We had dinner the other night with another couple and the "infertility" topic came up. This topic always seems to come up at social gatherings these days. I've put our story out there. People are curious. I think it's great! The more questions people ask, the more they know.
Before I go on about our dinner convo, I want to set the stage that this husband and wife couple is like family to us. The husband, in particular, is very much the brother I never had. We have a banter that to some may not be acceptable. I make fun of his obsessive "no carb" diet, CrossFit addiction and need to eat dinner by 5pm, ie. "early bird special". He makes fun of our "curvy" dog, Romo, whose nickname is now Tank.
I needed you to fully understand our relationship before I share his "unsolicited infertility advice". Please don't hate him. He truly is a very intelligent, caring, likable guy. And ALWAYS has the best intentions.
He will remain anonymous just in case.
Okay, here it goes.
With a very serious, yet sweet, inquisitive face my "brother from another mother" says to me…
"Vic, why don't you just use some Mexican eggs? You're GUARANTEED to get pregnant! ". Side note. His wife is Mexican, so naturally, he has permission to say some bullshit like this.
Mexican eggs. To humor him I said "Nice. Like, Huevos Rancheros, my favorite breakfast?"
I knew exactly where he was going with this, but it was too fun not to humor him.
Guaranteed, huh? And why is that exactly?
"Think about it Victoria. Do you know any Mexican women that can't get pregnant? They all have like 5-6 kids."
Oh, dear god.
Waiter, WINE please!
He looks at his 40-something year old wife and says "Babe, you'd let her have your eggs right?"
Waiter, TEQUILA please!
I can't make this shit up. Seriously.
His sweet, beautiful wife, whom I love dearly, looks at me and says "of course I would give you my eggs, but I'm not sure I'd be a good candidate."
God, I love her.
After a large swig of wine, I "leaned in like a Chola" and very eloquently let him know why you can't say things like that to people struggling with infertility. And that if he had told me this 2 years ago I would have grabbed the nearest cerveza bottle, broken it over my knee, and cut his balls off with it.
Lucky for him, I'm in a different state of mind now.
To his defense, I can't say I haven't considered a Hispanic woman's eggs. My husband is Colombian, so for me to have a brown skinned child, it wouldn't seem odd at all. But I didn’t consider it because I think Mexican women are more fertile than me, or that their DNA is superior to me in some way (well, with the exception of their ability to get a perfect tan).
I considered it, because DNA isn't what's important in a family.
I'm reminded of this every time I'm with my beautiful niece (on my husband's side). We don't share DNA, but we have an unbreakable bond.
Until recently, I was destined to find someone who looked exactly like me.
I used to think that I would feel more like the child's "real mother" if we resembled each other. That a blue eyed baby with light hair would make me feel like a "normal" mom in some way. I thought it would be easier for the child to see me as his/her mother if we looked a like.
I longed for the day someone would say "she has your eyes" or "he has your smile", even if it wasn't actually my DNA. Using a doppelganger egg donor would allow us to beat the system. So I thought.
I so desperately wanted to see a "piece of me" in my child. I wanted that connection. I wanted that special bond that mothers talk about. After all the shit we have been through, I deserve that damn it!
Our path to parenthood has been anything but easy or normal. And finding a doppelganger egg donor somehow made me think that we might have a chance at normal.
People wouldn't ask questions. They would assume I was the "real" mother. I could drop my child off at school and be perceived as a normal mom. Our child wouldn't get picked on for not having a normal family. I can hear it now... "How come you don't look anything like your mom? Why is your mom white, but you aren't white at all?" "Are you adopted?"
We are anything but normal. AND we are not ashamed of that. Our child will know exactly how he/she got here.
If you have read my prior posts, you know how my last doppelganger egg donor turned out.
The more I thought about it the more I believed that DNA has absolutely nothing to do with being a parent.
If having a dark skinned, curly haired, brown eyed baby is my fate. Does that mean I would love him/her any less?
Does sharing DNA with your child make you a better parent?
Being a parent is about Love. Nurture. Support. Comfort. Understanding. Love. Love. And more Love.
We spoke with a new infertility doctor the other day who shared a story with us that gave me an even clearer perspective.
It was about a man who had 5 children and 1 on the way with is wife. He suspected that his wife had been cheating, so he took a paternity test to find out if he was the father of the new baby. Sadly, he was right and it wasn't his child. After finding this out, he decided to have the other 5 children tested.
Are you ready for this?
Dun. Dun. Dun....
None of the SIX children matched his DNA!
He found out that he had ZERO sperm count. He was 100% infertile.
All 6 children were NOT his!!
It gets better...
He ended up filing for divorce and she took him to court to fight for custody of all six children. After all those years of fathering her six children, she wanted to take them all away. For good. She thought there was no way in hell the court would side with a man who wasn't even their "real" father.
Well, boy was that bitch wrong. SPOILER ALERT.
He told the court,
"I'm the one who picks them up when they fall and get hurt. I am the one who bathe's them and tucks them in every night. I am the one that helps them complete their homework and pushes them to do well in school. I am the one who attends every baseball, soccer and football game. I am the one to take care of them when they are sick. I am the one who is there to comfort them whenever they need it."
"I am their REAL Father."
He fought and won FULL custody of ALL SIX children. The jury was unanimous.
When the doctor finished telling us this story, I literally stood up and started clapping.
That man is more a father than any sperm or DNA from the biological fathers. Yes, plural. Two, to be exact.
I hope you take this to heart the way I did. Not all families look the same. The path to parenthood isn't always the same. Some families have two parents. Some families have four.
DNA does not make you a family.
My best friend married a man who had two young children from a former marriage. Sadly, his former wife had passed away of cancer. My friend loves those girls with everything she has. She will do anything to keep them safe. She goes out of her way to make sure they have all they need in life. She is there for homework, games, slumber parties, puberty, shopping, vacations, friend drama and just plain life. She impresses me daily with all that she does for them. She is their role model. She is their friend. She is their mom.
She is constantly faced with the question "so are you going to have your own kids?" And I see it kick her in the gut, every f*cking time. I see the pain in her eyes just by one simple question.
Her response is always the same. "They are my kids. I am their mom."
F*ck yea, she is.