Talking with Ages 0-1
0-1 year olds
Babies understand their world through the relationships that they form with their closest caregivers - usually their parents. A process that happens naturally and slowly with increased familiarity and recognition by you responding to their needs. Babies might not understand the meaning of words but they will enjoy being talked to and smiled to and held and they are constantly picking up on all the communication cues and feelings between the two of you.
This age is the perfect time and an ideal opportunity to practice, practice practice. Become familiar with the language of donor conception. Words such as "helper person" "donor" "donor conceived" "third party conception" "family building" "sperm" "egg" "embryo" "gamete" . A good place to learn more terminology is through RESOLVE.org. Imagine yourself easily and nonchalantly talking to your baby about their birth story. Babies are very forgiving, as you too should be with yourself. Being a new parent is full of "firsts" and this conversation is just one of many to come. Talking with your baby at this point is more about your comfort level, your ease and allowing yourself to feel good about it.
It's understandable to be apprehensive, of course it is. It can be quite a scary and challenging thing but in the end the important thing is to tell kids early, so it becomes something that they've always known.
Ten years ago there wasn't as much information on disclosure as there is now, so we were pretty much on our own. We started practicing/saying it out loud on their first birthdays, to just see how it would sound, to see what words we would use. It’s almost like we got a few trial runs at it while they were so young. We got to experiment with how it felt and have it really begins to sink in. So that by the time they got to be three - we felt much more confident doing it. We got over that initial anxiety ourselves, and then it got much easier, and now we want to help other parents.
Disclosure is important, but at the same time it has nothing to do with our daily lives or their daily lives, so that it’s important on a fundamental level but then in a huge way it’s not. There are a hundred things that are way more important to our children; his friends at school or whether it’s the day she wears shorts or pants if they have P.E. that day.
Once the subject becomes incorporated into your family agenda, adding to the story as your baby develops will become easier. Read Five Steps to Telling, and familiarize yourself with the concepts and considerations. Keep your tone calm and cheerful, because well, underlying all this anxiety or apprehension, sleep deprivation and a cloudy mind that you may be experiencing at this time, deep down you really are cheerful and happy - you have your baby! Let all the previous years' of trying to conceive and all the challenges you went through to simply wash away, inhale, exhale, release.
Think about the end result to all you went through and you can now let all your appreciation and happiness shine forth. Trust yourself, and trust the process. Be present now. You and your baby both deserve to be in this beautiful world together! You did it! Pour your heart out here. Adulations for yourself and your partner. You two have had a hard row to hoe, but look at what you have! Relish in your co-creation and what you brought into this world. Sense the awe of your baby - this little being who took a very circuitous route to get here. This is something you won't be doing with a toddler.
What thoughts, realizations or actions in practicing your talking with your baby that brought you comfort and ease?