Friday, October 31, 2014

I want to be your mom

Months ago, Katie Couric apparently did a piece on donor egg (I did not see it and have not seen it). She had a couple on the show whose family was made complete by the use of donor eggs. She had the donor on to meet the family ... and (as I understand it), called the donor the "mom."

This raised quite a stink in the donor community. I had no idea about her show or the stink until I read a fellow bloggers post about it and then talked to her in real life about it (she is a friend of mine here). Turns out we were on totally opposite sides of it: she believes the donor is some sort of "mom" and I firmly believe the donor is just that, a donor. I find myself indebted to our donor, but no more than if she had given me a kidney do I feel like she is a part of my life or my family more than the cells that she gave so I could grow a couple of babies.

Without realizing it, I have been ruminating on this for a while. It has been turning over in the back of my mind. I haven't been able to rectify one issue (an issue that my bloggie friend brought up): if I am the mom because I grew the babies, then who is the mom in a surrogate situation? I have a friend who used two separate surrogates to bring her two sons home and there is no doubt in my mind that my FRIEND is the MOM and the surrogates were just vessels who helped her get her sons home (her sons are her DNA). But ... if I believe that I am my babies' mom because I grew them, then how too do I think my friend is their mom because they are her eggs grown in someone else (my situation exactly, kind of)???

Fast forward. A friend's husband was adopted and just found his birth mother in July of this year. She found him, actually, and they met this week. There was great joy in their household as he met his birthmother for the first time (he never actually met her at his birth because she didn't want to see or hold him so he was taken straight away). Some of us had questions about his relationship with his adoptive parents and whether the birthmother in the picture would change that at all. NO, was my friend's answer. Her husband's parents are his parents, and his birthmother appearing does not change that. He loves his parents and always will. He will never run away from them to connect with his birth family. But he is glad to know his genetics and to have a medical history.

Early early this morning as my brain was turning as it only can at 4:30 in the morning in the dark with the peaceful rain on the roof I made this decision: your mom is who WANTS to be your mom.

Being a mom is a title earned. It is a privilege. It is an honor. And it has to be something that one wants. This realization, this decision made things clear.

In my friend-who-used-surrogates situation: <SHE> is the mom because <SHE> wants to be the mom
In my situation: <I> am the mom because <I> want to be
In my friend-whose-husband-is-adopted situation: his mom is his mom and his birth mom might join and earn that role (and it sounds like she wants it and has always wanted it but for a very different situation back in the 70s) but that remains to be seen - but it is possible to have two moms!

It all made sense to me. It took away fears and concerns and doubt. All of which stem from that initial stupid conversation about whether I am or the donor is my babies' mom. Seems clear to me now that <I> am their mom, no questions asked.

The end.


  1. TRUE STORY!!! I loooooove this conclusion!

  2. First of all, congratulations on your heartbeat!

    Secondly, I'm a mom via adoption, so I've ruminated on the "who is the mom" question quite a lot over the last 14 years (my kids are now a tween and a teen). It's taken awhile, but now I can see that MY opinion on the answer to that question is secondary to what my KIDS will think about it. And they DO have their own opinions about it (which I couldn't have predicted back then).

    One thing I've realized in talking with adult adoptees -- people who have experienced a split between their biology and their biography -- is that it's so much easier on them when their parents can look at things from a Both/And perspective rather than an Either/Or perspective (either SHE's the mom or YOU are). After all, I've been told, we expect parents to love and connect with more than one child. It needn't be such a stretch to allow and encourage a child to love and connect with more than one set of parents. And it doesn't have to cost anyone anything, as you see with your friend's husband.

    Knowledge about one's genetic roots and connection to that line can be a fundamental need in some. After all, we have the popularity of Alex Haley's "Roots" and and "Who Do You Think You Are?" and donor sibling registries.

    You may be interested in some of the topics I'm covering currently about open adoption because some of the principles also apply to families built through donor gametes. You're so wise to explore these issues now.

    Wishing you well in the rest of your journey.

  3. I have to second what Lori has said. I really understand where you are coming from, especially after all you've been through. But at the end of the day, this issue will be about your daughters and how they feel.

    Leah at Single Infertile Female started quite a discussion about this topic as she is an egg donor who is now looking for the families she donated to. Her goal is not to become "mom," but to connect with these families so that she can know what happened. What sparked this was her own experience with adopting her daughter and having an open relationship with the birth mother. This post she wrote nicely explains where she and many egg donors are coming from.

    Wishing you all the best as you explore this topic