two uteri, two mamas pregnant, AGAIN, with baby number two

37 April 10, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 12:05 am

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.


16 Responses to “37”

  1. WOW , deep , mature , loving madness of it all! So touched. I think it my far the most thoughtful post I have read of yours so far.

    Congrats! And enjoy ths most awesome blessing of yours.

  2. Mark Lyndon Says:

    I think you and your daughter will be juuust fine, and this is way better than choosing an anonymous donor, whose identity your daughter would never know, or even an id-release donor, who would be a mystery until your child is 18 (that’s assuming he’d actually be contactable then, since unbelievably, some sperm banks advertise id-release donors, but tell the donors they can change their mind).

    Sure, there’s a genetic twist in there, but there’s so much else to parenting, and certainly for the first few years, she’s going to be a lot more interested in who’s feeding her, washing her, and changing her, than in who she shares the most genes with. When she’s old enough to understand the DNA thing, you’ve nothing to hide, and I think she’ll appreciate being able to know who her donor is.

    Congratulations to all of you!

  3. maeby Says:

    Firstly – how in the hell has it been 37 weeks? :O Holy shit.

    Secondly – I love how you write about the turns & twists of the alternative family. I don’t have any answers (sadly, we had to go with anonymous), but I have no doubt that you & S & WTF & RM will find them – nay, create them – as you all take this jorney together – each in his or her own way.

  4. ohchicken Says:

    this is such a beautiful post. thank you (to wtf as well) for putting the questions and twists and turns of alternative family out there. we’re negotiating these waters too with the coach. although he is single, it’s all still so complicated sometimes. and overwhelmingly simple at other times.

    37 weeks. wow. i am so excited for you to meet waffle recipe (which is, by far, the best fetal baby name ever. amen.)

  5. Liza Says:

    If you — and your friends — don’t already read, you may want to check out her posts on this topic. They are in the same complicated donor-familial structure. I think the donor’s wife has also written about it online.

    I’m sure they had similarly complicated and difficult feelings about how all this family stuff would work out, at least early on, but they seem to have reached an enviable space of love, family, and friendship.

  6. Allison Says:

    I have never posted a response before, but this post has brought me out of lurking. You speak beautifully about how complicated and alternative fmaily is and can be.

    I am a birth mother. I gave my child up for adoption at 20. It’s a choice I have never regretted and my son has a wonderful family and beautiful parents. It is a semi-open adoption. We write. We send pictures. We do what feels right to us.

    I am 12 weeks pregnant…my husband and I are thrilled. BUt, as you can well imagine…the feelings are complicated. This child will be a full blood brother or sister of the child WE gave up for adoption. We stayed together and got married and 9 years later are starting a family all over again.

    Anyway…my point in telling you this is me hoping that you can take comfort in knowing that there are many, many families out there who are complicated…and who are figuring it out as they go along. Everything we have decided and done came from love…came from feeling like we were doing the best we could….and that’s what matters. As long as we continue to do so…we’re golden. 🙂

    Same goes for you and your lovely family. Best of luck to you. And I enjoy readin your blog very much.

  7. bri Says:

    What a brilliant post.

    All I know for sure is that having more (good) people love a child is pretty much never a bad thing.

  8. complicatedmama Says:

    hmm. yeah so we ARE family now. this much is true. i told legoboy the whole deal today. he seemed unimpressed, like, “MOM, you already TOLD me that part.” then he said, “so will the baby look like Dada?” i said we’d have to wait and see. he seemed okay with that.

    i am unimpressed with the lack of response to my post. i was hoping to create a dialogue. glad to see one here. i guess i will try again, with specific questions, needs, hopes.

    woah so i was thinking that if our kids do feel related’ish, then your daughter may feel like she sort of has two sisters.

    and if your daughter ever says “you’re not my real mom anyway” you COULD say “well you wouldnt even be here if i hadnt sat next to WTf on that first day of grad school a hundred years ago.” “and who do you think googled her ass off trying to figure out when to trigger shot S. so there was the greatest chance of conceiving your ungrateful ass?”

  9. supermommy Says:

    Very well spoken. OUT OF LOVE!

  10. oneofhismoms Says:

    You are such an insightful, understanding person. Just had to get that out there.

  11. Travelher Says:

    This is such a beautiful post about the complications of family in general. I wish you well for these last couple of weeks and much, much love to go around:)

  12. Chicory Says:

    have to pipe up an echo here. I love how you write about complication. Love how you hold multiple truths at once.

  13. Judy Says:

    Just want to share some mothering love.
    Check out my blog and the beautiful
    song my sister wrote for all of we

  14. holly Says:

    First of all, I can’t believe you are at 37 weeks! Wow – times flew by (for me at least LOL)

    Secondly, I think your feelings and everyone else’s are all so genuine. This will all work out. This child is so lucky to have so much love.

  15. Tiff Says:

    Just came across your blog – late in the game! Just wanted to wish you the best of luck with your delivery. I hope all goes very smoothly….this is an extremely exciting time for you, wow!! Best wishes for a happy and healthy little one.

  16. Karrie42 Says:

    We are actually in a very similar situation. On the one hand we feel very lucky and blessed to have such a supportive, extended family. On the other hand, it’s difficult to navigate our little alternative family through this conventional world. Our donor family is wonderful. I knew it would all work out okay when I overheard our donor telling his son (who is 10), ‘he’ll be more like a cousin than a brother.’ We actually inspired them to have another wee one (born 2 weeks ago!) At the same time, we are cautious about who we tell. My parents know and are very understanding. At the same time, my mom will sometimes say things like, ‘he’ll get to play with his brothers later.’ Well, yes and no’ I reply. And at the same time, we know that one day our little one may actually *want* to refer to them as his brothers. I think we’d be okay with this…I *want* to be okay with this…but it’s hard to tell right now. And don’t even get me started on my brother’s family, who refuse to speak with us anymore because we ‘have taken our child’s father away from him.’

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