You know the feeling: you’re starving, and you really want a burger, but all you have is salad, so you eat the salad, and technically you aren’t hungry anymore because the salad was huge and had lots of avocado and sunflower seeds and stuff like that, but it wasn’t a burger, so you aren’t fully satisfied.
I spoke to a friend today who asked for the lowdown on how it feels to be the mom of a donor egg baby. Is it everything that it promises to be? Is it worth the financial cost, the emotional roller coaster of hope-turned-grief, and the risk of having yet another miscarriage? Or should she consider moving forward with her life and live child-free.
She wanted an honest answer, so I gave it to her. It’s kind of like a salad. It’s good, but what I really wanted was a burger. And I’m not fully satisfied.
I’m not sure who these women are who say that a donor egg baby is the same as an own-egg baby. That they never think about the donor again after getting a pee-stick positive, seeing the heartbeat, feeling a kick, or whatever other milestone is met. I guess these women exist because boundless baby bliss is all I ever heard about, but all I know is that I’m not one of them.
I think about the donor all the time. She’s who I see when I look at my daughter’s smile or wonder how I’m going to tame those crazy eyebrows. She’s the person I think about when my husband talks about the family that we’ve built. She’s what comes to mind when I see that my kid should have met some developmental skill and I wonder what consequences there’ll be from being deceived about my donor’s smarts on her profile.
This haunting motivated me to meet today with a therapist who specializes in infertility and third-party reproduction. I love my long-time therapist, but I’m not sure if she can help me with what I’m going through. As I mentioned in my last post, when I asked her why I’m feeling disconnected, she said that the why didn’t matter and that I just needed to work on connecting with my kid. You know: “process my intimacy issues.”
She’s wrong, I think. I think it does matter. If I’m uneasy about qualities in my donor that I see in my daughter, I need to work through that. If my involvement in the donor egg community is making me think too much about my baby’s conception, then I need to find a new distance with that world while still respecting whatever responsibility I owe my daughter. If there remains a shit ton of grief at the loss of my genetics, then I need to resolve that, too. And yes, process my intimacy issues blah blah fuck you.
So was my baby pursuit worth it in the end? I think so, but it’s not exactly black and white. Raising my daughter is a
million thousand times better for me than being childless, but it hasn’t been easy. She isn’t a burger, but she is pretty damn good, and what I hope is that this work will turn these salad days into salad days.