Do your kids have a right to know?

In writing “I Can’t Wait to Meet You” I naively assumed that most families would want to share their child’s conception with them at some point in their life. I was informed of the birds and the bees at the ripe old age of 6years old.  I was one of the first around me to know the facts of how babies were made. My mother’s choice to arm me with the actual facts of baby making were only a positive in my young life.

It left me confident and secure of a very big and murky topic for any 6 year old.  My Mother took away anyone’s right to hand me false information, such as my best friends theory of “the stork flies in at night and drops off the baby.” It did not cause me any angst or embarrassment to know the facts of life,  It only empowered me and made me feel proud that my mother would share the truth with me and that I wasn’t a baby.

Most parents are faced with the issue of “how did I get here Mommy and Daddy? “ at some point in their child’s early development.

We live in a world where anything is possible. We can now carry phones in out pockets and fax from our cars if we choose to.

We are not left without choice’s as was the case when my mother was trying to conceive. The world of fertility was close to non-existent. I think they could blow your tubes if you were unable to get pregnant as a last resort. Many women were left to feel damaged and a failure if they could not have a family. And often times accepted their fate and lived their life without the much wanted and needed family. Yet there is a shame stigma attached to not having children. Even in today’s society there is a sense of loss for the person who has missed out on the experience of being a mother.

I am so grateful that I live in a world full of possibilities. That when I could not become pregnant there were choices made available to me if I decided to use them. In my time of trying to get pregnant I met so many woman who were all in the same position I was.

We had no control over how long the process of having a baby would take. And if it would actually ever happen at all?

Once I did become pregnant I felt the one thing I was in control of was how I would explain my child’s conception to them. I wanted it to be an exciting conversation while also explaining the intricacies of IVF. I feel that knowledge is power. That being wanted and loved can only make a child more secure in  themselves. I feel that every child should know the story of how they came to be. And each child has a unique story that is theirs.

The thought of needing to tell a child about IVF upsets and challenges some parents way of thinking. One gynecologist I spoke with said that “ there is no need to tell a child ever about IVF.” I must admit that this ruffles my feathers a bit. It as if there is shame attached to disclosing IVF to a child. As if their might be something wrong with the process. And that a child could not possible understand the complications of it.

My feeling is that keeping something a secret even if it is not seen that way is possibly more harmful to a child. The old adage of “what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you.” Children are so intuitive and even if they don’t say something does not mean they haven’t picked up on a feeling. And the feeling is about them. And that feeling translates into a negative image about themselves.

It can be likened to adoptions where children were not told so they could be protected. But isn’t it the parent who is protecting themselves at the end of the day.  Men are particularly resistant to sharing the information of how their children were conceived through IVF. This is a sweeping generalization but I have spoken to a few dads who are perplexed at what it is I am talking about. “What’s to tell. I do not want to upset or make my child feel weird.” This leaves me thinking that the process did not happen to their actual body. And the complexity of conceiving through IVf is often a distant memory for the father. Yet for the Mother the recall of the process stays with us forever.

I clearly lean towards disclosure but I feel that way about most things in my life.

I do feel that honesty is the best policy as trite as that might sound. And I am left wondering about parents that choose not to disclose their children’s origins what else are they not telling?