11 October 2009 | Nance Ellen
Tags: the egg lady, how to tell your child about egg donation, egg donation,
Children's books about infertility
Having finally given birth to my daughter in 2005 after years of "unexplained
infertility", I grappled with the idea of how to tell her one day of her donor egg origins. My husband and I had already decided
we would be in the "tell" camp, although some parents choose not to ever share this information. I feared she would someday,
somehow, learn the truth anyway (kind of how I dealt with my high school drinking misdeeds with my parents, figuring the truth
was better than later discovery) and I feared I would not be around to explain if she learned this on her own many years down
the road. But how and when to tell her such an important part of her literal existence?My daughter was 8 months old when I
had to take a short trip, and being that I had hardly been away from her I was missing her terribly and thinking of her constantly.
I was on a train, and in the way that trains do, I was being lulled into a state of semi-consciousness when the thought occurred
to me to write her a fairy tale. It would be the gentle sort of method to tell her something so personal and difficult for
even most adults to fathom, but if she learned about her special "egg lady" early on, it would seem as if she always knew
this about herself and it would probably be no big deal to her later – at least that is my hope.
Thus, The Egg Lady was born! I wrote my story in the span of an hour –
and tucked it away excitedly, anxious to get home to share it with my husband, the only one who at this stage I could share
it with since our daughter was still so young, and we had shared our journey with no one. My voice cracked as I read it to
him, hearing my words out loud for the first time. His eyes welled with tears, as it brought to the fore the feelings of helplessness
that he had felt, and then the incomparable joy. He said "you have to publish this, you can help other people, too." At first
the idea was daunting, but as I thought about it, I thought he might be right. I would take it one step at a time.
Through an illustrator’s agent I found the most wonderful, sensitive
illustrator. He clearly ‘felt’ the story, and depicted in his illustrations the gentleness and softness and kindness
I was looking for to fit my words. He showed our journey throughout the world looking for our baby (implying but not depicting
our many medical procedures), and our sadness. He showed our love, our many failures, and our frailty. And then one day an
"egg lady", a wonderful donor, came into our lives who wanted to give the possibility of a child to people who could not have
their own. It was difficult to give up my genetic connection, it absolutely was. But what other choice did I have if I wanted
to have a child? I decided then and there that I could handle this – I would carry the child, give birth to the child,
nurture and love the child. I would in every way be his or her mother. There would be medical history we didn’t share,
but I realized in the big picture that that was not important to me. As it was, I take after my father’s side –
did it ever bother me that I don’t resemble my mother? Once I put things in perspective, a donor was the right path
And now that I have a daughter, her twin brothers, and a baby on the way….
I realize that they ARE my eggs. We just came together when it was meant to be.
To buy a copy of The Egg Lady go to www.bittersweetbooks.net
Have you gone down the route of egg donation? Or have you used donor sperm,
how would you tell your children, or would you decide to not tell them? Tell us what you think