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Our Real and Our Fantasy Children

a blog by Ellen Glazer, July 15, 2013

When you were thinking about becoming a mother or father, you probably fantasized about what you child would be like. Everybody does. I think that most of the time, partners focus on the traits they like best in themselves and in each other, and imagine a child who combines the best of both of them. After all, it is much easier, exciting and more natural to picture a child with your beautiful eyes and his great hair or your athletic ability and his musical talent than it is to imagine a child who has your anxiety and his stubbornness, your Uncle Fred’s schizophrenia genes and his Aunt Sally’s paranoia. You get the picture.

Our real children are not the children of our fantasies. They are not exactly who we expected, but, as parents, we realize that our task is to love them for who they are and not for who they are not. This is a challenge for most parents but I think all the more so for donor conception parents. While other parents can celebrate differences with a sense of curiosity and wonder, you may be more inclined to experience disappointment. If you had an anonymous donor, you may be wondering whether your child has inherited some of his less appealing traits from the donor. You may feel added sadness that some qualities you’d hoped to see in your child seem to be missing.

I encourage parents through egg donation to realize that all parents deal with disappointment. As much as we love our children, they are always different in some way from what we wanted and hoped they would be. And that, in many ways, is the magic of parenthood.


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