Talking with Ages 2-3 / 2-3 year olds
Express Your Feelings, have fun.
At this toddler age, parents are still the center of your child's world, but are beginning to discover the bigger world around them, and this includes other people. Toddler years are challenging as they are exploring their world. We liked to take every opportunity to build on the topic of their birth story in common events, such as driving past the doctors' office. "Oh there's the doctors office we went to when I had to get help to have you." We wanted to keep it simple, fun, expressing more of the feelings than the facts.
"We are sooo thankful and soooo happy that you are part of our family! We have been wanting you and loving you a loooong time before you were born. When got help from a doctor, and help from a donor, and then mommy got pregnant with you! Your daddy took extra good care of mommy while you were growing inside mommy. Then after a while YOU were BORN! And we were SOOOOO HAPPY! Our dream had come true!"
"Babies are usually made from a little part of a mommy and a little part of daddy, and because mommy wasn't very well, she needed some help from another woman, who gave her the part your mommy needed. So, you were made from a little part of daddy and a little part from our helper woman."
Toddlers really love to hear stories about themselves and especially how they were born. We noticed this immediately with our children and took it as an opportunity to incorporate their third party conception into their birth story. We began a family custom, that on their birthday we would always tell their birth story. And the older they got, the more fun we had as they would ask for more detail.
Telling funny stories about their earliest years keeps everything light and happy. For example: "Remember Mateo the time when you were about 6 months old? At that time, you had been eating a lot of spinach and had gotten so strong! Sleepy mommy set you down on the kitchen table while you were still strapped into the car seat. When your mommy turned to set the grocery bag down, you had rocked yourself in that car seat so hard that you flipped yourself right off the table and onto the floor! Mommy looked and saw you and the whole car seat upside down! You about gave her a heart attack until she turned you over - and you were laughing! Do you remember that? Not a scratch on you, you were laughing!" And the kids would love it, and squeal and laugh and laugh. "Now me, tell me about me!" the other ones would eagerly ask.
By starting to tell your child (ren) early in life about their birth story, in a joyful and positive way, it is likely that they will not remember a time when they did not know about how they came to be, or that donor conception is anything other than an ordinary part of their story.
Can you share how early it was in your child's life when you first told them. How did you first approach this conversation with them?