Um yeah so today is just another Sunday. This time last year we were optimistic during treatment, with my husband cheering me on as happy future mother’s day. Now we’re in reality mode. And we’ll be having a glass of wine. Or not. Who the hell knows.
So I lift my metaphorical glass at least to you, my infertile sistas – because it’s been one helluva year already in the “TTC” world not to mention years past. I hope that all of us get to that light at the end of the tunnel, or find a new road that brings happiness in whatever way, shape or form that may be.
The holiday has been an interesting thing to quietly ponder for me this year, as when my mother’s husband (technically, but not emotionally, my stepfather) died I wrote my mother a polite card of condolence and she wrote back talking about her experience caring for my stepfather. Being in my own emotional whirlwind I disregarded all my pain that I’ve discussed on this blog before, and I reached out via text.
I know, right?
Anyhoo, so we’ve had a few back and forth texts in the past week or two, and I tested the waters by letting her know I am infertile and the five unsuccessful treatments we’ve been through… but she made zero comment about it. She knows that we are adopting and did comment that she hopes she’ll “be allowed to meet her grandchild” when that happens. I bit my tongue on the total silence regarding my DEIVF to respect her grief and allow her to be focused on herself and not the agony of the infertility I’d experienced, but it’s still sitting there. My husband doesn’t want me to have anything to do with her, and I get that. He’s protecting me, which I love him so much for. I don’t know what I want, as being a daughter there’s just this weird childlike hope that hey, well maybe she won’t be the way she’s always been now that he’s gone. Maybe she’ll be less narcissistic, maybe she’ll apologize for letting that child molester back into her house when my sister got back together with him a few years ago, maybe she’ll want to be there for me, maybe she’l reclaim her feminist roots and shed the O’Reilly hater world the two of them lived in, maybe she’ll be…different.
But I kinda doubt it.
I kinda am preparing to kick myself for the hope. Pity is not going to change things. I don’t owe her anything, which Dan reminded me. I sat and thought about what it might be like to see her, six and a half years after I ended all contact, and the things I’d heard so many times in different forms came back as I imagined conversations, stuff like….
“Well I bet if you took off some of that weight you could get pregnant…you used to be so slender!” or “You know, so-and-so’s daughter did X and she got pregnant right away” or “but you’re adopting so what’s the big deal”…
And that slows me down. It makes me careful instead of rash.
I thanked my husband the other day for simply being my husband, for being not just my partner but my calm in the storm, my compass when I am mentally all over the map. He’s told me how he’d respond if that weight stuff ever were said in front of him…and I fell in love all over again 🙂 You see, my ex-husband was never my defender. He had such a need to please that he’d try to buddy up with my mom, who would even diss me behind my back to him…and he wouldn’t do shit about it. So I’m grateful I’ve got the man who is my husband today. Fucking amen.
So as of today I’ve stopped the texting, as I need to focus intently on the next couple of months on my health – from the MRI to the skin cancer to the final round of DEIVF, it’s got to be Aimee time. Not saying I’m closing the door, just not staring at that door right now wondering if it may open to something other than how it always was.
I don’t have time to obsess on Mother’s Day…0r any other day. I gotta get in the zone.
“It wasn’t that I became thin-skinned as a nonmom among the mommy set. It felt rather like I had no skin at all. The sight of a pregnant woman could ruin my day in an instant. But that was only the beginning…Amid a societal celebration of all things maternal, I was forced to grow a skin much thicker than I ever imagined. Much like regular inoculations sensitize allergy sufferers to irritating substances, I’m much less reactive to the whole motherhood thing in general. In fact, I’ve developed a powerful protective instinct for women who are today where I once was — lost, angry, sad and mourning the dreams they once held so dear.”
~ from the article, A Non-Mother’s Day, in the New York Times
Side note: I do however give props to the Mum in my life who has been stellar even though she is a zillion miles away in Australia and I’ve never even met her in person, only via Skype (Dan’s father’s wife who I met after Dan’s father passed 2 years ago and we connected online). Yesterday she called and told me, as she has many times over phone and email, that she wishes she could be nearer and be there for us. Now that’s what I needed to hear…now that feels like love. 🙂 So, to you Mum Carol, we love you and are so grateful to have you and can’t wait to see you here in PDX.
New reasons to stop reading magazines and to stop researching stuff!
It’s been a long time since my husband and I got our donor and the embryos were made – last summer, to be exact. And since then I’ve more than moved past the whole “it’s not my DNA” thing, thanks to the fact that a) I’d be carrying the baby, and b) epigenetics, as I’ve discussed before, which has shown that the woman carrying the child indeed passes on some of her DNA to the child. I left a gift for the donor on the day she gave us her gift of eggs, and legally they are now our eggs, our embryos. It was anonymous and that’s that. Which is exactly what we want, because this is our child that I would be pregnant with.
Two things came up recently that infuriated me to read:
- In the United Kingdom, even though it’s stated that “The woman who gives birth to a child is always considered the legal mother in UK law, even when using a donated egg,” (source), your child still can go looking for the donor. The donor’s anonymity is NOT protected, nor are the legal parents’ full parenthood protected. “A donor-conceived person has certain legal rights to access…identifying information available from age 18, including the donor’s name, date of birth and last known address. This means that your child might be able to contact the donor in adulthood, if he or she wishes to do so.” (source). This to me is unconscionable and unethical beyond belief. Here in the US, our clinic has a strict anonymity policy. The minute those eggs were harvested from our donor, they were mine. We paid for them. She has no legal rights, she does not know my husband whose sperm was combined to make our embryo, and her body will not be responsible for implantation and a successful pregnancy should that happen. I am literally sickened to hear stories of parents who have no control over this process. It’s one thing to have that be an OPTION if the pregnant parent/couple chooses it, but to say that this is NOT the legal parent BUT at the same time the kid can go looking for them, thereby hypocritically implying there IS a connection? Total slap in the face to prospective parents with egg issues who are seeking fertility treatments.
- The other one was an article in this month’s Glamour magazine that I picked up yesterday while trying to have a mindless read during my husband’s studying. Unfortunately, being the May issue, it was all about mothers and there was an article in there about kids who went out and “found their parents”. The first was your bog standard story about the kid who was adopted looking up the woman who gave birth to her. OK fine, her parents were fine with it, that’s fine and good. But the next one was about seeking out her mother’s sperm donor so she could “meet her dad” which made me want to vomit. Sperm donor does not equal parent. Period. Just the fact that she was referring to the guy who jerked off in a cup for money as her dad was a huge offense to the mother. (And while The Kids Are Alright might have portrayed it as hard-but-ultimately-happy-ending, that’s just not something that every family is going to want to have happen). And the final one was tremendously emotionally upsetting – this one was of a bunch of young women who wanted to meet the other women who were born to their parents with the help of one particular donor, and they all looked up the person’s registry number and met and now call themselves “sister wives”. I could have puked right then and there. The sibling my kid will have, should this work? That’ll be our little girl in Ethiopia – not the other four kids out there who came from four other mothers’ bellies who happened to have used the same donor. No fucking way. I’m seeing way too many articles casually using the term “donor dad/mom” and that’s so not cool, and so disrespectful to the families who gave birth. Those titles are earned, and genetic connection does not earn the right to use terms like mom or dad.
As a couple who are adopting from Ethiopia while going through this, we know that searching for one’s biological relatives comes with the territory with adoption, and are hoping that we’ll have enough information when the time comes so that we can keep in touch with the family if that’s what they want, and know something about the two people who created this little one so we have something to tell our daughter. Having a baby through DEIVF is *not* adoption. In DEIVF, my uterus literally makes the decision whether to allow the embryo to implant and then, hopefully, maintain a pregnancy. So not the same as adoption.
So I’m off my soapbox now 🙂 Something about walking around the neighborhood on a sunny holiday such as today, and having to feel like I need blinders on because there are so many little ones everywhere with their mums reminding me of what has so far proven to be not in the cards.
All we can do now is hope for the best while being prepared for the worst. Hoping the last attempt at DEIVF works. Hoping the Ethiopian MOWA offices get back to work and approve our application on their side so we can get a referral and finally see wheels turning towards being matched with a little girl. Hoping that at this time next year, we won’t be in the same place we are today.
So on a positive note, I want to end with a huge congratulations to Janet Jackson and her husband who are expecting their first child. Also Happy Mother’s Day to Tyra Banks, who had a baby via surrogate after years of unsuccessful IVF, and Chrissy Teigen whose baby was a result of IVF. And for all those other prospective mums like blogger Baby Science Project who are finally getting their happy endings, I am thrilled for you.
Now pass some of that fertility juju my way…