Community Part 2
While trying to conceive I have found a lot of support in the online community. While I have friends who tried to get pregnant many years ago and gave us some tips and friends trying to get pregnant now with different levels of medical intervention, I have found the forum set up by my sperm bank to be the biggest resource. Many folks on the forum are trying to conceive at home without a doctor like we are and when I ask a question I get a range of answers back quickly. I’ve seen some drama take place there but for the most part, it is a good online forum.
They forum has a board for folks trying to get pregnant, one for pregnant folks and those with newborns, and one focused on parenting. I’ve often wondered what use I would have in this board once we get pregnant. The people range from those with mainstream parenting styles to the extremely crunchy. While I think some of the folks on the parenting side I would really like I think others I wouldn’t care for. I assumed that I would use the forum less once I got pregnant but still look at it and see if there was anything interesting.
But this month things changed. For the past four cycles we have only picked donors who would want no communication with any child conceived with their sperm. This felt safe for us and we don’t want the donor in our or our child’s life so it makes sense. The more we talked about it, though, the more this didn’t feel like the right decision. We don’t want a donor with open communication because it feels safe FOR US. But the donor is not ours, it is our child’s. Picking a donor with open communication does not mean that they can contact you and does not mean that your child has to have any relationship with them. It simply means that when our child turns 18 they will have the option of contacting their donor. Maybe. Donors can change their mind on this so while a donor is open now they may not be down the road. There is no guarantee that the donor will respond if our child contacts him and no guarantee that the donor will still be open to communicating with our child but choosing an open donor is the only thing we can do to give our child a chance at that conversation if they want it. Will that possibly be a hurtful experience for us, especially Pot who does not have a biological connection to our child? – Yes, but I don’t think that hurt is going to undo that 18 years the came before it.
After making this decision the forum became a stranger place for me. Some users are open about what donor they are using and some are not. The folks who are using donors with open communication are often more open on the forum about what donor they picked. Many choose to have friendships with other folks who had children with the same donor. I know at least three women on the forum are currently pregnant with the donor we are using.
One of the reasons we have wanted to know very little about our donor is because our child will be our child. We don’t want to look at our child and see attributes that belong to this man we do not know. Neither of us thinks that biology plays the biggest role in who we are. Yes, we are both a lot like our parents but I don’t think the fact that my mom, sister, aunt, and I all consider trail mix to be only peanuts, m and m’s, and raisins to be a something that was biologically passed down. I don’t want to strongly believe that my child likes something because the donor likes something. I want my child to constantly surprise me with their interests and personality. Additionally, I do not want to birth a child, hold it in my arms, and try to pick our features that belong to a man I have never met and never will. I want to hold my child and look at Pot and have my mind at ease knowing our family ends there.
As these women on the forum prepare to birth children by this donor I wonder if I will leave this community behind. I am a pretty nosy person so I worry that I will look at these babies and examine their features and look for the commonalities that belong to this man. I worry that people will see a picture of my child and know who the donor is without me telling them. I worry people will assign our child as a member of their community without my permission. I worry that I will read a post in 6 years that talks about their children’s favorite books and see my child reflected in their posts. The switch to an open donor and the knowledge that these families exists is a jarring reminder that our child has this other part that is not ours but is theirs. While that is something I expect to be confronted with throughout their life I find myself trying to keep a protective eye on this family of mine that is not yet created. I want so badly to hold on our child as long as I can and know that they are nothing more than ours.