Our girls have no idea what we really think of them. Most kids don’t realise how loved they are. When I told Big Munch she was mummy’s first miracle she sternly replied “No mummy, I’m not miracle. I’m Batman-Elsa!” I love it that over time she will eventually understand what a miracle means. So will we tell our children that they were IVF babies?
Miracle is a funny word. For me it means magical. It’s something that wasn’t supposed to happen but it did. It’s about beating the odds. Most of all, miracle means something precious. There were years when I felt I wasn’t supposed to be a mummy. Going through IVF I felt the stigma (big time). I probably fed this stigma myself. Looking back, if I’d been more open about our IVF plans I would have learnt that IVF was more common. At the time of doing IVF I did wonder if it worked, what would we tell our child when they’re older? If we have a girl is it possible for her to inherit any biological issues? So will I need to tell her that she was an IVF baby and explain why?
We were fortunate that our IVF treatment worked twice and the Munchies now have each other. This helped me to be open about being an IVF mummy after the births. So now, I’m pretty proud of our IVF journeys. It’s also about what we went through together as a couple and what we learnt along the way. I know it’s much easier to feel a bit philosophical about it all now we’ve gone through it. It’s also important to talk about it in case we help others who feel isolated about their journey (like I did). We had to be pretty resilient through IVF and the pregnancies. So why wouldn’t we want to share some of this with our children when they’re older?
I’m not as bothered about what others think about this as I used to be, but I do wonder what the girls will think if they find out they’re IVF babies? Will they find it weird? Will they find it magical? Will be they be curious about how IVF works (and in our case more about natural IVF). Will they feel embarrassed? Oh please don’t let them feel ashamed like I felt when I realised I had to do IVF the first time round. Or will they feel proud? Will they find it comforting that they were both IVF babies? Will they wonder about the scientific side of things? By the time they’re older, maybe IVF will have less stigma attached to it. I know just chatting about it on the blog and through my online and offline communities, I’ve realised it’s becoming more and more common.
Crikey we know how kids and teenagers love to ask questions. If we tell them about their IVF story, they make ask us lots of questions. Why did you have to do IVF? What was it like? How long did it take? Daddy, did you really give mummy 362 injections? Did it hurt and did she cry? What was it like seeing us grow as little embryos? Were you scared going through it? Did you worry every time you had a scan? If they’re at the age when they learn about the birds and the bees, they may question why school didn’t talk about making babies the IVF way. On the other hand, they could be really chilled about it and just think “yeah, cool, thanks for letting us know”. They may even have mates who are also IVF babies.
We associate lots of things and even places with our IVF journeys. Our IVF clinic the CRGH was based in Kings Cross at the time so we now love taking the girls down to that part of town. I’m pretty sentimental and still remember what I was wearing to the clinic for different procedures. I will always remember the tunes on our playlist for “IVF medication time”. We have the scan pictures of the embryo where it looks like a gem. These are some things that would be nice to share with the girls.
I guess if we tell them, we will will have the take the risk and just respect however they react and feel. I’m obviously hope they feel proud. They weren’t supposed to be here, but we followed a different journey to the majority. We sometimes joke how as minuscule embryos they were like superheroes, determined to fight their way through the odds of IVF. They reached their final destination. Like the 2012 London Olympics when we did our first round of IVF, they made it through the different heats and across the finish line (in their own time of course). In our hearts they’re legendary and they’re fighters.
So, yes, we have decided to tell our two girls they are IVF babies. I don’t yet know when would be a good age to chat about it. It’s good for them to know about the journey we went on and where we ended up. It’s good for them to know that IVF gave us a chance and helped to create our little family. After all, they will always be our babies however they ended up in my tummy.
If you’d like to read more about our IVF journey, it’s just a quick click away.
What do you think? What are the pros and are there any cons to telling kids about their IVF stories? What would you do? Do you think there’s stigma attached to going through IVF? Leave a comment below. There are lots of things I wonder about, so would love to hear your thoughts too…
This blog post was selected as Mumsnet Bloggers Network Blog of the Day on Tuesday 24 January 2017.
Thanks to Katrina Campbell Photography for capturing the above photo of Big Munch and Toddler Munch at one of the Mama Meets at Olive Loves Alfie East. I’m talking about Career, Confidence and Motherhood at the OLA MAMA event at Olive Loves Alfie East, London E20 on Thursday 2 March 2017 11-1pm. Babies and children are welcome too! Click here for more info.