Thank you for your empathetic comments. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one struggling with this.
As I start to organize my thoughts I am left with few categories of issues and perhaps some information for you.
Telling the child: At first I thought it would go to the grave with me. I'm old school like that. But I'm quickly changing my mind about that after reading this informational booklet called Telling and Talking. In the end I think a person has a right to know where they came from. This child would have a right to know. No judgment on those who do not tell the child. Hey, I'm half of that mind as well. I'm still a bit torn on this...but when I'm being totally and completely honest about why...my reasons are selfish ones. Basically, I fear my own child would not think of me as their real mother. So there...I said it. And frankly, if that's my real reason it's not a very good one. I think the child's right to know trumps my own selfish fears.
Telling others: I think you gals are correct; I'm under no obligation to tell others. In fact, I may not tell my family if I think they would judge it. Like Babychaser I am not big on secrets. It would feel tremendously deceptive not to tell immediate family. That one I'll have to carefully consider who knows.
I guess that goes for telling anyone...carefully consider who you tell because you can't untell. And while I value and admire total transparency, I think the child has a right to a certain amount of privacy.
Kelly at Quest for Baby Agosti had a meeting with a DE social worker who said something interesting. When this child gets to be school aged they wont be unique. There will be lots of children conceived via DE, DS. Something to think about. If that is true (which I'm guessing it is) the stigma will be much less.
Therapy: Um...yes please. I have never gone to a professional to discuss anything personal. I just never felt the need but this is a great suggestion (thanks RenovationGirl). I think talking to someone who really knows this stuff would be a great idea. It's good to know I don't have to do everything all by myself. Also, I'm pretty sure every clinic requires some sort of meeting with a counselor.
Mini-Me Syndrome: For the past few weeks I have been thinking about what makes a mother? What makes a family? I have the benefit of having a biological child and looking at our relationship using a different lens. My idea of motherhood has changed drastically because of this and even if I don't use DE I think I am a better mom for thinking about these issues. Let me distill my thesis to it's essence: I don't need to have a mini-me.
First, my daughter looks nothing like me. Nothing at all. When she was born I actually had to adjust to the fact that I didn't have a mini-me. Just goes to show you that even if you do have that genetic link your child may not have your eyes, you curly hair, your beautiful singing voice (insert your favorite thing about yourself here).
Even more than phenotype there is personality and temperament. Countless times I catch myself, Mr. Peevene, MIL, my mom, my sisters saying "that's so much like so and so". We do it to all kids in my family...how much they are or aren't like someone in the family. I don't know why we do that so much...maybe it makes us feel closer to the child to dissect where each facial feature and personality trait came from? Does this make the bond stronger? Are the grandkids who are more like the in-laws less loved than the ones who are like my sister's and brothers? What if there was no genetic link....what ever would we talk about?
Recently I have cottoned to the idea that my child (regardless of DNA) is an individual who should be allowed to be (or not be) whoever they are. Just because Piccolina is strong-willed does not make her "a little Peeveme". In fact, I have gown to greatly dislike that phrase "a little Peeveme, a little SIL, a little Aunt Jo". While I want her to have my values, love of music, respect for elders that will come from nurture not my DNA. I want to guide my children....not replicate myself.
When I examine what I thought motherhood was about...it seems so egotistical. Yes, I want children that are part me and part Mr. Peeveme. That's a normal, natural desire. But if that wont happen for us again I still want a child I can love, teach and watch grow into the person they want to be. I want to be proud of my children...not proud of little parts of myself.
For me, that has been a transformative concept in my development as a mother and a person. I believe this radical new concept is called: humanity.