The ‘Oven’

I’m often asked if how I feel about my eight year old Master M is any ‘different’ to how I feel about my biological kids. The answer is a resounding no.

I carried him but he isn’t my child biologically.

My partner at the time went through IVF and had her eggs removed, fertilised with the same anonymous sperm donor I used for my older children, and then all three of these resulting embryos were transferred into me. One of these successfully implanted – I attribute this to the ‘medicinal’ shot of brandy that was given to me after the embryo transfer at the clinic – and I fell pregnant with Master M.

We were absolutely thrilled. I can remember sitting on the sideline watching my partner play sport while I was pregnant with a little part of her growing inside me. What an overwhelming all-encompassing feeling of love. It was the closest thing I have ever come to understanding truly sharing a child with someone in a heterosexual sense of ‘sharing’.

I felt like this baby was part of me, not just because my blood was nourishing him as he grew, but because he was biologically half of the same donor my other two kids shared. This is a strange thing to say, but I felt like this was somehow partially my contribution. I knew this donor made wonderful children, and I knew this baby was going to be such a gift, just like my other two before him. And like them in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

After a late night poker session in the back shed with friends, my waters broke three weeks early. Forty hours later, including a sixteen hour stall where it seemed he decided he was staying put after all, Master M arrived. I can recall all too clearly staring at him when he was placed in my arms, adoring his beautiful little face. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I couldn’t have loved him more.

No he doesn’t look at all like me, but neither does my sister look like my mum. I’m sure there are many of you out there with children who don’t look like you.

Do you love them any less?

Do they feel any less yours?

I don’t think so.

Statements that have been made to me such as ‘But he doesn’t look like you, or have your genes’, or ‘You were just the oven’, while hurtful, say more about the person making the statement than they do about me.

It’s taken me a long time to realise this.

Motherhood is never single dimensional.

Motherhood is never about genes.

Motherhood is always about love.

And from the moment my boy was growing inside me, he was every bit my child and the subject of my motherly love.

Forever.

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