I don’t see him so much any more.
Years ago, when the boys were small and made up more of biology than their own individual personalities, I looked for – and found – him all of the time. Anything unfamiliar was attributed to our donor and I would feel this pull of gratitude around my heart that somebody helped us and now, here we were, a family, with his blue-eyed boy laughing up at us, a tiny tribe of me and him. These days, when I look at my children I see themselves, their own quirks and personality, their mother’s expressions fleeting across their own small faces. I don’t see him. I barely think of him.
That’s how I knew that I was ready.
I don’t believe in karma. I don’t believe in balance. And yet sometimes I look around myself these days, at my beautiful partner and my perfect gaggle of children and I think yes, that’s what it was all for. And now I have you. And I wanted to give something back. Don’t get me wrong, quite often I find myself closing my eyes and mouthing silent thanks to all of the gods in whom I don’t believe. And I hope very much that the doctors and nurses who helped to make my babies still read my blog, as they used to, and they feel a sense of pride and satisfaction every time they happen upon a photograph of us radiating joy, a modern love story personified. But he doesn’t read my blog. He doesn’t know who I am.
I wanted to give something back. Not to him. Not to fate. But to the universe. I wanted to open my hands, palms outstretched, and to say, here you are. Take it. And thank you.
I wanted to make a difference. To someone. I wanted to change a life.
I wanted to create one.
We called it Project Omelette. We shared a picnic in my garden, and her son and my children took turns to race their toy cars down the slide. I sat beside her husband and we used an app to analyse our features, to predict what our child would be like. I joked that with our combined genetics, the baby would just be an eyebrow; she promised to love it anyway. And I could just picture it, this baby of theirs with my genetics. Our little scrambled egg. Their little scrambled egg.
It was an easy decision to make.
Women are born with somewhere between tens of thousands to millions of eggs, so I knew that I wouldn’t miss them. And as you will know from following our journey, I am somewhat familiar with the IVF process. Needles don’t faze me much; I’m a whizz at mixing solution with solvent and poking it into myself. I thought about it in terms of injections and blood tests, follicle-stimulating hormone and transvaginal ultrasounds and the euphoric, glorious moment where you can’t believe your own eyes when you stare at a test and it says Pregnant.
There are things that frighten me. Things that occurred to me after I said I will. Perfect, superfluous embryos being discarded – there is something about that idea that makes my heart clench. And I’m terrified to happen upon her at an industry event and to realise that her baby looks like my babies, and to feel some bizarre biological pull toward that child. I am afraid that in ten years’ time, they will find themselves in the middle of a dreadful, acrimonious marital breakdown and this child of theirs, the baby we’ve fought as a team to create, will be cast ashore and drifting and all I’ll want to do is to scoop up that child, him or her, but the child won’t know who I am.
And don’t get me started on my mother. When I told her what we were up to, she gave this aghast shriek and in the space of five minutes, she had this child married to one of my children in a strange Shakespeare-meets-V. C. Andrews plot twist.
But I can give hope. I can give happiness. I can complete a family and provide one of the building blocks that will create a life. I can try.
Because somebody did this for me. I am not doing this for him; I’m doing this because these days, I look at my babies and I don’t even think of him and there is something so beautiful about just getting to be a normal family. I want to give them that.
And I’m doing it for them. I am donating my eggs because Balthazar, Lysander, Embla and Olympia mean the whole world to me, they are the love story I could never have written for myself. I want to help Jules and Steve to write the newest chapter of their love story, the chapter with a brother or sister for little Joshie. I’m doing it because I can’t imagine life without my four.
I can’t wait for you to follow our journey over on the Channel Mum page.