We have officially had too much time to think about this, and we're not done yet.
Our debate between Donor Egg IVF and living child-free is not centered around our comfort with using a donor. It is centered on whether or not we want to be parents.
Let me be clear, we are both uncertain. As in
nearly all things, we are in complete agreement, on the the same page
(even the same sentence). Our synchronicity is alarming, and not a
little counterproductive at this point. This is not a situation where
one of us wants to move one way and the other is pulling in a different
direction. We are standing together at this intersection, hand in hand,
and scared to move for fear of getting it wrong. I mean, the scenery at this particular intersection isn't that bad and the traffic is manageable...
My thoughts, feelings and desires fluctuate wildly by the hour. I am not exaggerating. If we stop now, say no to donor eggs and proceed child-free... are we robbing ourselves of a beautiful future or saving ourselves a lifetime of heartache? There are so very many things that could go wrong, and at any number of points in pregnancy or childhood. Admittedly, most people never have to confront these nightmares in person. But let's face it, we've had it rammed home again and again and again over the last three years... We are NOT Most People. God knows there are no guarantees that "overcoming infertility" means living happily ever after.
First thing in the morning, when I've just woken up but am still exhausted from a crappy night's sleep and I'm already running late only ten minutes into my day, I think there's no way I would survive parenthood with my soul intact. Same thing goes for Saturday afternoon and there are more household chores than I have energy to tackle with Prof tied to his desk working against a deadline, much less the thought of childcare. I can't even keep the dust bunnies out of my own bedroom, I'm not fit to be someone's mother.
Child-free is the path of least resistance. It is the default future should we fail to act. Is it somehow more acceptable if we didn't necessarily "choose" that future? If someone came to us and told us we had reached the end of our road and we would not be able to have children no matter what, we would be fine. It would be a relief to be off the hook and able to walk confidently into the future. Sometimes I feel like I'm focusing on the crappy parts of parenthood, just so I can convince myself it's OK not to want it, to make it hurt less to not have it.
On the other hand, when I get a moment to pause in my day and note some of the more amazing things in the world (like fireflies and spring blossoms and the first snow of the season), I think how incredible to see all of those things again through the eyes of child. When Prof starts rattling on about something science-y, as he is wont to do, I think what fun he would have explaining our world to a little one. When BFF(B)'s youngest comes running full speed to where we are chatting in her kitchen, just to ask for a hug before tearing back to the living room to play again...
If we had conceived on our own shortly after ditching the birth control, we would have been nervous but thrilled. And we would have rolled confidently into that future, certain that there was nothing we couldn't handle together. There are times when I imagine our possible child and I feel like my heart (my literal heart, not my mind or my soul) is swelling to the bursting point with pain because I might never meet him/her. It's an uncontrollable, physical pain that brings tears to my eyes no matter where I happen to be.
Infertility has stolen our innocence, our dreams, our confidence. It has also given us a bond even stronger than we imagined we could have, it has made us thrive as a team in ways we should be proud of.
One of our primary fears for a successful pregnancy is what effect it will have on our relationship. And before you ask, yes of course we considered that before we ever threw away the birth control. But this is what infertility does to you. It makes you question every little thing in much greater detail than you ever have before, in a constantly repeating loop. Our marriage, our relationship, is so incredible, even after infertility. If we can grow closer and stronger through all of this, why should it be any other way with parenthood?
The whole genetic link factor really doesn't matter to me (I suppose I should say MY genetics... I want Prof's genes represented). I see donor egg as something like baking a cake. Except at the last minute, I have realized I'm out of eggs and have to pop over to a neighbor's house to ask for a few of hers. It's still my recipe, I'm still the one baking the cake, I still get to call the end product my own. One of my personal fears, and it's not a small one, is what if my DE teenager decides I'm not their "real mom"? What if they decide they need to try to locate that "real mom", difficult though that would be with an anonymous donor? What if, in my child's eyes, those genetics end up being really important? I feel like this is just the merest tip of the iceberg that adoptive couples face.
*Light Bulb* Any good books on adoption that might help me process this particular fear?
Are you now as confused as I am?