Answer from: Elli Papadopoulou, BSc
Our response to other peoples’ comments, in any communication situation really, should be seen through the lens of 3 important criteria: First, who are we talking to – is it a close relative, a colleague, or a stranger?
Second, what is the context of our communication – is it an informal chat with our best mate or is it a more public and formal occasion? And finally, what do we want to achieve – do we genuinely want to share our feelings and thoughts, or do we want to move away from the topic as quickly as possible? So, your response to other people’s comments is a combination of all the above…Again, the key here is to have identified your own reason why! When you are absolutely clear about it, no external turbulence can really get to you. Indeed, it so happens that for some of my counseling clients it helps them to rehearse potential responses and interactions, so they feel more comfortable and confident. And that is great! Whatever works for you!
Answer from: Becky Kearns
As I said earlier when people are talking to their friends and family, the hope is that they will understand and they will support that decision and there will be reasons why sometimes you are met with a negative reaction, someone might not agree with this path whether it be for religious reasons or whether it be for cultural reasons. There is an element of discussion that needs to take place between you as a family unit about how much of that information you share. Because we talk about openness and sharing that story, but there’s also got to be that consideration of how people within your circle will react and may react with a child as well. it’s also important to think that there is a line between privacy and secrecy and you are allowed to have your private life and you are allowed to keep some things within your family without keeping their conception a secret.
I think it’s worth talking about where those reactions may come from. I think if possible its good to educate them about this path to parenthood and what that means and whether that be through sharing stories of other people so whether that be through sharing my blog or sharing someone else’s reality to show them what life can be like and even just going back to the research that has been done into these families. Susan Golombok’s research that I’ve mentioned on a previous answer in her book, We are Family, there has been a lot of research into these families and assumptions that were made that there would be a negative reaction or a negative impact on the family which hasn’t been found to be the case, so there are different ways that you can feel depending on the person that you’re speaking to, if they would listen to research if they listen to another lived experience or would it help them to have some resources to understand. Or in some cases would it be best not to have that person within your circle of trust and making those decisions because what I don’t want to say to people is yeah, you can tell everyone and everyone would be fine about it, it’s still a relatively new path to parenthood. I think for many people it’s still something they don’t realize happens, I didn’t even realize people donated eggs before I needed them for myself. This is why I do what I do to try and normalize it and make it more of a conversation and for people to see that families built in this way are no different, on the whole, to any other family.
We just have different things to think about and different conversations to have. But ultimately what’s important is the family, the children and the end result really. There are a lot of things to consider but there is no one size fits all, when it comes to dealing with reactions. If you feel that those reactions are going to have a negative impact on your family and your children then it is good to protect yourselves as a family.
Should you tell people you used an egg donor?
Most people share information about using donors only with close ones? Should you tell others at all? Only in case of medical intervention? How to tell others about donor conceived children?