A Very Big Parenting Challenge

This post first appeared on The Butterfly Mother as part of her guest blogging series on parenting challenges.

The biggest parenting challenge that I faced was my very first one.

Let’s take it right back to the beginning here. Let’s take it right back to….

Conception.

I know, TOTES INAPPROPES, right?

Well no, actually. See my child was an immaculate conception. No wonder his initials are JC. He wasn’t born in a stable, nor was he visited by wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (THANK GOD. Who wants myrrh?) but as for his biological father….well, he may as well be the Holy Spirit, for I have never met him.

My son is donor conceived.

For me, the biggest challenge was simply getting the chance to have a child at all.

Many of us face challenges in the course of our parenting journeys (I’m sorry, I just had to use the J word. I know it’s cheesy. I know I sound like a contestant on a reality show auditioning their dog for a part in a musical version of The Wizard of Oz, where they get to play the starring role of Dorothy’s dog. This was a real thing, people. An actual thing).

Anyway, back to the Journey.

Some people find the love of their life, only to find that they cannot conceive; others conceive but cannot carry to term; others face a myriad of challenges once their children are here. I have come to realise that no one has the Happy Ever After so beloved of the classic Disney fairytale.

For me, the challenge was that I never found that great love, the one I wanted to settle down with, to be the father of my hypothetical children. Or maybe he never found me. Maybe we found each other, but we passed like ships in the night. Who knows? I was sick of wondering whether he was out there at all. If I wanted a job, I applied for one, if I wanted to go somewhere, I went. Why did having a baby have to be different? Why did it seem to hang so tenuously on the random hand of fate?

So I made a decision, a decision to cut out the middleman-or rather, to add in quite a few in the form of doctors, nurses and embryologists-and have a baby with donor sperm.

It turns out that choosing a donor is a bit like choosing a Tinder date, but without the sleazy conversation. Swipe right, and you’ll find The One.

Sometimes I look at my son and I wonder about his genetic heritage. Did he get his tendency to throw his toys out of the pram-quite literally-from the donor? Is this a sign of some sort of familial tendency to violence about which I should be alarmed, or is it just a natural part of being a toddler? What about his current obsession with football, and JCBs? Is the donor a mechanical digger-driving footballer, or is this, again, just a typical trait of the average eighteen month old? Why are his eyes such a beautiful shade of hazel-blue, when I barely knew such a colour existed, in my almost exclusively brown-eyed family? And what about his many international siblings-some known, and some unknown. Will they all meet up one day and have some great family reunion on the Equator, or similar neutral location, or will my son shun his genetics and his unusually extended donor family, and see the whole thing as some sort of embarrassment, that’s best left unsaid?

I know that all these challenges are still to come, and I look forward to them with equal amounts of anticipation and anxiety. I can only hope that my son knows how much he was wanted, and how much he is loved.

I also know that I was lucky. I know others who have had long, tortuous journeys to parenthood via this route, encompassing failed IVFs, and plenty of heartache. My Journey was relatively short.  It was, however, by a long, long way, the best journey I have ever taken.

A challenge that was definitely worth it.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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35 Comments Add yours

  1. I think it’s really brave and actually very cool that you decided to do it this way rather than miss your chance to become a mother. As for the love of your life there’s still time to meet him x

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I hope so! x

  2. I think every situation (unless you’re 2:4 family) has it’s difficulties. My four year old struggles with the fact that he can’t spend all his time with Daddy even though he has never lived with him and in fact they’ve only lived in the same country and had a relationship for the past year. I was happier when he lived abroad hahaha but I have to remind myself it’s not ALL about me lol. Great post #justantherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. Yes you’re right. I think there’s no such thing as the “perfect” family. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hats off to you lovely! I admire your determination to go out there and get what you want! Your son is a very lucky little man to have such a strong and inspirational Mum!

    Dawn x
    #justanotherlinky

  4. Pen says:

    I could agree more: there is no such thing as the fairy tale or happy ever after ending. and who would want that anyway? I for one would be bored out of my brains. Cygnet is also obsessed with diggers and footballs at the moment (I think we’ve previously established that Cygnet and Piglet are about the same age – 19 months ) so I think it is quite typical. unless of course they share a father… Who knows? Loads of love Pen X

    1. Min says:

      Haha, very true-life is definitely more interesting this way! Yes, Cygnet and Piglet are the same age. Also obsessed with fire engines. He caught sight of one through a door that was slightly ajar today, and went wild! Thanks for commenting. x

  5. Wow! This is so cool! I am all for people doing things for themselves, whatever they may be. You are so right, you’d not have to wait for anyone else’s input for most things so why should this be any different! Your son is very lucky, he’ll always know just how much you wanted him. #stayclassy

  6. Aargh, also hate the ‘J’ word … but love this post. You are a trailblazer. I have friends who are going through VERY hard times and ‘immaculate conception’ is one of their options. I wish they’d do it (might very well show them this post). Congratulations on obviously making the right choice for you – and second the fact that your son is VERY lucky. #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes, one of the reasons I started this blog is so that if others are thinking of taking the plunge, they can read my journey and have a bit of an idea about it (not that there’s any difference between being the parent of a donor-conceived child and being a parent of any other child!) If you go right back to the beginning of this blog, the first posts are when I had literally just decided to do it (although no one ever read them, as it was a private blog back then).

  7. Love that you decided to go for it. I would have done the same thing if I hadn’t found someone and (accidentally) had a child a bit too early ; ). …wait I don’t think I’m supposed to say it was an accident??.. I’m on the list of off the grid pregnancies too, although it’s much more common to have somewhat of a “Knocked Up” experience. Anyway, I think you are so brave ! It made me laugh when you said that it was like going through Tinder!! Such a unique and awesome experience. Go girl! Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for commenting and hosting! It actually was like a dating website. People always find that funny but it really was!

  8. I think you are really brave and you are right, your son is so lucky and will grow up knowing how much he was wanted and loved. As for finding a true love, I met my other half 2 weeks before his 40th birthday – he always tells me he had come to terms with the fact that he’d never meet someone again, but we fell in love unexpectedly and 6 years later have a little girl. Makes life that little bit more interesting 🙂 #StayClassy

    1. Min says:

      That’s a lovely story-gives me hope! Thank you. x

  9. I love this. My wife and I had a baby using donor sperm from a known donor, so we face some of the same challenges. Lovely post 🙂
    #bigpinklink

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for commenting. Always lovely to hear from someone in a similar situation (I assumed as much from the name of your blog!)

  10. I am going for IVF this year with egg donation. We have also adopted. The worry over what questions our child/ren will have in the future is huge but I hope we are able to help them appreciate that so many families are made in so many different ways and that all are ok. That we were all meant to be together just in different way’s. Love your story #bigpinklink

    1. Min says:

      I think this sort of thing is becoming more and more popular. I’m pretty sure that by the time our children are old enough to be asking questions, they will know others who are in the same situation and it won’t seem so unusual.

  11. laura dove says:

    I think this is an amazing thing to do, and something which I also would consider had I thought that perhaps I would miss out on the chance to become a mother. Far too many women live with regret as they reach an age where the chance for babies never happened, I think using a donor and bringing a baby into this world into a loving home can only ever be a good thing. #bigpinklink

    1. Min says:

      I agree, thank you. I knew that I would have regretted it if I hadn’t taken the opportunity while I had it, and I didn’t want to live the rest of my life regretting it. No matter how many times people told me that not having children wasn’t the end of the world, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t what I wanted, and so regardless of how many happy childfree people there are out there, I wouldn’t be one of them.

  12. Mai says:

    Great to hear your story, especially since I’m just starting out! And if I am fortunate enough to have a child in the end, I’m sure I will have similar questions running through my head about the donor I chose. JC comment made me laugh 🙂

    1. Min says:

      Ooh best of luck in your journey! Will have a look at your blog. Thanks for commenting.

  13. I love the positivity here! So amazing that you feel that this is the best ‘journey’ you’ve ever taken, and it was a great insight into your feelings about your situation. I still take my hat off to you, (I’m sure you also hate the word ‘brave,’ as you were really just doing something you’d wanted to do,) but I’m not sure I could’ve done the parenting thing alone. But maybe that’s because I’ve got children now, maybe if my situation was the same as yours, I’d never know any different! So inspiring that you went out and got what you wanted, despite not having ‘conventional’ circumstances. They’re becoming a thing of the past anyway!
    Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink!

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. Yes, I think less conventional circumstances are becoming more and more common. I know quite a lot of people who’ve taken this route-although I met them all through being a single mother by choice myself, so it’s probably still not as common as I think. Thanks for hosting and commenting!

  14. What a great story and I’m so happy that you decided to become a mommy even without having another half. They are honestly more stress than they are worth quite honestly but that’s probably because mine is on my last nerve this week. I can only begin to imagine all the wonders that come with having a donor and all that entails. Kudos to you. #bigpinklink

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. Yes, sometimes I do feel as though it’s the easier option, as I certainly don’t have the stress that comes with a relationship and having to compromise all the time! I do miss out on help and support from a partner, but to be honest I do have my family who are fantastic.

  15. Sassy says:

    I love your go get it attitude! Just because you haven’t found love yet, does not mean you won’t… never give up hope! But it sounds to me like you have a perfect little family as you are, I’m sure piglet Will see you as a strong independent woman, because that is what you are 🙂 xxx #BigPinkLink

    1. Min says:

      Aww thank you! You’re right-I shouldn’t give up hope. The funny thing is, I’m actually happier now than I was when I was always looking to meet someone, and I’m sure the main reason for that is because the pressure’s off, now that I have a baby.

  16. Loved reading this as I think you are so brave! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I get called brave a lot, but I’m not sure if that’s the word I would use. I’ve always been one to do things on my own, so I guess this is no different really!

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