Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Controversy of Family

It came up yesterday from a friend, an inquiry.  Why don't I post updates on my Facebook page? 

Most of my family is supportive and even excited.  One person has remained skeptical.  A combination of not be able to comprehend our infertility.  "We have strong genes!  We've never had infertility in the family!" ( I don't even know what strong genes is supposed to mean) and a fear that Rachel will change her mind and we will be one more face on the news about the hoodwinking of surrogacy.  However, this person is slowly coming around as they ask questions.  LOTS of questions.  And hopefully will be fully on board once they meet Rachel.  I am lucky.  To have family and friends that support me, see Scott and I as competent adults able to make a decision.

Unfortunately, Scott is not as lucky.  Most of his family would be supportive.  His mother was adopted for petes sake!.  But his parents?  Well... lets just say they were relieved when we miscarried.  To a certain extent, no matter what our income or living situation, they will never think we are "_______ enough to have a baby".  They will not understand or support our surrogacy.  In fact, I anticipate some real anger and bitterness.

I am friends with Scott's sister on facebook.  I imagine she will be very supportive of our decision... but as she lives in the same town as Scotts parents I also imagine it could easily come up in conversation.  Scott feels it is better in this circumstance to wait until after we have passed the 12 weeks to tell his parents.  As such, my facebook posts have to be... discrete. 

Some blogs I have read would say (Or seem to say) that this is wrong.  That I should be at the forefront of educating.  But I know that in this situation it is not that Scotts parents would take issue if one of their friends pursued surrogacy.  It is the fact that WE are pursuing surrogacy that they will take issue with.  Lets face it, every family is different.  I am trying to respect the dynamic between Scott and his parents.  Especially as they live in another state and we see them a handful of times a year, it makes changing family dynamics difficult if not impossible if the people are not open to the change.  What really upsets me, is that they are going to miss out.  It makes me sad to think that they will miss one-third of the pregnancy of their grandchild.  Quite possibly, a lot more than just that.

Thinking of his parents relief made me think of all the things people said in response to our miscarriage.  Most... were not helpful.  Some, was downright hurtful. I think the hardest thing was the people who said "Oh, something must have been wrong with it.  It must have not been meant to be."  Perhaps if I was a super-scientific person that would be helpful.  The embrio had implanted very low in my uterus, almost on my cervix and the pregnancy probably would have been filled with complications from this.  A very high likelihood of a placental privia.  But as I am someone who believes in God, those statements are really hurtful.  Like God somehow doesn't love people who have a birth defect?  And if it wasn't meant to be, why allow it in the first place?  My roommate was the queen of such offhand and stabbing comments.  I know her intentions were there... but the thought wasn't.  She still holds a grudge on me for my move to Washington.  Like any of that was about her.  Like that didn't put a HUGE strain on my marriage?  Sometimes when I get hit with the emotion of it, I picture myself back in the northwest, on a ferry looking out and seeing the water and the trees.  It helps me to take a deep breath. If the baby I had miscarried had not miscarried, we would be looking forward to it's birth in this March.  As my birthday is also in March, I remember when we got the due date thinking "I hope I still get to celebrate my birthday and people don't make corny comments about the baby being my birthday present" 

I was so foolish to think that we would actually make it there.

The best thing anyone ever said me?  "I think God's sad too.  I don't think He desires things like this to happen.  But part of our fallen nature is sickness, disease, mortality.  I think God is crying too."  For me, that said my emotions were ok.  And it didn't try to place blame on anything.

Infertility is a strange thing.  Most of our lives, especially in this american culture, we are told that if you want something bad enough, and work hard enough, where there's a will there's a way.  But no amount of me wishing, or trying to force my body to do things by medication or the power of thought actually got me anywhere.  My ovaries, and uterus, are not a part of my body I can control as I would my hands or feet. I can't think "ok, ovary, drop that egg into the fallopian tube!"  ...well I could, but it wont accomplish anything like if I thought "hand, drop the clothes into the laundry machine" 

I have struggled my whole life with my weight.  I still vividly remember my mom telling me I was fat in 5th grade.  I look at childhood pictures and really, I don't think I was fat, but I wasn't slim.  I inherited my dad's side, the hefty Swedish side.  My whole life has been about trying to make my body do things it just wont do.  My whole life I have been in a body that didn't work.  Like somewhere deep inside is the real me, with my real body that does what I want it to do, that isn't overweight and if I could just find the zipper so I could get out of this charade of a body, then people would see me for who I really am. 

I know it is all too common for infertiles to feel defeated, at war with their body, betrayed by their body... for me infertility felt (and still does feel) like one more drop in the bucket of a crap body.  So maybe it is a good thing I wont be passing on my genetics.  I wont be passing on a part of my broken and rebellious body. 

I still don't know what "strong genes" means.


  1. I understand your concerns if his family is not supportive but if you are ready to be parents and want to show this you shouldn't fear their reaction or need their approval. Usually people are more angry when things are hidden from them. If you feel they were relieved, you guys need to address their concerns. Some may be legit and you'll be better parents for doing it. You can't just pick to tell the supportive people. Confronting peoples concerns is part of the process. I wish you luck and hope you step up and make the mature decision to be honest.

  2. Anon: I wrote a big long explanation of all the silly trivial requirements they believe in for people to be "parent material" but since I don't need your approval any more than I need theirs, I deleted it. Perhaps you need to "step it up" and be mature enough to leave snippy comments with your name attached to them.

  3. When Matt gets home, we are starting a 60-day paleo challenge. Want to join us?

  4. Sounds intense but awesome! I've been trying to ease back into Paleo, the hardest thing is how that changes what our grocery bills look like... But if we can stop eating out it should be totally do-able!