Now that I'm home its easy to remember that my association life is not the same as the one that I experienced out there in the Midwest. We are not a world of corporate sponsors and people throwing money at us (understatement). We are not about the hoopla. We are mission-based. What I do is real. I was right, that world isn't my world. It really isn't.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not dissing or getting all high and mighty. I'm just saying that at this point in my life, I was just not up for the shmoozing. Or maybe after 4 days I was just completely and totally over one particular person who had latched on to me early on in the conference and I just kept running into again and again and again. I made the mistake of talking him through a mini-crisis he was having on the first night (ailing family member, he as frustrated caregiver, feeling guilty about being frustrated, unfortunately, a common story in my profession and one I was able to speak to) and he decided we were soul mates. And from that point on it felt like I just couldn't shake him. Or his posse. Or all that came with it. So I found myself caught up in trying to avoid this guy as opposed to trying to lock into the sessions I needed to hear or the other contacts I felt I was supposed to be trying to make.
And, on top of that, as I've mentioned, I just didn't want to be there. Jumping straight into the grid after 3 glorious weeks out without time to process and savor and relish those moments was just too much.
But after a good night's sleep next to someone I love I understand that I have to be there. We must be there. Because we still want a child. And there is no way to do that without the assistance of several parties. All of which will cost a lot of money. So, if a baby is in the future, alas, our space on the grid is locked in. That is just how it has to be.
And as if that realization isn't hard enough, as if that leap isn't a massive mind fuck in the best of situations, along comes a nightmare scenario, one to confirm all of the whispering and doubts that play out in people's minds, or at least make surrogacy synonymous with sketch for a lot of people for a little while longer.
And here is where I borrow some words from Mel, because she nails it. Beyond the shock of a story as sucky as this one, beyond the anger and angst you feel on behalf of the people affected, at the heart of it all is this:
I am so fucking angry that I can’t build my family without assistance and because I need to depend on other people in order to form my family. And I am so fucking angry that the majority of people in this world don’t have to navigate the ethical concerns that come with assisted family building. They want a child, they have sex, and they raise said child. And I am so fucking angry that I have to depend on others.But that's the way it is. So you give yourself a moment to be angry and outraged and indignant and yes a little self-pitying. And then you wipe your tears and get back to your To Do list of all that needs to take place if you want to be a parent.
Let me tell you where we are with all of that.
I may have mentioned before that we have a family member that is a very willing gestational carrier (GC) for us. That in itself is wonderful, but the timing isn't. Its just not the right time right now. So, while this is our #1 best case scenario, it's not one that can play out for another year or so.
In the meantime, M and I decided to look into an agency to see if we could find a gestational carrier through this route. We found an agency that seemed trustworthy, had worked with our doctors and clinic before, and is more affordable than other places folks had recommended. After spending a full Saturday painstakingly filling out an Intended Parent (IP) questionnaire, we started to receive profiles of potential GCs. The first two were prefaced with an "I think you'll really like them!" by the head of the agency.
We looked at each of the documents and were overwhelmingly underwhelmed. To the point of tears. Responses to questions we had spent time agonizing over were replaced by excessive exclamation points and smiley faces and all caps. I LOVE babies!!!!! (squeeeeee)
Ok, the squee was mine, but at first glance M and I fell back down into our pit of despair.
One of my buddies is exasperated with me. She can't see why any of that matters if there is someone ready and healthy and willing to help us get the child we want. Yes, dude. For a fee. For a substantial fee. And sorry, if I'm paying that substantial fee, I feel I have more than a little skin in the game. I feel I have a right to be a little picky.
And I don't see this as a nine-month proposition. This is someone who will be connected to your life and the life of your child indefinitely. Whether there is constant communication or not. Whether there is a good relationship or not. This person would always be the person that birthed our baby. So I don't want my first impression of that person to be, "hmmm, meh. I guess she'll do." I want it to be, "wow! I cannot wait to meet this person. I hope she likes me too."
I'm wondering if we need to re-evaluate our expectations. And here is where I would LOVE any of you who have already been through this to tell me to a.) stick to my guns or b.) get my head out of my ass.
And while I'm soliciting reader feedback, what do you think about this:
We are thinking about sending out a mass email to friends and family giving them an update on our situation and asking them if anyone knows anyone that would be interested in being a gestational carrier for us. The email would make it clear that there is no need for a response to this - just throwing it out there before we continue down the road with an agency, because obviously, we would so much rather build our family around people that we know and love.
How would you feel if you got an email like that? Is it too much? Pushy? Presumptuous? Would you think we were desperate and out of our minds? M.'s preferred method is a FB status update asking if anyone wants to be our baby mama. I think that's a bit much. But maybe it isn't?
BTW, for those waiting for Australia highlights and photos, swear to goddess its on a To Do list. Need to dig myself out of emails and phone messages and all that first. Short answer: It was incredible. You should go.