Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thanks...still processing

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.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to share and I hope this helps. I am the mother of a beautiful little boy who was concieved with DE. Do I or have I ever felt like I am less of his mother? No! Not even once. My little guy grew inside me! I carried him 9 months and gave birth to him. I couldn't feel any more connected to him if I tried.

My husband and I have never made a secret of the origin of his conception with any of our family members. Secrets always come out one way or another and you don't want your child to think you've lied to them their whole life or worse yet. that you are somehow ashamed of them - that there was something inherently 'wrong' with how they came to be.
Does this mean we tell everyone? No. Not because we are ashamed or because we think people will treat our son differently but because we have always believed in the long run it is our son's truth to tell. And when he is old enough (he's still a little guy right now) he can tell anyone he wants. And if it is any comfort to know, the people we have told have always reacted in the best possible ways then just moved on. It isn't nearly as shocking to most people as you might think. (thank you years of sperm donors leading the way!)

We have always considered ourselves sooo lucky that DE was even an option and our families have been happy and supportive for us. They had some questions and concerns at first (which is very normal) but boy after that first ultrasound were they ever onboard!

I know you feel like you are giving up your DNA link to your child (and you are - no way around it) and you're worried you might not feel the same way about this child. I can only tell you how I feel and have always felt from that first flutter inside me. He's mine. He is my son. He is the love of my life.

It's a big decision - go with your heart.

Marie said...

Yes go out and get you some pretty flowers!!

Amber said...

Dear anonymous, thank you for commenting with your experience and perspective. I agree with you about so many things. I know once (if) I am prg I wont think about the DE thing much. I also think the child should know but that they deserve some privacy..so we may not tell many people. I also agree that if/when people know we might be pleasantly surprised by their reactions. You are right..this stuff is getting to be pretty common these days.

Mrs. Spit said...

Those are some really great thoughts. I think you have come to some great conclusions!

soapchick said...

I agree wholeheartedly with anonymous M. I am an open book, much more than my husband. He knows I've told a few people, but he doesn't want all of his cousins knowing our business. That's fine with me. If we do get pregnant with DE, I'm sure more of my family will know, but on his side it will only be his immediate family. I have no doubt that I will love a DE child as much as I would a biological child. Since I've never been pregnant - I don't think I'll even know the difference. Good luck with your pondering.

DC said...

I'm impressed with how eloquently you're able to identify your feelings and articulate your thoughts. Great post!

I hope I get to kick you in the head soon (for VMBs, of course!). ;)