Monday, January 21, 2008

Jumping in the deep end

I've done lots of thinking the last few weeks and I've decided to keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking things one step forward at a time. I have an appointment with an RE on 2/7 to discuss next steps and review financing. I also checked my insurance coverage and luckily I live in a state with coverage so I should be all set once I'm authorized to move forward.

I don't really talk about my plans to have a child with too many people. My sister knows the basics but we don't have long conversations about it. She's never been one for big conversations. I have another sister who I told a year or so ago that this was something I was considering but she hasn't brought it up except one comment about me adopting. That says to me that she's not comfortable with the idea of me using a donor to get pregnant so I don't bring it up. Just this past weekend I was having dinner with my favorite cousin and I told her about my recent news and plans to move forward on having children. She has never met her father in spite of numerous attempts to contact him and I thought she would have some valuable insight to share. My wonderful cousin was so supportive and excited that I was going to do this. She asked lots of questions that gave me a chance to really talk about my plans and how I felt about moving forward.

I can't remember when it was exactly that I became aware that women had the option to buy sperm and get pregnant on their own. I'm sure it must have been television or perhaps a mention in one of my Women's Studies classes. I do remember that show in the late 90's 'Oh Baby' that started out with the main character deciding it was time to have a baby, picking a donor, getting pregnant first try and then meeting a cute guy to date pretty much in the same day. I remember the giving birth episode and the comical portrayal of the tape recording she had of the donor. The hard stuff was all brushed aside in favor of a laugh track but it still got my attention.

I think it was as I was approaching 30 I started to think that I might have to be one of those women who do it on their own. Of course I never thought it would come to that but it was something I tucked away in my back pocket. I had options and that was just one of them. Surely I would meet someone and we would decide to be parents together- I had options. There was always a chance for a happy accident- I had options. Well, turns out not so much- I don't have as many options as I thought. My tubes don't work so having a child will be a deliberate choice involving incredible effort, expense, uncomfortable conversations and decisions with far reaching impacts. My tubes suck and I don't get to take the easy way out. I don't know why I was surprised because nothing worth having ever comes easy and perhaps that is how it should be.

During my long career as a 'thinker' I've been ok with the parenting alone part. What always trips me up is the idea of using a donor and what that really means to me and to any potential children. The least of these concerns was when I thought this road would involve AI - I was seriously icked out by the idea of strange swimmers crashing my pool party. Useless tubes means that this is no longer an issue because the pool will now be a petri dish. Yeah, that pretty much is the only pro I could come up with.

What I still struggle with is using a donor. I am making a deliberate choice to deny my child half of their identity. I can't say that genetics and biology isn't important because it's important enough to me that I am taking this path to motherhood instead of adopting. We all have struggles in our lives and no one has a perfect family or childhood. I can offer my child half of their heritage which is better than what I would be able to provide if I had chosen international adoption. I have spent a lot of time lurking on message boards and reading everything I can about how DC people feel and it's not all good. I move forward with this choice knowing that no matter how wanted and loved my child is and no matter how honest I am about how they were conceived it is very likely that they will struggle with their identity. Using an anonymous donor isn't an option for me because it's not fair to lock the door to potential contact if my child decides they want it. I also think that choosing someone with a similar blend of nationalities will be beneficial because even if my child doesn't know the other half of their genetic family they might find some comfort in knowing that our ethnic heritage and traditions are most likely similar. I don't see too much discussion on this next one but I see half siblings as a positive thing. I would be more inclined to use a donor knowing that there are already families with half siblings willing to be in contact. I would want my child to have the option of knowing these other kids because seeing how they are alike and different will help them to figure out their other half.

I find it all so overwhelming. How to choose.... ugh.


Pepper said...

How wonderful that you've decided to move forward! And - even better - you have a supportive cousin to help you through this process. Those are such gifts; they really are. I'm very excited for you!

Regarding the donor thing, I'm one of those people who never had a problem choosing a donor. Isn't that weird? I just chose: 1) ID release; 2) the physical attributes I wanted and didn't want; and 3) eliminated troubling medical issues. Those things narrowed the field considerably. Then I just picked the one whose essay was nice and who looked like someone I would date or be friends with (I use a bank that has adult photos). It really wasn't a struggle.

Now I'm looking into switching banks and the idea of choosing another donor seems more tedious than imposing. :-)

Pepper said...

You're going to think I'm stalking you, but I'm not. ;-)

Just wanted to point out the "Pursuing Single Motherhood" link on my blog. It's a group I started and I think you'd fit perfectly. I'd love it if you joined us.