Saturday, 5 September 2009

A support network

Yesterday my mother was 96. She is a resourceful woman and although very deaf now, is still very feisty and has a good sense of humour. During the Second World War she was nursing in the East End of London at the height of the Blitz. She ran a clinic at the Poplar Methodist Mission but also did some district nursing. At a time when the policemen had to go around in twos she was able to go around in her uniform unharmed.

One of the doctors who gave his time once a week to come to the clinic (this was before the National Health Service) talked to my mother about infertility. It was he who recommended she visit Dr Reynold Boyd in the West End. After the surge of public opinion against some of the early pioneers’ recommendations about eugenics and social engineering, which to some English people smacked of Nazism, these fertility experts seem to have worked without advertising, i.e. through recommendation.

As a very caring person who had grown up in a large family, the possibility of never having children must have been really awful for her. She really thrived on family life. When I had two children she loved being really involved with them, playing games where she was always the baddie and taking them for walks. They loved her sense of fun and good humour.

She has no idea how the revelations about my conception have distressed me and of course I don’t tell her. Her memories of that period so long ago are not good and I think she has buried most of that information. I occasionally try to get a little more information but her memory is not good. After I was born my parents moved away from London and they adopted my brother who was six at the time. He always knew that he was adopted but goodness knows what they told the rest of the family about why they went in for adoption if I was supposed to be their natural child.

After returning home from spending time with my mother I had a really lovely email from someone else who discovered this year that she was donor conceived. It really lifted my spirits so much after the news from UKDonor Link about there being no matches for me. I know that there are hundreds and thousands of other people looking for their families and all we can do is help and support each other as we are not alone.

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