I’ve been working hard to wrap my head around the ins-and-outs of what it’ll mean to raise a child that isn’t genetically my own. There are a lot of layers to it, especially since my discomfort stems from some deep-seated issues, but overall, I’d say I’m in a pretty good place with it.
But in rereading a post I wrote a few months back, there’s something I said that still haunts me a little. In imagining a future fight with my DE child, I wrote:
When that child’s pre-pubescent voice inevitably shouts, “You’re not my real mom,” my response will most definitely be, “Well, I never wanted you either, Kid.”
(I’ll give you a moment to close your dropped jaw.)
OK, so, yes, the idea that I might ever say something like that to a child is pretty horrifying, but what scares me a little now is that – even after all this time and therapy – there’s still a grain of emotional truth in the sentiment.
Let me explain: It’s not true that I won’t want the kid himself. Of course I will. I’ve pretty much let go of any doubt that I won’t bond with my DE children, or any children that I might be fortunate enough to raise.
What’s true, however, is that I will have never wanted a situation where I couldn’t have genetic children. Obviously I’d never want that. Who would? But that’s different from “I don’t want you.” It’s different enough that I no longer feel any reticence or reservation about pursuing donor egg IVF – but it’s similar enough that I have to admit to still feeling a little scared.
What if my kid discovers how much I struggled with infertility? What if he feels like he wasn’t my first choice of kids? I know what I’d say, of course. It’ll be something along the lines of, “I’m glad I couldn’t get pregnant on my own, because if I did, then I wouldn’t have you, and there’s no other kid in the world I’d want, blah, blah, blah.” I worry, though, that there’ll be a part of him that won’t believe me, just like I worry that there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe me.
My self-consolation is this: I probably have about a decade before this imaginary fight comes up, and I can’t know what things will be like until I get there. In the meantime, all I can do is trust what I do know: between therapy, my friends, my family, and (above all) N, I’m doing everything I can to be a responsible parent to a DE child, and my intention is to continue to do what’s best for the children that I’m working so hard to manifest.
In the meantime, I’m still nervous about saying the absolute right thing to my kid, but at least I’m not nervous about saying the absolute wrong thing. Hopefully that’s enough for now.