Thursday, September 18, 2008

Secrets

I have been keeping a secret that is important to this journey.

When I first began this blog, I intended to take it down once we had our child. At that point, in our journey we still did not know what information we would share with our child about their unusual beginnings. Honestly, at that point we were sure that we were never going to tell them that another woman carried them. It was not that we were embarrassed, we thought that we would be protecting them from pain and hurt. As an adopted child I went through a time in my life when I felt flawed and carried guilt about my start in the world and I would never want that for my own child. Then I began to have nightmares of our child finding some piece of paper or picture and no longer being able to keep up the charade. All I could think of was how much worse that situation would be than just making it part of their narrative and leaving it at that.

Over that hurdle, we then had to decide how much of the story we were going to tell. Was it enough to just tell them that my stomach was broken and that another lady gave birth to them? Would it be better to let them see pictures of, talk to, or meet this woman? How far would we allow that relationship to go? How were we going to handle the relationship more to the point how was I going to feel about that relationship?

After weeks of debate and looking at every advantage and disadvantage, we made a decision. If we were going to tell the story, we had to tell them everything. It was an all or nothing deal. For those of you who know us will not be at all surprised, we are very much all or nothing people. One of the things infertility has not been able to steal away from me the commitment that no matter what the story of how our child came into the world I never wanted the time between thinking that they got here like anyone else and the true story would not exist we would always be honest with them. I still do not have the words for that day.

Okay so now that I have completely written us into some circle I guess I should tell you what the point of this was. Wow, I am actually nervous about this, and I am not ever nervous about saying anything here. We are using an egg donor. You will be happy to know that my head did not explode, I was afraid of that happening at this moment. I am not sure why it was so hard for me to say. For me this was the hardest part of choosing to use surrogacy. I had to make sure that I was not going to feel that I had less of a claim to our child or blame my husband when they turn out to be horrible people I cannot stand to be around, well at least not any more than a normal person would.

Before we entered into the world of surrogacy, we were preparing to adopt from China. I had researched everything that I could about the process, down to what airline discounts we could use and filling out a few applications with agencies. Something just never felt right, I knew that we were both able to parent a child that was not biologically ours and I knew that we could handle the extra challenges of adopting a toddler who would need extra help. After a year or so I realized what would not be right was that I would miss out on possibly the first year or two of my child’s life, and remember when I said we are all or nothing people because that is what drove me to this decision. I want to have every moment I can with my child, without being the type of parent who moves to the same town their child goes to college in, or calling to ask the nice man at company X who did not hire my child.

Surrogacy became the answer for us. We could be parents from day one and having a child that was not biologically mine seemed to be about the same thing as adoption. At least that is what I thought, until the day that I realized that I was ashamed to tell anyone and was considering breaking rule number 1 “always be honest”. I knew that when I consented for my surgery that I would loose my ability to have a child and I have never questioned that decision.

It began with the “creepy” factor of looking through hundreds of profiles. Somewhere in the middle of narrowing down these profiles, there were things that I had to start weeding out that made me uncomfortable. There were those things that were obvious, like a history of cancer and then there were things like eye color and GPA’s. I began to feel like I was living in one of those insane private preschool parodies in the movies. The real punch in the face was looking back through those I had narrowed down were nothing like me and part of that made me feel great and another part of that felt horrible, horrible in a way that nothing had ever made me feel and very shocking. I have never thought that biology had anything to do with being a good parent. My parents are great and not a bit of biology is shared between us and that has never made them love me less.

I believe that what was so hard to accept was that I was not just going to have a child “assigned” to me; I was going to have to choose a woman to be half of their genetics. For a while that felt strange, and then it felt hugely overwhelming. My first real decision as the mother of my child was to pick their genetic mother and that is one decision that I do not want to get wrong. I have talked about my paralyzing fear before and this was a time when I was really stuck. More people have looked at egg donors with me, and the more people that I pulled in the more my choices were confirmed. Having others agree that they too were seeing what I was seeing was so helpful.

Affirmation of your choices is so rare in the world of infertility, that when it finally happens it feels like Christmas and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. I have no other words to describe that feeling of elation when you finally feel that you are competent enough to make “parent” level decisions.

We are using an egg donor, because I would not be able to live with myself if my child inherited even one of my disorders. That is the trouble with knowing just enough to be dangerous when it comes to the heritability of disease and disability. Well that is at least what I am telling myself for now. Other than me being able to carry this baby on my own like most women no solution is going to be perfect. Surrogacy just happens to meet more of our criteria. At the start of this process I believed that I would have, a much harder time dealing with my feelings about the surrogate, so far that had not been true.

There is my little secret. Now it does not seem like such a big deal.

23 comments:

Silver said...

So glad that your secret doesn't feel like such a big deal. I wish you all the best in your journey and I am glad I am able to follow along.

Cyn said...

Likewise, I'm glad that it doesn't feel like such a big deal to you now because it's really not.
You sound like you are in a really great spot and emotionally ready to begin this process.
I'm also pleased to hear that you've decided 100% honesty is best. I can understand the fear that 'someday' your child will like the surro or ED more, but honestly from my surro perspective I have zero desire to raise or nurture the twins I gave birth to for my IP's. I LOVE that I get to see them grow as a family and that they are willing to share intimate moments in their lives (not all parents are eager to act silly in front of other adults).
Making decisions as a parent is never easy, but you're doing a great job already!

Beautiful Mess said...

I agree with the other ladies, I'm glad that your secret turned out to be not such a big deal. Isn't it funny how we get so worked up in our heads, then write it out and feel so relieved? Your decision to be honest is a beautiful one, you are doing an amazing job! keep it up!
Hugs,
-D

chicklet said...

I think it's a big deal cuz that's a very very hard decision to make, and sharing anything of that magnitude can be really hard. Now that it's out, it won't seem as big, and will probably make you feel even better cuz now you get to share it all:-)

Mrs Woggie said...

Thank you for sharing your secret. I wish you all the very best in choosing your egg doner.

Here from ICLW.

SmartOne said...

This decision is a big deal, and figuring out how you're going to deal with it for the many years to come is even bigger. But I think that once those decisions have been made and you've processed it enough to a place where you feel comfortable and at peace with your decisions, the weight feels lifted and you can say, "It's not such a big deal now." I'm glad that you've come to that place - it must feel like being able to breathe a little better.

Kristin said...

I'm glad you reached a point where you were able to tell us about this. I think being able to talk about this will bring you peace of mind and it should make this whole journey a lot easier.

Cara said...

Saying it out loud (or in our case out to the internet public) is often the best beginning for your emotions. So glad you feel like you can trust us and equally glad I found you on ICLW and will now follow your story to it FABULOUS ending!

Millie said...

Jaymee,
Thanks for sharing your secret. I have had many of the feelings that you shared. Knowing that you will raise and love a child who is not biologically yours but is your husbands is overwhelming at times. If you are like me somedays your secret WILL seem like a big deal but other days it won't. I know that the day that I hold my new son (just a few more months) that 'big deal' will be gone. I'm sure it will for you too.

Rachel & Jacob said...

best wishes to you in your journey. It is fun to see how so many women have so many Different emotions and desires and that everyones path to motherhood is vast and varying.

GOod luck and prayers!

bendingbackwards said...

I wish you the best in your journey. What struck me in your post was that I too have thought about when E and I do have a child, what will the blog become. As I thought about it, I think I might show the child some parts, and show them how much we wanted and loved him/her before they entered this world.

Here from ICLW.

Michelle said...

Just found your blog from ICLW and I wanted to say thank you for sharing your secret with us. I am glad you were able to do that. I wiah all great things for you and your journey. ((HUGS))

J and D waiting said...

What a great entry. I am glad you are taking so much time in thinking about what you are doing and how it will effect your child. I am glad you are able to share with everyone. congrats on moving forward in the surrogacy world.

Jenn said...

I'm glad you were able to share it and that it doesn't feel like a big deal anymore and your head didn't explode :)

(ICLW)

Kristine said...

I know, it's not easy. Not everyone is privy to the fact that our 10 month old is the result of donor embryos. It's not something I'm ashamed of, but it was something I really didn't want to have to explain over and over again to "ignorant" people.

I've been very open about it on my blog though, and as my blog grows, and the line between it and my "real" life diminishes, the chance that people will figure it out is there.

As far as Kiel, we never had any plans of keeping it a secret from him. I do wonder though how we will explain it to him. It's more black and white when it comes to our older son when we talk about his adoption from Russia. With Kiel though, it's more a story of a very generous couple that created their own family and wanted to help another with their extra embryos and our amazing doctor that felt we were the family that was worthy of that gift.

One of the great things about my blog though is it gives me a place to "practice" these conversations, and think things through. And get feedback from some great people!

siscaboo said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I wish you the best. What an awesome adventure you are going on.

In Due Time said...

Thanks for sharing your secret. Good luck with your decision of "the lucky one".

ICLW

Kate said...

Here from ICLW. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Amy said...

I can't imagine having to make that sort of decision. Thank you for sharing that. Good luck with the whole process.

ICLW

Martha said...

Visiting from ILCW and thank you for this touching and inspiring post. You will be a wonderful parent because you are putting your child first, truly a selfless act. Best Wishes for your family.

sara said...

I'm glad that you seem to be in a really good space with things - and I will keep you in my thoughts in the weeks ahead. As Martha said - you are putting your child first, and I think that is what a great mom does. ICLW

Aunt Becky said...

I have a couple of my blog friends who have done both surrogacy and egg donation as means to achieve their families, so I've learned a bit about it from them. And you sound like you're in such a good spot mentally to begin your journey. I'm so happy for you!

Here from ICLW and I'll be back.

Irish Diplomacy said...

As an egg donor, I found this post very refreshing and honest to read. My donation was completed for a same-sex male couple so a little different, but still, I like to see how an IM thinks of their ED. I totally agree with your 'honesty is the best policy' approach! I think you will never regret it. I love to see pics of my ED twins growing and thriving with their Dads. It is an awesome feeling that cannot easily be matched.

Best of luck moving forward with your surrogacy!!

Here from ICLW and will return!! :)