The baby is full term and could come any time now. Tic. Tock.
The reality of a baby is suddenly very real. Both for our family, and apparently, for our donor’s family. My friend WTF posted a little deal about it the other day, and then we had a soulful therapisty chat. I want her to be able to express her feelings, thoughts, worries, joys about this freely, but when she does, I sometimes get slightly nervous. I have actually been wondering where her angst was hiding, about this very complicated subject, and am relieved to see it surface rather than get shoved down or carefully put into a box and neatly wrapped.
These issues are real. They are juicy and complicated and full of paradox. Babies. Sperm. Biology. Genetics mean everything and nothing in the same moment. Rocket Man (our donor) is not Waffle Recipe’s father. Although we call him our donor, and we do not call his children our daughter’s half siblings – they are…technically, biologically. Yet, of course the relationships in our family are based on role and choice rather than biology. All true, but this can be true and other things can be true at the same time.
When I read WTF’s post, my first instinct was to reassure her – to tell her that feel her feelings are normal, but simultaneously minimize them. To convince her that her husband is not even the technical biological father of my wife’s baby. Of my baby. Because, you see, WTF and I want the same thing…for this baby to be mine.
But the truth is, when they handed us that cup of sperm, they became an alternative family. THEY did. We always were, they just had lesbian friends. Now their family is changed. And as generous as they are, and as freely as their gift to us was given, it is at the very least slightly complicated to give your genes away. Complicated to give your husband’s genes away. Complicated for another woman to be having a child who just as biologically related to your husband as your own children.
Fuuuuuuck. RIght? That is intense.
I do not want to pretend that doesn’t exist. I do not want to minimize her feelings, or the reality of their choice and its impact on her family. There has never been any doubt, for WTF, that this baby is ours, mine and S’s, but I think that was a little theoretical in some ways. I mean an actual baby is about to be born into the world. In like 3 weeks, or tomorrow! If I were WTF, I would be a little scared to love this baby, a little afraid of what my attachment might mean. Like, is it okay to be more attached to this baby than to Smarty? How much are donors, or donor families, allowed to love the children they helped the other family, the ‘real’ family, to make? What is appropriate? Are the donor’s kids allowed to love the child? How much? How connected are our families? WHat will happen when this kid grows up? Asks questions? I wonder how it would feel to be WTF right now, knowing NO ONE who is in her position. No one.
What does it mean that my wife is pregnant with the sperm of my best friend’s husband?
So here I sit, waiting for my baby to arrive, holding many truths.
This is my baby AND this baby is not genetically related to me.
WTF and RM have nothing to do with this baby in any parental way AND this baby ties our family together.
All of us entered this with love, with brilliant intentions, without strings, or regrets AND we are all allowed to have messy complicated feelings about it. This I know for sure.
As our roller skating, smart, stable, wine loving, funny, somewhat emotionally unavailable, handsome, donor says: This is just another way to experience life, and whatever happens, we will always know that we made this decision out of love [or something like that].
To my lovely friend WTF, thank you for being our sperm pimp, and ultimately pimping out your own husband so that we could create the lovely creature we are about to meet, and please know that you have permission, forever, to have feelings about donating sperm to us, because after all, that sperm made an actual baby. You have permission to feel messy, complicated and weird about it sometimes. And you have permission to love her, too.