Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Remembering My Roots

I received an e-mail from a woman who is embarking upon DE for the first time.  She was looking for some help in dealing with the process as she is, very understandably, overwhelmed by the whole thing.

I was happy to respond to her and to try and offer some advice and maybe point out some things that she hadn’t thought of yet.  In doing so, it reminded me of my feelings when we first started down this path.  I must say, things have definitely changed.  And maybe not for the better in some regards.  I will try to explain this as best I can without rambling too much.  Ha ha!

BJ and I decided that we would definitely tell the child about needing an egg donor to make his/her life possible.  This decision was made before I became pregnant.  It seemed very easy…no secrets, no regrets and no shame.  When we started telling people about the pregnancy I made my own decision that I didn’t care if people knew that we did IVF but that the DE portion of it was to remain just with us until the child was older and wanted to tell his/her own story of creation.  BJ had other ideas.  He doesn’t want people to know that we did IVF.  I’ve been asked outright 3 times (aside from BJ’s sister) if we went through IVF.  I told one person the truth but the other 2 I had to lie to because I didn’t want BJ to get mad.  He made his wishes known and I respect them but it has been a bit awkward at times.  Not a huge deal but it might come back to bite me in the ass down the road.  Although, the 2 people that I lied to will most likely not be regular people in our child’s life once the child knows the truth so I guess it’s fine.  This was just something that we should have discussed a bit more thoroughly before it happened.  Lesson learned.

Another lesson I have learned is that it’s very easy to forget that this is a DE child.  Yes, this is my baby and I’m the mother.  There have been times, though, that I have forgotten that I’m not the genetic mother of this child.  And when I remember that, I get scared.  I get scared to tell the child about its origins.  I’m not ashamed of what we have done.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I’m proud of how hard we have fought and the sacrifices we have made to get here.  Infertility is one of the hardest things a couple can endure…emotionally, financially, even intellectually.  I’m just scared that the child will feel differently about how he/she came to be.  I know that our attitude toward DE will greatly influence how the child feels so that is something I will need to remember going forward.  I won’t lie though,  I wish I didn’t have to tell.  I wish that I could continue to live in this blissful world of “normalcy” that I have created for myself.  I never forget that we went through treatments and spent gobs of money and are in debt to my 401k for the next 5 years…those things are easy to remember.  The fact that I’m not the genetic mother is something that I let go of sometimes.  It feels wrong to forget such an important fact but I’m just so happy to be pregnant with this little precious life that I think I let go of some of the pain that IF has inflicted upon me for so many years.  Maybe it’s something like child birth.  Many mothers have said that they forget just how painful it is to be in labor and push that baby out as soon as said baby is in their arms.  I will never forget the pain of IF but I will say that being pregnant eases the memories of the pain.  Does that make sense?  IF will always be with me and it will always be a part of who I am.  This happiness that I feel now pushes the pain from the past to the back burner, thus helping me to forget that this is a DE child.

Forgetting is good in a way because I think it has helped me bond much more with this pregnancy than I was expecting to.  I’ve read some stories where women sort of freak out because they feel like they have an “alien” child growing inside of them.  Forgetting is bad because it makes me not want to tell the child.  I will, of course, but as of right now I don’t really want to.  In my opinion, the consequences of not telling are just too great.  I’m hoping that when the time comes I will be more ready.  Right now I just want to protect and nurture this little life to the best of my abilities.  And I just want to be “normal” and happy.  And if that means from time to time I forget where that egg came from, then so be it.


EC said...

This may sound strange - but this was so good to read. We're hopefully gearing up for IVF in September, and if it doesn't work out, I know I may need to consider DE at some point in the very near future. I'm starting to mull it over now, so that I don't have a big decision-making road ahead of me if/when the time comes. My biggest obstacles are not telling family (I don't think our families would be understanding or supportive of DE), while telling the child (which makes me feel uneasy just thinking about it!). I think it's awesome that you're feeling so good and bonded to the baby, though. I'm sure it is easy to forget that you used a donor egg! And, despite what I just wrote, I'm sure that you'll deal with telling your child in the best way possible when the time is right.

Anonymous said...

My DE b/g twins are 10 mths old now and I still have mixed feelings and reactions much like you described here. I think I'm reconciling myself to the fact that I will probably always have some of that. I will always wish that my own eggs had proved capable, but - I wouldn't for a minute wish for any other children than the ones that I have. From the moment I heard their heartbeats, right up to today (and I'm sure this will continue going forward) I believed that one of the best things about using DE is that the odds of healthy, hearty children is much improved than if I had gotten pregnant w/ my geriatric offerings. That gives me comfort.

The challenges of who/when/what/how much to tell continue. I have learned that I almost always feel better once I've told someone the truth than I did while keeping a secret (mostly I mean close/important people like family and dear friends) and the folks who are more peripheral matter less. My husband and I have to make sure we talk about this all pretty regularly to make sure we're on the same page as much as possible. That has been a challenge sometimes so I know where you're coming from.

I am starting to think that the more my babies turn into fully formed people, with unique personalities and characteristics, the less the one egg will matter and the more important the whole of the unique being will be. I'll have such a huge influence on who they are as people that I think the egg issue will seem less important. We'll see if that turns out to be true.

Also, our experience has been that once we've told someone there isn't a whole lot more conversation around it - it doesn't come up in conversation, people don't seem to even remember or be thinking about it, and it's largely - so far - been a non-issue. Which has been a relief.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but guess I just wanted to say "me too", and I totally get what you're saying. More importantly, congrats on your pregnancy!

Rebecca said...

I'm headed down the same path and we have already decided to not tell our parents the pregnancy was other than natural. Too many big mouths and religious issues with them will make for uncomfortable situations with the pregnancy and child. We will of course tell the child how special it was and how it was conceived.