FAMILY ISSUES

The Family Secret

When and how do you tell kids about their conception?

A.T. Thomas
The Narrative Arc
Published in
7 min readAug 23, 2023

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Photo by CDC on Unsplash

A door slams upstairs. I hear shouting. My younger daughter, occasionally picked on by the older one, yells “sometimes I wonder if you even ARE my sister.”

I freeze and hold my breath. Was this the moment my two daughters would figure out our secret — our big family secret, the one we should have told them before they’d reached school age, but never quite got around to mentioning?

“Why did we decide to have children?” my husband jokes. I check on the kids. They’re back to happily playing together. So, another day goes by without telling them.

Backstory

Years earlier, my husband and I first discussed having children. We were in our early 30s and had stable careers. When trying for kids the old fashioned way for two years didn’t work, we consulted a fertility expert. Over the next year, we blew through all the usual fertility options with no success.

My husband was ready to quit, saying “we’ll still have a great life.” However, I had read about In vitro fertilization (IVF). It was still novel then — the mid-1990s — so, only a handful of clinics offered it.

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A.T. Thomas
The Narrative Arc

Skeptical lawyer/former corporate lobbyist. Concerned about biodiversity and climate change. Ally to people with ME/CFS, Long Covid and similar diseases.