June 24, 2012


Shannon's post about Father's Day has been stuck in my mind.  Thinking about all of the possible (typically negative) outcomes that could come of my choice to be a SMC, and a double donor SMC to boot, my anxiety has been getting the better of me lately.

If, perchance, I fall into the statistical category where a BFP from my DE IVF turns into a real live baby, I worry about what my child will face in life.  Will s/he be hurt at school during some genealogical unit of study?  Will my child wonder why I am so much older than the other mothers?  Will my child become resentful that s/he cannot celebrate Father's Day?  These scenarios, plus about a billion more, rattle around in my brain constantly.

I attended a conference last week where a speaker gave a presentation about personal wellness.  His presentation was excellent in that it tied together many practical points on how to balance life at work and at home, as well as how to reframe how one thinks about life and what is important enough to worry about and what isn't.  I found the following quote to be very helpful to my current situation:

“For many this life is a vale of tears; for no one is it free of pain. But we are so designed that we can cope with it if we can live within some context of meaning. Given that powerful help, we can draw on the deep springs of the human spirit, to see our suffering in the framework of all human suffering, to accept the gifts of life with thanks and endure life’s indignities with dignity.”
Gardner JW:  Personal renewal.

I am looking to this quote to reframe the way in which I see my (potential) child's life.  The phrase "context of meaning" is making me look at the future in a different way.

It's up to me to build and support a context of meaning of life that is healthy, supportive and positive for my child.  Should I get to that point I feel that I can do that, especially with the support system I have built and continue to build.

On another note, thank you for the very helpful comments about my friend and how I am feeling about her pregnancy and our relationship.  I took the excellent advice and spoke to her about what I am going through.  She was very understanding.  We've made plans to renew our friendship with revised expectations.  Just knowing she "gets it", as much as a someone in her second pregnancy can, is enough for me.  I will try to be a bit more understanding of myself and my feelings as well.


  1. This is a beautiful post and a profound question, and it echoes with some of my personal beliefs as well.

    As we are all finding out, just our will to have a child is enough to accomplish nothing. Something beyond our control is pulling the strings. My mom is always talking about a universal/divine sanction needing to exist for any life to come into being.

    Coming back to your post, yes, nobody's life is free of issues, and my child would have to contend without a father, but his or her contemporaries will have other unique problems. If a child is born to us, its their fate to be cast in that scenario, in whatever life and home environment we start them off with.

    What they make of that life, with its collection of pluses and minuses, is mostly up to them. As the parent, we can only attempt to shield them from pain, but, if they come to us, then it was meant to be, in the unique way it happened, whether it is as a single mom, donor egg or donor sperm, or adoption- it is the path fate ironed out.

    Sorry if that sounds jumbled!

  2. I really like that quote, thank you for sharing it. Your conversation with your friends sounds like it went well. I'm glad she was understanding and hopefully you can still remain friends with the adjusted expectations. Sending good thoughts.

  3. "The context of meaning" - I love that. I've never thought about it that way before, but it is so very true. Our reactions to what life gives - what life has given us - truly are framed within our context of meaning. Which them means that as mothers, our job is to give our children such a strong and secure upbringing, that the context of meaning is that they're lucky that had moms who loved them so much (even before they were conceived) to go to great measures to have them.

    It reminds me of what I've heard many SMCs say when their children talk about "how Johnny has a dad, and I don't....but I have an Uncle Brian and Johnny doesn't!"

    Thank you for this post - it's really helped solidify my thoughts on how to best parent a donor conceived child.

  4. I like that phrase "context of meaning." We all have context to our lives. We can only hope that you are able to offer a strong enough and secure enough context that our children can understand how loved and wanted they are.