As you consider your invitations for your gender reveal party I ask that you think about others. Imagine the thoughts of a single woman at the party, who's longing to find love and is wondering if she'll even have the chance to have a baby one day. Think about the woman who carried her baby in her belly for 5 months and then miscarried. Think about those who have struggled with gender identity or has a child that is struggling. Think about someone who has tried everything humanly possible to conceive, yet ultimately infertile, like me and my husband.
Some Egg Donor agencies require that every "intended parent" (yes that's what we are called, sigh) goes through a psych evaluation prior to moving forward with the process. The questions asked are uncomfortable and boarder line offensive, in my opinion. Can you imagine if all parents had to go through this before trying to conceive? Think about that one.
People ask me all the time "Why do you keep trying for a baby after all you have been through, Victoria?" They say things like "I don't understand how you could put yourself through so much financial burden for something that's not guaranteed, I would NEVER do that.". Never say never, my friend. Never judge a pain you have not endured.
We have avoided planning trips just in case I need to be local for a procedure. My husband had to cancel a guys getaway because we needed him to be "on call" to unload the swimming soldiers. We've put other dreams on hold because our fertility treatments took all of our damn money. We've missed important work meetings, special events, and just plain life. This process has had us by the balls. Literally. (sorry honey). We knew it is time to take a break from fertility treatments. And that's perfectly OKAY.
I used to think infertility made me less of a woman. I felt un-sexy. I felt inadequate. I felt like a failure. I would look at myself in the mirror and cry. And cry. And cry. I would look at my injection bruises and surgery scars and feel shame. I was embarrassed. I felt like I wasn't "enough". But, now I see someone different. I see a new version of me. I see someone with guts and tenacity. I see a woman who has survived tragedy and become stronger from it. I see someone who is more of a woman because of what I have overcome, and continue to overcome.
With infertility, everyday is a new battle. A battle against yourself. A battle to stay strong and positive, when all you want to do is cry. It's very easy to dwell on how unfair and hard it is. Sometimes we need to sit in the muck and be angry, sad and negative to cope.
It's shitty for the woman that desperately wants to be a mother, but can't. Or the single woman who wants to be a mom but feels like time is passing her by. Or the woman that lost her mother, and will be spending Mother's day at her grave site. And what about the mother that has lost a child, and will be grieving all day even if her living children are there to spend it with her?It's not all about f*cking flowers, brunches and breakfast in bed.
It's hard to know what to say to the "infertile" sometimes. It's hard to know what will make us upset. It's hard to know what will make us comfortable. It's hard to know what will make us sad or make us cry. It's hard being our friend sometimes. I get it. We know how hard this is on you too. We appreciate all the things you do to protect us. We know you have our best intentions at heart. We notice your efforts to do the right thing by us. We know you care. We know that if/when you get pregnant, you dread telling us. We know that you are so incredibly excited, but the thought of telling us makes you sad.
The right age to have a baby is a personal decision for each person. Some 50 year old women are much healthier than some 30 year old women. And typically with age, comes wisdom, success, stability, education, and a stronger identity. If a 40 year old woman is healthy, has her shit together and is ready to be a mom, let her be. If a woman finds her true love later in life and decides to take her time with a family, let her be. If a woman struggles for years to get pregnant and decides she needs a break, let her be.
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. Being a parent is about Love. Nurture. Support. Comfort. Understanding. Love. Love. And more Love. DNA does not make you a mother. Love does.
If you are experiencing infertility, or a pregnancy loss, etc. you are probably dreading the holidays.
You are mentally preparing for all of the potential "baby" scenarios. Like, that beautiful pregnant cousin of yours, all glowy and shit. Why is she so damn perfect anyway? Great-grandma means well, but you know the "when are you having kids" question is coming. Bless her little heart. And the thought of all the little kids opening gifts and sharing special moments with their parents will having you running for the nearest bottle of vodka and box of tissues.
When we started down the route of using an egg donor, everyone made it sound like it was a shoe in. I remember our doctor saying our chances of success were around 90%. When you select an egg donor, you are basically saying, okay, lets just get pregnant already. You don't really consider that it won't work. It's, simple, you choose a young girl with a ton of healthy eggs, and then you get pregnant. It's a no brainer. Well, until you find out your Egg Donor is exactly like you.
I've never been much of a religious person. But, I've always believed there is some sort of "higher power" out there. It's kinda cool to think that God still has his eye on me. Could I really give up control to someone greater than me? Now, I'm not saying I CAN give up control, honestly, I don't know if I can. But I'm gonna f*cking try.
Whether you are dating, married, or over 30 and single, there is always some f*cking idiot who asks the question - "When are you going to have kids?" or "Are you guys trying?". We've all heard it. And we all HATE it! My husband, Jonathan, and I have had years and years of practice with this question. So, I thought, Hell, why not share our favorite comebacks.
Most people have no idea how financially stressful the fertility process can be. But the money is just a part of the pain. Yea, it hurts. But that's the least of the hurt, honestly. We WERE finally on a path to success (or so we thought). We had all the hope in the world! Our checkbook was poor but our hearts were full and rich with love! "It will all be worth it in the end" they say! And then my heart got ripped out of my f*cking chest.
We learned that there aren't any clear cut laws around using egg donors. So, even though we have a signed legal agreement, the law doesn't clearly define me as the mother. Sigh. And, the law could change at any time and trump our signed agreement. Double Sigh. Luckily, there are proven court cases to reference, and in most instances the "intended" mother won in all of those cases. Our attorney told us that since it is my "intent" to mother the child (not Meggan's) I would "likely" be considered the legal mother if she ever tried to take me to court to sue for parental rights. Isn't that f*cking awesome? But, at least, Jonathan is still the baby daddy, regardless. So, we have that.
A mother is someone who gives hugs when we need them. It's someone who is patient and understanding even when we are wrong. It's someone who does the best that they can to help us through hardships. It's someone who stands by us and helps ease our pain. It's someone who believes in us, and loves us unconditionally. It's someone who leads by example and encourages us.
I got the pleasure of meeting an egg donor. I was in complete admiration of her. Although, she didn't consider her act of donating eggs admirable at all. But, I couldn't disagree more.
There are many things in life you get paid to do that take guts, courage and heart. Think about the people that do jobs you consider "admirable". They are getting paid, but they are still doing a job that not many people would do, right? They are putting their lives at danger, but sure, they still receive a paycheck.(Note - egg donors certainly aren't rolling in the dough. In most cases, the agency actually collects more money than the donor does.)
Gay people will ALWAYS need additional resources (a third person) to have a baby. This is just something they expect to encounter. It's part of their life.
Just because this is a part of their life, it doesn't make it easy. I don't think people really recognize this. I admit, I hadn't.They need support just like I do. They need love and compassion just like I do. They need a shoulder to cry on, just like I do.
In my talks with other women experiencing infertility, I've found that it's never easy when a loved one gets pregnant. We all experience it. It doesn't matter who the person is. A family member, a friend, or a co-worker. It's ALWAYS hard.The feelings can be really dark and ugly. Don't feel bad about those feelings. We all get them. I promise!
But here's the deal...