When it comes to bringing a child into your life, there are two basic options. Give birth to one. Or adopt one. (Technically there’s also fostering, but I think of that as a step toward adoption.) In general, I lean toward adoption— but now and then I get seduced by the notion of pregnancy. Growing a baby is a pretty cool thing. And as someone who’s had cramps for over twenty years (I’m talking curled in a ball on the floor, puking kinda cramps), it would be nice to use my uterus for something good.
Also—and it’s going to be hard to not break Rule 2 here— I’m thirty-seven and single. There are a lot of things I’d love to have in my life that I don’t have. Can’t list them without sobbing, so I’ll leave it at that. The upshot is that it doesn’t seem fair, on top of everything else, to miss out on having a baby.
So whenever I’m feeling the pull of pregnancy—which is more often now that all of my friends are doing it—I consider in vitro. For me, it has nothing to do with wanting a biological connection to a child. That’s just not important to me— maybe because my parents divorced when I was five. Both re-married quickly, and my step-mom has been my step-mom for more than thirty years. She didn’t give birth to me, but she’s one of my parents, just like my dad and mom. That has nothing to do with DNA.
The pull is partly physical— the proverbial ticking clock. And partly it’s a desire to have those watershed experiences, like looking at your baby’s sonogram for the first time, or hearing your baby’s heart beat. And then I think… do I really want to do that alone? Are those experiences special in and of themselves, or are they special because they’re (usually) shared with someone you (hopefully) love? A lot of things are fun or big or meaningful with someone else that just don’t have the same pop when it’s just you.
On a purely practical level, the thought of being pregnant alone is kinda sucky. I’m lucky in that I could pay for help if I needed it, but that’s just not the same as having someone who’s as invested in the pregnancy as you are to share it all with—and to do things like run errands or do laundry. Or put a crib together. As a non-pregnant person, I’d have no problem whipping a crib into shape— but as someone with a beach ball belly… I just don’t see it happening.
The upshot: no matter how you slice it, there’s no easy way to start a family alone. (If there were, I wouldn’t be so envious of those damned starfish.) And as I get closer to deciding to pursue adoption, I also find myself mourning the loss of some very fundamental dreams. I wish I could say it wasn’t painful. Is there an epidural for that?