Design is a solution to a problem. However, usability and functionality are not enough. Design should bring pleasure, amusement and delight.
I am an organized and spirited designer with a willingness to learn and a knack for information design. Planning is one of my strong suits and I consider research to be an integral part of the design process. In my spare time, I enjoy hands on DIY projects, knitting and corgis.
What is the most useful piece of design advice that you have received?
The most useful piece of design advice I have ever received was “start with what you know and have”. There is no better place to begin than with what you already know. If something is unknown, familiarize yourself with whatever it is and working forwards will be all that easier.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
I would be a multicoloured crayon because I am an expert at multi-tasking.
If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?
If I could learn a new skill it would definitely be how to sew. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, which is why I took up knitting and crocheting. Sewing seems like a perfect new hobby.
How would you describe the colour yellow to someone who has never seen it?
I would describe the colour yellow as happiness personified. It simply looks the way happiness feels.
What is Fleurish?
Fleurish is a collection of advice columns, process information and stories written and collected for those who have made the wonderful decision to become parents.
This book provides information and step by step guides for the process of third party reproduction. The thought of all this information and the process can seem overwhelming. This book is meant to break everything down and to help you through the whole process while giving helpful information that will assist in every step of the way till the age of three/four (Junior/Senior kindergarten age).
In this book, you can find: tips that will help you on your journey through the IVF process, the steps of your pregnancy, awkward questions that can be asked, ways in which to talk to family and friends, personal stories from actual parents that have gone through the process and how to talk to your child about the way they were conceived and their parentage.
There a multiple issues that a parent will need to prepare for when, years later, the child will ask the inevitable question about where they came from. It may be an important factor in the growing child’s mental well being. Although is may not show in the very early years, for a child, knowing where their heritage and where they came from will be an important factor in helping them discover who they are.
The decision to talk about donor conception, early disclosure is best for the whole family. Researchers found that parents who told their children before they turned 10 reported no anxiety relating to disclosure and expressed full confidence that they had done the right thing. By contrast, among the non-disclosing families, there were high levels of anxiety as they waited for the “right time” to tell, and found themselves confronting the challenge of disclosing to teenagers or young adults.
And in a systematic review of 43 studies on the disclosure decision-making process for heterosexual couples who had used donor eggs, sperm, and embryos, researchers found that the parents who disclosed emphasized children’s best interests, their rights to know that they are donor-conceived, honesty as an essential component of the parent-child relationship, and the stress inherent in keeping a secret. By contrast, while those parents who had not disclosed also emphasized the best interests of their children, they saw no benefit from disclosure and wanted to protect the child from stigma or other damage. In some families, of course, disclosure decisions are fairly easy.
Donor conception is difficult to hide in single parent and LGBT families, and research shows that children in those families learn at an earlier age than do children in heterosexual families. It’s the increasing number of these non-“traditional” families that has helped bring much more openness to the donor conception process.
Not telling your child does not render the fact of the conception irrelevant. Reminders about donor conception will frequently come up, perhaps as you or others try to figure out why your child is so tall, or so good at math, or so outgoing. When your pediatrician asks about your child’s medical history, you will have to lie. You may feel uncomfortable when friends talk easily about how much their children look like them, or when they share with you their struggles on how to explain to their children how Daddy planted that seed in Mommy’s belly.
This secrecy around donor conception is a heavy load to carry, and the layers of deception build up. The best-kept secret can warp family life, filling children with anxiety they don’t understand, and parents with guilt. In an effort to protect kids they love from what parents perceive as the difficult truth of their origins, parents are hurting them—and the parent-child bond—instead.
The disclosure story is similar for heterosexual couples, same sex couples, and single parents. It is based on the idea that it takes genes to make people, but it takes people to make families. I suggest talking to your child about her donor origins from the time she is an infant. Although your child will not comprehend the meaning of your words, when you “practice,” you will become more and more comfortable telling the story. By the time your child is old enough to understand, you will have told the story many times and it will be integrated into your family sensibility.
When you describe your child’s donor conception within the framework of building a family, define family building as distinct from baby making, and separate motherhood and fatherhood from eggs and sperm, you help your child understand his experiences, feel a sense of belonging, and have the knowledge that they are loved for exactly the person they are. Early disclosure allows your child to feel secure within themselves and their family.
But always, keep it simple, keep it honest. In the early years, the emphasis should be on “who our family is” of belonging and being loved. This is a story about love and connection.
In life, it just doesn’t get much happier than the arrival of a new baby. One moment, there is simply the dream of this unknown, but already-loved person. The next moment here they are, old-soul eyes blinking in the sudden light. Here they are, tiny clenched fists still holding tight to the wonder of the place they’ve just come from…