donor egg, donor egg twins, epigentics, genes, Infertility, sisters, twins
I rarely think about the boys being the result of gamete donation. I mean, it’s always in the back of my mind, kind of like the never-ending piles of laundry are always on my mind, but not in any real way. And I’ve even started talking with people outside of my immediate friend group about their unique conception history. Progress! After all, they say when you can tell your story without tears you have healed.
And then out of left field – BAM!!!
My sister is pregnant again, naturally and unexpected. I’m thrilled for her, in the way you can only be thrilled for your sister. And I am unbelievably jealous of her, in the way you can only be jealous of your sister. She has the same diagnosis as me and she’s the same age I was when I started infertility treatments. And she’s pregnant. AGAIN.
I would never wish what I went through on anyone, especially my baby sister. But COME ON LIFE! Really? *sigh*
And then, she randomly sends me a picture of her at 16 months next to a picture of her 16 month old (naturally conceived) bio baby so that I can compare how much they look alike. I burst in to tears right there waiting for the bus at the park and ride. Couldn’t even try to hide it. Just sudden, huge, overwhelming sobs. (And I couldn’t go hide in my car and take a later bus. I had to stand there, sobbing, waiting for the last bus of the morning. I’m sure everyone at the bus stop thinks I’m completely nuts). Because I can’t do that. I can’t compare myself with my boys. There’s no point.
It’s such a natural human instinct to look for ourselves in our children. To search for the continuity of our genes through time. Maybe it’s hubris or vanity. But to me, the one who can’t ever see myself reflected in my child’s eyes, it seems like looking for yourself in the face of god. To see yourself in this tiny perfect being – to be privy to the melding of you and your mate – it seems like a miracle. And it’s those little things that are hard.
The big things are easy. I love my little guys. All day long, every day, strong and true. Unconditionally. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I am proud of my boys and happy and grateful to be their mama. But every time a stranger in the grocery store says “Oh how sweet, this one looks just like you! And this one must look like his daddy”, I think, “The joke’s on you lady! He doesn’t actually look like me at all” and then I have to smile and walk away quickly before the sense of loss brings tears to my eyes.
I think these feelings will start to fade too, eventually. And maybe one day that spot in my heart won’t be so sore. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some things can only be carried, but as my strength grows the burden feels less heavy. And in the meantime I will bask in the miracles that are my children, and thank the powers that be that I was strong enough and brave enough to do what was needed to bring them into this world.
Steph Mignon said:
Tears. This post really touched my heart! And reminded me to always be careful with comments like that…
The comments are always made with good intentions and are taken as such. It’s just one of those things. I hope you’re doing well! Nice to hear from you!
Thank you so much for your candour. I can relate to this so much but wouldn’t have found – cannot yet myself find – the words. You’re right, I don’t think the sense of loss ever disappears but our strength to carry it (perhaps with more grace in time?) grows. It is a challenge I find not to feel apologetic for grieving this loss as though it reflects poorly on my deep love for the baby in whose face I can’t see myself. But they’re not related. Those separate worlds can – and do – coexist. Love our boys. Grieve the loss. There’s no dichotomy. Our hearts are big enough to hold all those feelings. Hugs to you. Watching your sister go through this pregnancy will be hard I am sure, notwithstanding the joys.
You’re exactly right. It does feel like we should be apologetic – but it’s possible to be both sorrowful and joyful at the same time. We are big enough and complex enough to be many contrdictory things at once. Hugs and love to you, my friend.
My SIL did the same thing to me–a side by side with her and her daughter and it just hit me so hard. And I felt doubly bad because her baby girl was born at 25w4d (currently 31w5d), so she has a whole separate type of pain than I did. But it does make me feel so bad that I don’t have anything similar. Like you, I love A more than anything and I wouldn’t trade him for any bio baby, but sometimes I am so sad that he and I (nor do he and his father) have this. Lately I’ve been feeling…jealous maybe, or maybe more wistful…that *we* didn’t create this wonderful, miraculous, perfect baby.
Exactly. Wistful is the perfect word. They are so amazing and so wonderful – it’s so hard to know that (despite all we did to create them) we don’t share that primal genetic bond.