My wife and I were stuck in traffic the other day and thought it would be a good time for me to interview her on her experiences with our baby making adventure. Here is her perspective as a parent-to-be who is not genetically related to or carrying our baby.
What was it like for you when I started pushing my baby agenda shortly after we got married? What were some of your worries/concerns?
I wasn’t in that frame of mind yet. You were ready and I wasn’t. But, I wasn’t surprised. I knew it was gonna happen. I think my biggest hesitation was feeling uncertain about what kind of future we would have if we had a kid. I also worried about the financial side of things.
When did you truly start to get excited about having a baby? Was there something that prompted you to start feeling excited?
I feel like I got excited in stages. There was a stage where I started to get excited to talk about having a baby. Then, when we got our donor situation figured out and I felt confident about that, I got excited to start planning to get pregnant. And then when you got pregnant after 3 months of trying, I was excited that it worked. So it takes a while to sink in almost, and then the excitement follows. Now I’m really excited for the baby to arrive. Knowing the sex and talking about the name is helping me to get excited about baby’s arrival.
Did you ever question the idea that I would be the one to gestate the baby?
No. Not at all. I’ve never felt the even the slightest desire to be pregnant. The only question we ever had was whose eggs we used. But I don’t wanna pay for that shit 😉 Genetics aren’t that important to me.
If we had a do-over, and money was not an issue, would you like to get me pregnant in a different way?
If we were to have a do over, no, I wouldn’t want to do it differently. Even if we had money. This has been simple and it worked well. If we had a second, I’d like to do reciprocal IVF and use my egg.
What was it like for you choosing our donor – someone we are good friends with? Is there anything he said or did that made you feel more or less comfortable with the situation?
He definitely never said anything to make me feel UNcomfortabe, which was a fear, for sure. It helped to hear him talking about having his own kid and saying that biology felt so insignificant in his experience. They were talking about adopting for their second child, and they discussed his wife donating an egg to his brother, so we knew that he didn’t have any ideas around genetics making a family. That said, I still think about the fact that I have no genetic relation to our child. It is weird. We talk about eye colour with people and it comes up. It’s everywhere – it’s even in the hypnobirthing class, talking about genetic relation. I get caught in all these moments where, oh yeah, that comment about baby’s trait doesn’t apply to me. But it doesn’t really bother me – I just can’t avoid thinking about it.
Have you received any advice or words of wisdom from anyone else that made you feel good about being a non-biological parent?
No, no one has offered any specific advice. People really steer away from that subject. It’s like how people don’t bring up my mom because she died and they’re afraid it’s a taboo subject, but I would prefer to talk openly about it.
Did you or do you ever struggle to feel a connection to the baby?
Yeah, I think I still do, because i’m not carrying them and not genetically related. Yes I will be their parent and there is no doubt I will love them. But I don’t feel that crazy connection you hear about. But maybe that’s similar for some fathers. I go off to work and I don’t think about it all day. Whereas if you’re carrying, you think about it all day. I do feel like I think about it a lot in terms of planning to have the baby in my life.
I think once I start feeling it kick more, that is going to help. And just knowing the gender, that helps. I think my connection is going to change pretty rapidly now. Now that we have the name I find myself feeling more connected – it’s a little less abstract now.
What’s it like for you to have a pregnant wife? What are some of the stresses? What do you enjoy?
It’s really no different except for the lack of bed space I have. I’m losing territory on the bed. The Snoogle and the cats are encroaching. Other than that… You don’t ask for much, you dont complain much. I worry about you more, like if you’re out driving somewhere.
At first I was really stressed about the labour and birth. Since starting hypnobirthing classes, that’s almost gone. Now I feel much more comfortable that you and the baby will be safe.
Watching your belly grow is really fun.
I like getting your pillow fortress ready for you at night. Other than that, it’s been easy. No late night runs for cravings…
What language would you prefer people use to describe your role in our family and in our child’s life?
That’s difficult. I don’t have an answer for that yet. I identify more with “parent” than “mom” or “mother”. So I don’t know yet honestly.
What advice would you give someone about to take on the same role?
The most difficult part of the process is deciding the donor. Whether it’s known, unknown, related, etc. And I think the truth is, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. It’s just about coming into your own comfort with using a donor, getting used to the fact that it’s not you. And the other partner needs to understand that, and give the non gestational partner time to get on board and digest it. Its always good to remember that the environment you create for the kid is so much more important than the colour of their hair and their facial features. I have no doubt that our child will be a know it all just like me.
What advice would you give that person’s partner, the one who is about to gestate her biological offspring? How can she make the process easier on her partner, or how can she make her partner feel included in the process and connected to the baby?
Be respectful, let their partner take the time to get on board with the donor decision. It’s not just about picking who the donor is – it’s adjusting to using a donor instead of your own genes.