When Your Child Has Dozens of Siblings

I once heard that there was once a woman, long ago, who became known as the primordial Eve.  Not by her own people, presumably, as they cannot have known what her descendants would become, but by modern scientists; geneticists who spend their lives in laboratories, examining the immense data of the human genome.

We are all related to her, this Eve, all of us who made our way out of Africa all those thousands of years ago at the dawn of human existence.  She, like her biblical namesake, is quite literally “the mother of all who live.”

I sometimes wonder about her, Eve.  I wonder what her life would have been like back in the cave days, and most of all, I wonder how many children she actually had, that they would later survive to take over the globe as if in the fulfilment of some ancient prophecy.

I wonder if she had more children than Octomom with her Octo-brood; than King Solomon with his seven hundred wives and concubines; than that peasant couple in the 1700s who had 62 children (it’s in the Guinness Book of Records, peeps.  That was a thing).

I wonder if she had more children than Piglet’s donor.

Yes, Piglet is a sort of member of a sort of family that spans the globe, but unlike Primordial Eve, we didn’t need to walk out of Africa on the heels of a retreating ice sheet. We could just log onto Facebook and see them all there; the worldwide family of similar looking children across three continents.

Before having Piglet, the potential implications of using a donor registered as remote flickers of panic on a timeline that already seemed riddled with obstacles.  It didn’t seem worth dwelling on thoughts of tangled family relationships when the possibility of making it even to pregnancy was far from certain.  I had seen women in my situation struggle-sometimes for years-just to get a positive pregnancy test.  I had seen miscarriages, failed fertility treatments and even, in one case, a hideous off the grid operation with no anaesthetic aimed at improving chances of pregnancy.  I was prepared for a long slog, a lottery, an expensive gamble with no guarantees.  And then suddenly I was pregnant.  Fears of failed fertility treatment quickly turned to the terror of miscarriage, stillbirth or something else going hideously wrong.  I hardly dared to consider what the future might hold.  I was taking it one day at a time.

And now, two years on, I still don’t spend my days and nights worrying about what to tell Piglet about his unconventional family set up.  He is happy, and he is loved.  What else could he want to know?  That unlike his friends at nursery, he doesn’t have a father, but instead has thirty-odd half siblings that might one day fill the void?

Fortunately, these siblings are not local.  I say this not because I have any wish to keep them at arm’s length, but because the idea of feeling bound to people I’ve never met by convoluted blood ties is just a little bit too complicated for my brain at this point; my brain which is still coming to terms with motherhood as a concept, and with myself as a member of the Worldwide Sisterhood of Mothers, a sorority that I sometimes feel a fraud to be representing; me, the single mother with no troubled backstory of doomed romance ending in a bitter custody battle, and the breadwinner relying on my mother for childcare, and feeling no sense of kinship with the stay at home mum brigade whatsoever.  Where do I even fit in?  Not with the married mums or the single mums, and certainly not with the stay at home mums.  But that is a story for another day.  Another day where I look at the faces of the Worldwide Siblinghood of Mini-Piglets, and wonder, will he ever fit in with them?  Will they meet up one day, in some neutral location in the middle of an ocean, and swap stories of uncanny similarities and coincidentally parallel life paths, or will they discover their siblings unintentionally, like in a schmaltzy story from a women’s magazine, during a fresher’s week party at university or on a gap year, and suddenly wonder why this new friend looks so remarkably alike?

Or will they simply not care?  This kind of set-up will all be normal by then, right?

One Messy Mama

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely post. As a side point – I’m sure the single mums would welcome you with open arms. I’m in a single mum group which has a few single mums by choice members, most of us wish we’d followed your lead instead of the divorce/ breakdown route – haha! x

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes, it is definitely preferable. I haven’t experienced divorce and I’m sure I don’t want to. Life is definitely easier as a single mum by choice I think

  2. Brandi Puga says:

    This is such a wonderful and interesting post, definitely unique and one that i think should be read by everyone. You are not alone, but you may the bravest of those who have have gone through a situation similar to yours; speaking out and taking pride. I commend you, you are amazing! #globalblogging

    1. Min says:

      Aww thank you! I just hope Piglet isn’t mortified by the whole situation when he’s older.

  3. Wow. This post is fantastically written, so well in fact that I read it to my husband as well! I love it when a post strikes up a conversation between the two of us, and this one certainly did! We get so stuck in our own stories ,the similar stories and it is unbelievingly refreshing to read a post like this! Piglet has a brave, wonderful and loving mom.. Boy will he be proud!! Thank you for sharing your story with us! #globalblogging

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! That’s such a lovely comment, and I’m glad I got you and your husband talking about it. I agree about getting stuck in our own stories. There’s been a lot about that very topic in the media recently and it’s so true.

  4. Love this. To be honest I don’t think anybody really feels like they belong to the motherhood, or do they? Maybe it’s just us. Still getting used to calling myself mom or mommy (but this makes me cringe a bit). I love the way you start off with the part about Eve and delve into the personal story. Your story is so interesting, I do wonder if he’ll grow up and want to meet his other siblings, who knows how many of them are out there! Thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!

    1. Min says:

      I know-it’s actually quite scary thinking about how many there potentially could be. It would be nice to meet them and be part of a big global sort-of family, but we will have to see what Piglet thinks about it!

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