It’s a week of very mixed feelings. On Sunday we had a big party for family and friends to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and a rather large birthday of mine. The house was full of good conversation and good food and I swished around in my long saffron Moroccan dress enjoying having so many friends and all three of our lovely children and our gorgeous grand-daughter under the same roof for an afternoon. But tinged with sadness as tomorrow Zannah flies to New York to follow her heart and hopefully also to study Massage Therapies in that city. A great adventure and I support her all the way, but oh I will miss her. She will return for Christmas but if she gets a place at the college of her choice…and a student visa…then she’ll be away for the best part of two years. I can only think of the sorrow of her absence for the moment but friends have reminded me that NY is only a flight away and that it’s not such a bad place to visit!
More mixed feelings about donor conception stuff too. DC Network’s autumn conference takes place in Bristol on Saturday. For a meeting outside of London the uptake is very good – about 120 adults and forty or so children – and the topic of talking with family and friends about DC is spot on. I’m chairing a panel of speakers on this theme in the morning and running group sessions in the afternoon – all material and food for thought for the two booklets, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, that I’m currently researching. This is the good news. The bad is that details emerging about the Department of Health’s specification for bringing together gamete donor recruitment and the pre 1991 register of donors and donor conceived people are very worrying indeed. DCN will know more following a meeting on Thursday, but it doesn’t look good.
Mixed feelings are of course familiar to people considering donor conception. The sadness at not being able to have the child of a much loved partner or contribute to the genetic make-up of the child you are carrying is mixed with the enormous joy, pleasure and gratitude of being able to have a baby at all. But such feelings, even when they return occasionally in future years, do not diminish in any way the huge love parents have for the child or children they have been able to conceive and give birth to. Second choice is absolutely not second best and I count myself amongst the many parents who cannot imagine having different children. I have come to realise that being able to recognise and hold apparently contradictory feelings at the same time is a mark of maturity…and that’s definitely something you need as a parent.