Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Making of a Parent

The NYT's article (no I am not trying to beat a dead horse) brought up a good question, one that all of us in the IF world ask ourselves at some point. "What makes a parent?" On some level, I think that everyone fears that his or her child will look at them one day and use the words of Dr. Seuss, "You are not my mother, you are a Snort!" All children, regardless of how they came to be, will one-day wish that their parents were anybody else. For all of us there will come a day when our sweet, darling, loving child will rip our hearts out and stomp them into the dirt.

I grew up in a very blended family that has prepared me well for dealing with the feelings of not being the biological parent of my child. I am the adopted child from my mother's first marriage, who has been raised by me "step" father since I was two, and my sister is the biological child of my mother and "step" father. My "step" father is my DAD. He has been there ever since I can remember. Over the years, he has mended my boo-boos, suffered through my math homework, dealt with my teen years and loved me through every moment. I am his daughter and I dare you to tell him any differently. My mom has been my mother since I was 12 days old. She loves me just as she loves my sister, who she birthed. We both drive her crazy, make her worry, and we are both the fabric that makes up her heart. My parents are my parents because they love me not because we share genetics. All of us are a family because we share our history, not because we share our DNA.

Birth mothers, surrogates, egg donors, sperm donors, and anyone else I have left out, are very special people who give us the ability to become parents, but they are never the parents of our children. Parents are the people who know more about us than we know about ourselves. They are the people who would rather die than see their child in pain for one moment. For every moment of our lives, they celebrate, cry and feel every emotion a thousand times over. I know this, just as I know that it will be dark when the sun sets.

One day my child will wish that I was not their mother. When that day comes my heart will break because he/she are getting older and are able to imagine a day when he/she will not need me to care for them, it will not break because I believe that maybe I am not their mother. I have been his/her mother for all the years that we have tried to make him/her a reality, and I will be his/her mother forever whether they like it or not. I am his/her mother because I love them so deeply and care about them so much that I could not begin to use words to convey these feelings.

This is the strangest part about IF; we become parents long before we ever have a child. Many of us spend years living our lives around people who do not exist. There are moments when I feel like an insane person living with this being that is very real to only me. For many years now, this being occupies most of my days. At some point, I began to realize that what sometimes feels like insanity is just the world's longest pregnancy.

Over the years, I have watched my friends prepare for the birth of the life that had overtaken their bodies. Not one of them prepared in that same way, but there was always one common denominator. RESEARCH. In their own ways, they reduced their anxiety about becoming parents, by becoming experts in their chosen field of neuroses. I have done the same, only I started a little further back in the process. I went into depth with all our options to become parents, adoption in all its various incarnations, infertility treatments, childlessness and surrogacy. Each subject got my complete attention for months on end. When surrogacy and egg donation became our chosen path to parenthood, my focus of research changed. I now research furniture, safety measures, schooling options and the thousand other things that children bring with them. Many of the conversations that parents have during pregnancy and after birth have already taken place between Joe-Bob and me. In fact, some of our epic fights have revolved around the non-existent being that lives with us.

One day my child may see me as a Snort, and that is okay because I know in my heart that our souls are made of the same matter even if our DNA is not.


18 comments:

bumpfairy said...

Parents are the people who know more about us than we know about ourselves. They are the people who would rather die than see their child in pain for one moment. For every moment of our lives, they celebrate, cry and feel every emotion a thousand times over. I know this, just as I know that it will be dark when the sun sets.

That right there is just about as perfect a statement as has ever been made. Rock on, Snort mama. I'm a Snort too!

Cyn said...

Another beautiful post that feels so right on!
As a surrogate there is not a single part of me that feels I have any greater responsibility to these children then to gestate them long enough for them to be healthy for their parents. I will never know them as well as their parents, nor would I ever want to.

These babies belong to their parents-for better or worse!

Duck said...

I love this post, it's so true. Recently in the media there has been a stink over a woman in BC who wants to know the name of her anoyn sperm donor, and I don't understand why she thinks that the donor is his father? It's not.

I'm with you on becoming a parent long before they even exist. We have little frozen embryos that we love, even though they only have a few cells they are very real to us, and we are very much their parents.

emilythehopeless said...

"This is the strangest part about IF; we become parents long before we ever have a child"

this post is amazing. thank you. that is so incredibly true.

corine said...

I want to say that the arduous journey we have to face actually make us people far more worthy of parenting a child that the average person. We have left no stone unturned. We have dreamed our child, we have asked ourselves millions of questions, we have sacrificed everything and more. We are prepared.

Just know that once the child is born there is no more question, just the immense love.

Lori said...

Beautiful post. Especially the last line.

Thank you, Jaymee.

Silver said...

Yet another amazing post!

Take care and good luck!

TABI said...

So true! I think I've been working on being parent ever since this became a "journey" instead of something that just happens "naturally." I've already conceived of my child in my mind and heart. The love and appreciation that we will have for our kids is immeasurable and I know that you will be forever connected to your child because of this.

Intending To Be Parents said...

I just met a woman today who is struggling with IVF and she said that if this next round doesn't work she is going to have to consider ED and she was upset by this. I wish I had read this post already so I could have given it to her.
Very well written.

In Due Time said...

Thanks for the lovely post. Hugs. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

ICLW

emilythehopeless said...

merry christmas jaymee :D

James Bourne said...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
GOD bless you and your family.

emilythehopeless said...

happy new year!
i reread this post so often.. it help. thank you again.
:)

Janna said...

What a beautiful post! My husband and I have begun researching surrogacy and I found your blog from. Your post was exactly what I needed hear tonight :)

Happy New Year!

bumpfairy said...

Hey! I miss you! It's the new year, please come back and post!

jojo said...

What a beautiful post. You have read my mind and articulated my heart.

I'm hoping to be a snort soon too.

I'll keep reading your blog. Good luck with your journey and yes, you should post more!!!

xxx

Marcella said...

You make my day better. Today I was the snort.

Anonymous said...

"Are You My Mother?" was not written by Dr. Seuss. It was written by P.D. Eastman.