Things Fertility-Challenged Women Love To Hear, Part Two

“…Why are you trying so hard to bring another child into this world when you can just adopt a kid that really needs a good home?”

Whatever, even Brad and Angelina have bio-kids.

For our second installment in the series, nothing says insensitive quite like this conversation:

Insensitive Jerk: “Hey, so, what you’re trying to do…  Have a little genetic combo-pack of you and your husband?  That’s great and all, but don’t you think it’s kind of selfish?”

Infertile Mess: “What’s selfish about wanting a baby?  People have been reproducing since the beginning of time… It’s kind of what humans do.”

Insensitive Jerk: “Yeah, but don’t you think that if God wanted you to have a baby of your own, he would have made it easier for you?  I’m sure God didn’t intend for women to have to take medication to have babies.  Maybe you two should consider adoption.  There are a lot of kids that need homes out there, you know.”

Infertile Mess: “Yeah.  I guess...”

Insensitive Jerk:  *sporting a superior posture and self-righteous smirk*

Infertile Mess: “So, then why are you taking birth control?  Don’t you think that God has a better way to prevent pregnancy that doesn’t require you to take medication every day?  Oh wait!  He does!  It’s called “keep your knees together and don’t be a tramp!”

Insensitive Jerk:  *smug sneer wiped clean off judgy face*

Look, I get it.  There are lots of babies out there born into circumstances that are less than fortunate.  They need homes, we want a baby… match made in heaven, right?

*Sigh* If only it were that simple.  The cold truth is that adoption might not be for everyone.

First of all, there’s the cost.  Adoptions can be really pricey, and with most insurance companies refusing even to pay for birth control, let alone simple fertility treatments or adoption costs, budgeting for an adoption can be a monumental task.  Overseas adoptions can sometimes cost less in health care dollars, but the visas, plane tickets, lodging, and legal red tape will cost you an arm and a leg.  And probably another arm.  Then how’re you going to hold your baby?

Maybe it doesn’t have to be that hard, right?  Maybe you met a wayward teen through the local classifieds who wants to give you her baby.  Maybe all she wants in return is a photo and a phone call on her hamburger phone once in a while.  Maybe you’ve watched Juno too many times…

I could wrap my head around a lot of the aspects of adoption.  We could sacrifice enough to afford the cost; it would be worth that, most definitely.  We could rearrange our lives to include an older child, though it would be an adjustment period for all of us.  I’m sure we could somehow handle the million other trying issues involved in adoption with counseling and support from family and friends.  The one thing that terrifies me though, is the thought of not being able to properly bond with my child.  Would I be able to love an adopted child the same as a child I carried inside of me for nine months?

This is why I think these callous thoughts:  I am not what you would call… maternal.

Like, at all.

Don’t get me wrong–I like kids.  They’re funny.  And cute.  They’re also sticky all the time, snotty half the time, and impossible to take in public the rest of the time.  I want to be pregnant so that I can have all of those maternal feelings that are supposed to spring forth with the hormonal roller coaster ride upon which pregnancy apparently takes you.  That way, when my own screaming, sticky little snot-ball comes into this world, I will love it unconditionally, social inappropriateness and all.

I am banking on the hormones to bond me to my child.  I’m terrified that adoption wouldn’t give me that automatic-love that women seem to have for their bio-babies the very second they’re born.  The thought that I might not have that scares the hell outta me.

Back when the husband was still the fiancé and we were playing house, we decided to get a dog.  It was the first big thing we had ever done together, besides moving in and sharing some bills.  We looked online and in pet stores, and ultimately decided to adopt a puppy from a rescue group.  Remy was five months old when we brought him home, which is like adopting an eight-year-old boy.  With really bad manners.  And an attitude.  That chews things.

Now, I love that stupid mutt, but I think to myself on a regular basis that if we had acquired him when he was eight weeks old, that he wouldn’t have so many behavioral issues.  We are not expert dog trainers by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems like he learned some bad habits in “doggy foster care” that just have not gone away in three years… Even after intensive behavioral training.  And neutering.  I subconsciously blame the people who had Remy before for his attitude problems now.

What if the same thing happened with a child we adopt?  I know that comparing a child and a dog is ridiculous, but that is where my twisted mind goes…  Morbid questions abound.  Would I look right past the gift of having a child and see only the problems the child brings with them from their previous life?  Would I blame the child’s biological parents, or the foster system from which the child came?  Would these things get in the way of loving a child like they were my own?  How would we handle having a child of a different race if that were the situation?  Would love be automatic with an adopted baby?  Would it make me feel like a bad mother if I had to work at loving my child?

Thoughts like these make me think that maybe I’m just not cut out for adoption.  It’s scary.  Not so scary that I wouldn’t ever consider it, though.  I would contemplate the matter very seriously if there were no other options for the husband and I.  Yes, I would be terrified.  And broke.  But if I had to choose between not having a child and adopting a child, I would probably choose adoption over the third, unspoken option of becoming that sad couple who mostly stays isolated at home because all of their friends have kids and playdates and recitals to attend.

So, getting back to the main point–yes, it is hard for us to conceive on our own.  Yes, adoption is an alternative to that problem that would yield the same a similar result.  No, it is probably not the socially accepted response for me to feel that, for us, adoption is a consolation prize in the parenthood raffle.  And no, insensitive jerk, you should not make me feel like that teensy bit of maternal feeling I have inside that desires nothing more than a baby of my own is wrong for wanting it.

Just because getting pregnant is difficult for us, does not mean that we don’t have the right to try.  As hard as we want to.  With medical intervention, even.  I’m not ready to be the brave new face of new adoptive parents everywhere just yet, and we have every right to attempt to have a child of our own, no matter the degree of difficulty, before we consider other alternatives.

Like adoption.

Or becoming a codgery old recluse and his bitter, foul-mouthed cat-lady who will not give you back your frisbee if it lands in our yard.

So here it is:  until the very last doctor at the very last fertility clinic in the Midwest tells me that there’s no chance for the husband and I to conceive our own snotty little mess, we will keep trying for one of our own.  Adoption is very noble, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who have, and are, and plan to adopt.  And maybe throwing everything you have at a bio-baby is a little selfish, but where there’s God’s will, there’s a way for us to have a child.

Whether that child is short and near-sighted and biologically ours, or tall and graceful with no need for LASIK to find their way to the fridge… Whatever path is laid out before us is the one we will take.  And succeed.  And love.  And be thankful for every day.

Oh, so in closing, don’t say crap like “Why don’t you two just adopt?” to women who are having a hard time getting pregnant.

They might be on fertility drugs, and you might get slapped.





3 comments on “Things Fertility-Challenged Women Love To Hear, Part Two

  1. kboo
    March 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I don’t think that *not* wanting to adopt is selfish at all. I know that I am not being selfish, I’m thinking about my parents – how wonderful they are, how talented… and how their line may not continue unless I’m able to have a baby of my *own*. I have an older sister, but 98% chance she’s not going to have children. So it’s me or nothing…


  2. Ashley
    September 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    I was adopted (at birth), and my parents loved me unconditionally. I know that they did not love me any less or any differently than they would have if I was their natural child, and I was not always an easy child. I know that the bond between me and my mother is just as real and strong and the bond between me and my daughters, who are my natural children.
    My mother has always been open about how badly she wanted to have her own babies. I was especially aware of her disappointment and sadness during my own pregnancies. I understand how important it is to be pregnant and deliver a baby, and I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for my mother to give up that dream. For someone who wants a natural child and wants to experience pregnancy and childbirth, I cannot imagine what a lost is must be to let that go.
    In the end, though, you will love your child because she is your child, and it will not matter how she got there. You will look at her and see a person who came from you, even if she didn’t gestate in your body. I don’t think you should give up on conceiving until you are ready, but I know you should not fear that your adopted child will be less.


  3. Susan Gill (@islipped)
    April 23, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    We have two rescue dogs. I often think what it would be like to replace situations involving the dogs with toddlers or teenagers. It’s probably illegal to crate 10 year olds, right? At least kids (presumably) understand language, so they’ve got the leg up on my dogs.

    I always have thought that we’d adopt instead of trying IVF. I say this now, but verging into year 2 of TTC, I’m even more determined to get knocked up. Maybe if it still hasn’t happened when I hit 40, adoption will come into play.


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