It has taken me a bit to post because it is hard to articulate the whole of what it has been like. I have been thinking about what to say in terms of how I feel about using donor eggs ever since Mrs. Spock asked if I still feel how I felt when I wrote about using DE before we conceived. It's a tough question to answer and even harder to explain. I hoping by answering individual questions I will be able to better focus my thoughts.
Before I do my best to address the questions I want to make a few things clear:
- I am completely in love with LB. She is all things wonderful.
- My unresolved issues around using DE are about me, not about her.
- It is possible to hold two different, conflicting feelings about something simultaneously. Kids are good at this - they can hate someone and love her at the same time. As adults, we think it can only be one or the other.
- If at some point while reading this you think I am saying that LB is anything but perfect, please revisit the above statements.
My question for you is this: how often, if ever, do you think about LB coming from a donor egg? Do you still mourn that loss, or does it not matter anymore? I remember it took you a long time to get used to the idea, even while you were PG.Of course everyone is different and I don't think you can know for sure how you feel until you get there. I had (have) similar fears and the thought that gives me peace is that I believe I have some choice in how I feel. I have a choice in which emotions and thoughts I dwell on.
I ask because these are the kinds of things I'm thinking/worrying about now, going into this DE process. I know I'll love my kid 100%, but I have one (hard-earned) bio kid and I sometimes wonder if my DE child will be as smart, gorgeous, etc., and if it will matter to me if he/she isn't. Or will I be blind to his/her faults entirely, because he/she is mine. I'd like to think these things won't matter, but some small part of me is sad that I'll never know what a second bio kid might have been like.
I still think about LB coming from a donor egg nearly every day, sometimes many times a day. (Please note that just because I think about it doesn't mean that it makes me sad.) I think in this I may be unusual, but it is the way I am. When I look at her I see this beautiful baby that I love, but I also see eyes (eyes that I adore) that are clearly not from Brad nor I nor anyone in our families. Because LB has a known donor, I know exactly where her eyes come from. If seeing Belinda wasn't proof enough, Belinda's mom showed me a picture of LB's 'cousin' who was about the same age - same eyes. Besides something so obvious, she just doesn't look like me. I know genetic parents who have said the same thing, but I wonder if there are similarities that hit at the subconscious level. Or maybe it is just my baggage that makes me see it differently.
I remember the first time I saw the picture in this post. I was holding LB at the time. I remember thinking that she just didn't seem like my baby - the one in the picture. The one I was holding I was madly in love with and was most certainly mine, but the one in the picture seemed like someone else's kid. Maybe this is not unique to DE parents, maybe it is just that after 6 years I still can't get my mind around the fact that we have a baby.
I also worry about her being bright enough. I take that back. I think Belinda is very bright. I guess I want LB to be bright they way I am bright, if that makes sense. I was one of the few kids who liked geometry in high school. Will LB be good at geometry?
Yes, I still mourn that loss. Not every day, but often enough. I ache to have my genetic child (my child) and I still fantasize about a miracle pregnancy (one that doesn't end in a miracle death) or winning the lottery and trying one more time with my eggs. I didn't think I would feel this way. I thought the feeling would evaporate as soon as LB was born (to answer Sky's question), but it didn't. I don't think my longing for a genetic baby changed much at all. I think my acceptance of the situation will grow, but I think it is something that will always be with me.
I delight in nearly every moment with LB. ("Nearly" because sometimes she is not entirely pleasant and I'm not entirely up to the task.) I want to give her the world. I will spend 20 minutes trying to get a smile and find even a fleeting one more than worth the effort. I will wake up in the morning after 10 hours in bed, still tired, look over at the one responsible for waking me up every 1.5 hours (we are working to break that habit) and not only be ready to do it all over again; but eager and excited to do it all over again. There have probably been over 10 billion babies born on this planet and when LB learns something new it is like the first time it has happened in the universe. I absolutely love her. I think she is bright and beautiful and a joy to have in our lives.
Furthermore, I no longer ache to parent. I have a lightness in my spirit I haven't experienced since before Ernest died. I have often said that the longing for a child is innate - a longing that is not logical, but is closer to an instinct. I no longer have that longing and the lack of it is incredibly freeing.
My goal now is to make sure my issues do not become LB's issues. One day not too long ago, I was putting her to bed after a particularly bad 'poor me' moment in terms of never having a genetic baby. I was physically afraid of her. The responsibility of helping this little grub of a human to grow up happy and healthy felt so enormous. How can I make sure my sense of loss never negatively effects her? I don't think a five year old could ever see me sad about that loss and not assume she wasn't enough. I don't want to be dishonest with her, but I see no other way at this point. If you have some thoughts on this subject, please share them.
There were other questions. I will try to answer them as soon as possible.