The kindness of friends

Many people have given us their condolences over the last few days. Their thoughtfulness and sensitivity has meant the world to us, and we have really enjoyed seeing those people who came by to share a little joy.

However, somebody went many steps beyond that. A woman we have great respect for and really enjoy offered to be a surrogate. This opportunity has come up before, but never seemed like a true option for us. After much discussion, it remains an option for others but not the right one for us right now. Despite that, her generosity will never be forgotten.

People often ask us why we didn’t try more IVF, more in vitro, why we didn’t adopt eggs or an embryo, why we don’t use a surrogate. Every person we talk to about infertility has a solution that seems like the “easiest” option. That doesn’t exist. Every couple’s infertility leads to a different answer. For some, their choices are dictated by finances or job restrictions. For others, it’s by religious doctrine. For still others, it’s based on gut reaction and what feels right.

We have multiple options open to us, but right now adoption feels right. With two adopted kids, changing techniques will change dynamics. Some of you may not agree with that. That’s okay. It’s how we feel about our family. While we appreciate peoples’ honesty in talking about infertility and building a family, it’s sometimes hard to express why we choose one thing over another. There’s no judgment in our decisions. It really comes down to what feels right at the moment that we are making our decision.

To be honest, after experiencing so many miscarriages, the idea of carrying a child is beyond terrifying to me. I don’t know how I could be a good parent, a good employee, or a functional human being while living with the stress of whether or not that enormous disappointment would strike again.

Still, when this surrogacy offer was voiced we really thought about it. What would it be like to have control over when our next child was born, and who carried him or her? We almost said yes, but the knowledge of all 40 weeks of pregnancy might be just as devastating as the threat of miscarriage has been in the past.

Now many women would argue that all of us worry about miscarriage or medical complications. That’s true. For many people, surrogacy or dozens of rounds of IVF is the direction they would go. For Dave and I, those are simply not our first choice. Please don’t take that to mean that we haven’t researched our options, or were unaware of the pros and cons of one method over another. Dave mocks me for the amount of research I do! We choose what feels best and what feels right for our family now and in the future. That means we do not have biological versions of Dave running around, even though that’s more likely than biological versions of me. We decided jointly that having one biological parent in our relationship would be complicated for other children and for the non-biological parent, in addition to weirdness for the biological parent. Some people suspect I forced this on Dave. I mourned the loss of his biological children more than he did. That’s gone though. As I watch Remy become his father, I can’t imagine a boy being more like David than Remy wants to be. And Dave laughs at how much Tess copies me. For us, biology really isn’t everything. For others, it is.

This extensive diatribe on adoption issues is really just a reflection of our conversations this week. To the potential surrogate, we send you our love and gratitude. Your offer is so generous and kind; we will never forget it. We aren’t up for it today, but who knows if we will be in a year? Thank you for giving us that option, and for doing it in such a flexible and open manner. You have endeared yourself to us even more than you already had.

I leave you with one of my favorite adoption thoughts: do we really reflect back on our first 40 weeks of existence with that much frequency? Is my role as a mom really limited by that nine months away from my kids? I don’t know any different, but I doubt it.