I just came across this article about the first successful pregnancy from a womb transplant and a little part of me wished that was an option for me. At the very least I wish this had been happening 10 years ago. Mainly I thought how awesome this is for all of the other women out there who like me, can not conceive and give birth to their own children.
My husband and I are very blessed with an amazing little boy whom we adopted. We are beyond fortunate that the opportunity to adopt our son was quite literally dropped in our lap, and we were able to bring him home and start our family six weeks later. Adoption can be an emotional, stressful, and heartbreaking path to parenthood. It’s not always as easy as people believe, and I think my family is more of an exception to the rule.
This brings me to why I felt the need to write this post. In the article mention is made of the critics of a womb transplant. The article sites the “playing god” and ” you can always adopt” reasonings that critics spew at women dealing with infertility. To the first argument against fertility options I say this, anytime a woman gets pregnant and brings forth life from her womb it’s technically “playing god”. Hell for that matter anytime a person takes an aspirin, or creates a work of art, or invents a new technology to better civilization, you are “playing god”. If you want to take the very narrow minded path that the act of creating falls in to the realm of “god”, than humanity should have died out a long time ago naked and in a cave.
But the second argument is the one that really makes my ovaries scream. When I realized that I could not get pregnant, even with IVF, I knew adoption was a choice I would make. I wanted to be a mother. IVF is extremely expensive and for me, I wanted to use those finances towards adoption because I couldn’t keep going through IVF cycles and be disappointed over and over. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it emotionally. And I knew the chances of it working for me were extremely slim. My husband supported me in that decision, he would have been willing to try a couple of more times. Even now, 7 years later, when I think about that phone call telling me I wasn’t pregnant, it brings up a sadness in me that nothing will ever erase.
For me, pregnancy and motherhood are two very different things. I wouldn’t change anything in my life that led me to Buzzsaw, even the infertility. If infertility is what I had to deal with in order to be Buzzsaw’s mom then so be it. He is MY son and I am HIS mommy. Whether or not I can be become pregnant has nothing to do with this relationship. Even if some miracle were to happen at this stage in my life and I were to find myself “knocked up”, it would not change my feelings. I am a mom.
But I will never know what it’s like to be pregnant. I will never experience the changes in my body that pregnancy brings; I will never have the opportunity to post “baby bump” pictures to Facebook, or be able to piss people off by breast feeding in public. The one thing that my body was biologically designed to do will never happen for me. On a very deep level in my pysche, I will always feel broken. These are not thoughts and feelings that I deal with day-to-day, but they are there. I have found my own way to carry them. When friends become pregnant and share their experiences is when I feel a little sadness that I keep to myself. Because I am joyful for them and enjoy seeing their little ones going through all of the milestones, but there is always a little hurt buried where no one else can see.
For a person to sluff off infertility as something to be shaken off shows just how little compassion and empathy they really have inside them. Would you tell a blind person “at least you can still hear”, or would you tell a paraplegic “at least you can use a wheel chair”? No? Then why in the name of any God you choose would you tell a woman “you can always adopt” when you hear they are infertile? Why not tell all woman, regardless of their fertility, that they should adopt rather than bare their own children? Until all of the children in the world who are in need of adoption are adopted why not ban pregnancy all together? That’s reasonable and compassionate and fair to all of us infertile women, right?
Because it’s fucking ridiculous that’s why. Just as ridiculous as telling a woman she is wrong for wanting to be able to conceive her own children. Although not quite as hurtful. Every woman deals with infertility differently. The emotions and choices and decisions are unique to each woman and her circumstances. Each one of us carries that information with us in the best way we can, and it affects us in our own unique ways. Two years ago the husband and I were taking Buzzsaw to the zoo. Our GPS got us going in a way we hadn’t gone on our previous trips. We were at a stop light and I realized the buildings and intersections looked strangely familiar; that’s when I realized that the last time I had been on that road, at that intersection and looking at those buildings, was when I was making almost daily trips to the fertility clinic. It hit me hard for a few moments because here I was with my son, going to the zoo, and taking the path I took when I found out I might not never be a mom. It was a weird mixture of feelings. It’s hard to process being happy as a mom and simultaneously feeling grief about not being able to be pregnant.
I have a good friend who lost part of a leg in an accident a few years ago; he has a prosthetic limb now and can do many things that he did prior to his accident. But it’s not the same, I know. That’s what infertility is for me. Yes, I am a mother and I have a beautiful, silly, amazing son now, and I would not trade him or my path to him for anything in the world. But there will always be a void for me when it comes to actual pregnancy.
Adoption is NOT a consolation prize and it shouldn’t be spoken of as such. Please remember that next time you hear of or meet a woman dealing with infertility.