I’m terrible with faces. You know, not being able to recognize someone once I’ve been introduced to them? I feel that blank stare coming out of my own face as if it’s a cheap plastic mask when someone comes up to me and says, “Hey! How have you been doing? How old is that baby now?” Hopefully I cover my tracks fairly well and let them mark it up to sleepless nights and not to the fact that I’m totally inadequate when it comes to facial recognition.

I think about that quite a bit now since I’ve had ZGirl, much like I did when XBoy was a baby. To me, babies really do all look alike, with their mostly bald, bocce ball heads. With XBoy, I would inspect him during diaper changes and try to memorize freckles and birthmarks, just in case someone stole him out of my Target cart.

ZGirl doesn’t have any freckles or birthmarks, so I’ve been trying to find something – remarkable – about her face during my studies. What I find myself saying is “my god, she’s beautiful…” and I wonder why I don’t feel vain when I say it. In fact, I feel something quite differently and it took a while for me to put my finger on that feeling. It was envy mixed with jealousy.

There’s no vanity there because it’s not like I’m saying, “I’m beautiful, so of course, ZGirl is beautiful,” because she’s not my genetic offspring. The jealousy stems from something primitive inside of me, something that irrationally puts my husband with a strange woman who together had a baby and I am reaping the benefits of that union. There was nothing that could have prepared me for such a strange feeling.

I compare photographs of ZGirl to XBoy and certainly one can see some similarities, which she may or may not grow out of. I mean, c’mon. Chubby cheeks and button noses are pretty standard features on babies and those are just a couple of the things I notice when comparing the two.

I’ve been trying to put into words these complex emotions, but it’s truly been impossible to do more than state what is obvious to me. I can’t even confirm that this envy/jealousy is actually a negative feeling. Maybe it’s because that while I feel the little green monster sitting on my shoulder, I have such a feeling of adoration and appreciation that it mutes it rather effectively.

During my pregnancy, I hardly gave our donor a thought. I’m not sure if it was because I tried to keep myself emotionally calloused, just in case something happened during the pregnancy, or if it was that without the physical manifestation of that union of the donor and my husband, I didn’t understand the full impact of what has now come to be: ZGirl. But now? I look into ZGirl’s still very blue eyes and wonder: does the donor have blue eyes? Do her children have blue eyes? Does the other recipient’s baby look like ZGirl? How many children does the donor have? Is it possible that one day our paths could randomly cross and she would look at ZGirl and recognize her own child(ren)?

Everyone tells us how beautiful ZGirl is; how perfect she is. Of course I agree out of maternal pride, but I also agree because somehow it acknowledges how beautiful and perfect the donor is, and always will be, to us. So I continue to stare at her, to memorize, and marvel…

ZGirl, 14 weeks
ZGirl, 14 weeks

25 thoughts on “WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS”

  1. She IS gorgeous!

    It is also quite something to wrap ones head around . . . seeing someone else’s face in your child. I never quite know what to say when people declare N to look ‘just like me’ when I know he looks just like her, like them in fact.

    But in the end, she’s yours and you are hers.

  2. Can I be really nosy and ask what the laws/your family policy is on information about donor conception/the donor themselves?

    I’m curious I guess – what do you plan to tell her, if anything? Is there a legal obligation to tell her, and does she have access to e.g. medical information, or information about half siblings?

    (And she is very cute! Unless you don’t actually recognise your son and husband I doubt you’ve got serious facial recognition problems though!)

  3. She does have the most beautiful blue eyes. But I was just looking at the pic of her with Xboy the other day, and though – WOW – you can totally tell they’re siblings!

    It’s funny – I quite frequently get comments saying my stepdaughter looks like me – despite the fact that she and I share no genes. When I try to envision the baby, I see it looking like her, since she undoubtedly looks like her dad too. Can’t wait to find out! (Then again, March needs to stay far, far away since we’re nowhere near ready for a baby yet!)

  4. She is YOUR daughter. Does it matter *who* she looks like? Really? I think she looks a lot like Mr DD.

    Do you read Chookooloonks? Her daughter is adopted, but Alex looks just like Karen when she smiles. There are times when her expression is the same as Marcus’.
    ZGirl will pick up your facial expressions and she’ll make a face & people will say, “Oh, she looks just like you when she crinkles her nose like that!!”

    I think Maggie looks more like Joe, but people say that she looks just like me; and I think Will looks more like me, but people say that he’s the spitting image of Joe.

    The mind sees what it wants to see. When I look at pics of ZGirl, I see you.

  5. First I want to say she is gorgeous!

    My son is adopted and he looks very much like me. In fact he looks a lot like both my husband and myself. Last Dec, an older man told my husband, “there’s no denying that boy’s yours”. At first I was almost embarrassed over all the compliments about how beautiful he was. I’d say thank you but felt compelled to mention he was adopted. It was if I needed to NOT take credit for how perfect he was. Sometimes I shared he was adopted sometimes I didn’t. Now I really never say he is adopted. I just so thank you, we think he’s the most special boy ever.

  6. There is no doubt that looks create feelings. S1 looks nothing like my husband or me. Obviously being adopted we knew he wouldn’t. It doesn’t bother me at all, but at times I get a sense that it bothers him. He doesn’t have dads nose, or my ears like his brothers to. It makes me sad to think that he might be bothered by that.

    I hope this comes out with the positive feeling that I mean….I applaud you for your use of a donor. I didn’t have the courage to do that. I was very afraid I would have jealously issues with a woman that would be helping me reach the title of mother, even though we would never meet. I am embarrased that I was not secure or mature enough to even consider a donor.

    I think you are a very strong and loving woman and Xboy and Zgirl are very lucky to have you as their mom.

  7. She is gorgeous, no question.

    In a way, I feel the same when people tell us how adorable K is. I always agree also, and it always makes me think about how much he looks like his first mom. I feel like agreeing is (aside from true), in some small way giving her acknowledgment as his first mom, and that she’s not forgotten.

  8. Babe, she’s a star. Seriously. She’s amazing. And I want to reach through the screen and hug AND shake you. You are beautiful. I’ve seen your roombas.

    And the thing is, here I am a dark, dark brunette/brown eyes mum to TWO blond-haired blue-eyed babies, and the truth is, I think you reach a point where you simply don’t care how alike or not alike you look like your children. They’re yours. You stayed up all night last night with them. You carried them. They are so beautiful they couldn’t possibly have come from you…but they did.

    As did your gorgeous girl.

    As a donor, I just want to reach across the screen and say: She’s yours, DD. Yours and no one else’s, and no chance ever will someone walk by and see her and recognize her and think otherwise.

  9. She is gorgeous and so are you.

    I still wonder somedays where Marjorie came from and as far as I know she came from my old eggs, but there are those nights I fell asleep early and woke up disoriented. 😉 Ok, maybe that just means Steve needs to worry. Kidding!

    As you can tell I don’t know what to tell you so I make jokes. Just know that I love you and your family and that I am here if you need to talk.

    I can’t imagine what you are going through but I do know I am very happy for you and that you were able to add that beautiful little girl to your family. However she got there, she grew under your heart and now has your heart firmly in her little hand for eternity. Don’t be surprised the first time she says something that you swear came out of your own mouth. She is going to keep you so busy in a few more months that you won’t even have time to think about it.

    Did you get that blizzard I heard was predicted for your part of the country?

  10. I learned on an episode of The Office your husband was supposed to mark her in a discreet location with a sharpie so she could be identified if someone were to take her from Target. 🙂

  11. Dear DD, you’re right — she is incredibly beautiful. And it’s interesting to know that you have a really poor memory for faces too. I truly suck in that department.

    You gave me a lot to think about with this post. It touched me, what you said about the donor and your complex feelings about her role in ZGirl’s looks. I hope those feelings aren’t, and will never become, difficult for you to handle. (Having said that, I think all parents, to some extent, examine their kids to probe the mystery of why this baby looks so… perfect. I keep trying to “extract” the mystery of Banana’s looks, and turn up only her father. But in a strange way, it makes me think of her as even more beautiful.)

  12. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this. I haven’t thought about my donor much in the last few months, but I am thinking more and more about her now that the idea that I may actually have a take home baby is sinking in. One thing I am realizing is that on one level I am relieved that I am having a boy and not a girl. It makes me feel like the baby will be more like my husband than my donor and that allows me not to have to focus on my donor’s contribution.

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