Oprah has several women on her show today who are in their 30s. One woman, who is 31, has no children, but has the house and car that is supposed to be full of them. After years of trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant, she and her husband are now doing IVF treatments. She got pregnant one time, but there was no heartbeat at the 11 week ultrasound. She told Oprah she feels like a failure, because as a woman, she is supposed to be able to bear children.
I realize that I am in no position to judge or pretend like I understand what she is going through. Obviously, sitting here at 38 weeks pregnant, I’ve been very lucky and very blessed that I’ve had it this easy. But even before I was pregnant, and I knew I wanted children, the thought of not being able to bear my “own” babies never worried me. I knew that at some point in my life, by some method or another, I would be a mother one day. And I never believed that I had to get pregnant and carry this life in me for that to happen.
There are other ways to become a mother – adoption and surrogacy come to mind. I would love to be a foster parent, or to adopt even, but to adopt from the state we live in, at least one partner has to be infertile. I think I’ve posted about that before. I know many people have this mindset that any child not conceived by the couple and carried and birthed by the woman is not “their” child. But I’d like you to find one adoptive parent who would agree with that.
I don’t know if my view on this is skewed because I can bear children, or if I’d still feel the same way if I couldn’t have children. But I feel like the most important part of being a mother is what you do after you’ve got the baby…how you love them, care for them, provide for them, protect them. That has to happen no matter how they came to be yours.
A couple of days ago, twin 18-month olds were found dead, in their home. Its believed they starved to death and had been dead for 9 or 10 days before they were discovered by their 11 year old sibling. This couple, in their late 20s, had 6 children, and have been charged with murder. THAT is what being a failure is…not the inability to bear children.