If you think I'm talking about the book, I promise, I'm not. I haven't even read it yet, though I did read an article recently saying that it has caused a baby boom of sorts, wink wink, for February 2013 babies. Oy. Not my (fingers crossed) February 2013 babies. Their very scientific and mechanical conception couldn't be farther away from steamy sex after reading a hot novel.
We have entered the second trimester! And Gabby found a heartbeat on the doppler yesterday (she stopped looking after finding only one and I'm fine with that now) so I am comfortably sure that we have made it to 14 weeks. I'm still so nervous for a missed miscarriage, but I'm so excited to be where we are. I'm still amazed we have made it so far.
On Thursday night, after the ultrasound, we also had our bi-weekly (every two weeks, not twice a week) session with our "infertility" counselor. She's not really an infertility counselor, just a regular family counselor, which sucks sometimes because she says things you really shouldn't say to an infertile, but she is also really nice and sometimes can say really good things.
We spoke a lot about grief and loss while being "pregnant." About my embarrassment about being a "fraud," about what it means. About not having anything to show for things yet (i.e. a baby bump). After all of it, I take these things from her:
I see a world too much in black and white and not enough shades of gray. I've actually heard my parents tell me this for years now, well before infertility ever entered my life. I don't know why I am that way; maybe it makes things easier for me. It definitely helps me be more decisive, most of the time. It also makes things harder sometimes when they don't need to be. I am super hard on myself.
On top of that conversation with my neighbor last week, I had gotten an email from Gabby that afternoon. She told me that after the ultrasound she ran to a neighborhood consignment store to look for maternity clothes, and while there, the clerk asked if this was her first baby. She took the moment to tell her, not at all, that she was a gestational carrier with three kids of her own, and she educated the clerk. She was so excited to tell me how she has no compunction about telling this to strangers, that she feels like a babysitter or a dear aunt. These aren't her kids at all, she's just the kind Mary Poppins taking care of them for 9 months, and then they'll go home with Mom and Dad.
Well, isn't that sweet. No, it really is. I felt terrible, because in my one moment to do some education last week, I hid. I didn't take the opportunity to educate at all. I ran away from it.
And I explored that with my counselor this week. And she helped me see things in more gray, to think more kindly of myself and not think what a schmuck I am for not running with it and teaching a near total stranger (even though she is my neighbor) .
There was no true lie involved. I didn't say I was pregnant. I didn't tell her the absolute truth either, but it really wasn't the time or place. Neighbor woman didn't really want or need the whole story, and it was my story to tell when I want to - if I want to.
I told the counselor how bad I felt that Gabby educates but I do not. And talking about it, I've realized...it's much easier for her. First off, she has something to show for it, a baby bump, which makes a discussion much easier to start. Mine is less tangible, a talking point. Who likes talking points that are forced? Politics suck. Second of all, she is in a similar position to where adoptive moms are a lot of time. Adoptive moms, please correct me if I'm wrong, but during our homestudy process and classes, we were told a lot that the public looks more upon adoption as a noble "thing." Almost like "saving the babies" when we know that is not it at all, and our baby/ies saved us just as much. But that's not what the public sees or thinks. Likewise, the public doesn't look at birthmoms and think what a great, unselfish thing they have done when they decided to place their baby for adoption. They are not heralded for doing so.
Obviously, surrogacy is not at all the same thing, but there are similar veins. Instead there's a lot of feeling out there about "lazy rich women who pay others to have their babies for them." A gestational carrier is the noble one in this case, giving the gift of themselves in order to make a family. And they deserve all the credit (as do adoptive moms, in case you didn't get that from my previous paragraph), but the intended mother is not thought of in as good a light. Look at all the people who accuse celebrities of using a surrogacy to keep their bodies in pristine shape. (Luckily, no one who knows me would ever accuse me of that after seeing my body :)
Obviously, birthmoms don't usually go around telling people they've placed their baby for adoption or when they are pregnant and waiting to, even though it may be the most unselfish thing in the world to do. Why not? They could educate the world as well. And I know a few may, but not that many. It's usually online, and not in public at the local Target.
So why do I hate myself for not being forthright with the world as well?
For birthmoms, there are so many complicated issues - it's not a simple matter of saying, "I decided to place my baby." There is a history and reasons, and the grief is there for many of them. Likewise it is for me. There is so much more behind becoming an intended mother than any stranger would ever know or care to hear, and I could never convey it to them even if I wanted them to know. It's not as simple as, "One day I woke up and decided to have a baby via a gestational carrier." But most people who haven't traveled this path or watched mine don't know or get that.
Sure, I could be a better educator. I could be better at a lot of things (exercise for one). I should work on it, but I should also cut myself some slack.
For now, at least I realize what is holding me back, even if it doesn't make me completely comfortable with it. While I feel it would be great to be open like Giuliana and Bill Rancic, they also have a much bigger platform on which to speak. I have a 3 minute conversation with a stranger I'll likely never see again. And because they (G&B) are in the 5th season of their reality show, the strangers who watch them saw their journey - their miscarriage, their shots, their crying. The strangers I talk to have no idea of my journey: my many miscarriages, my open heart surgeries, my shots, my crying, my devastation - and there's just not enough time to tell them about it. Nor do they necessarily care (unlike viewers who specifically tune in to watch G&B).
It's all so very complicated. But that's ok. Here's a little bit of gray that I'm ok with. There are no wrong answers here.