Don’t tell me how to have a baby.
Pregnancy, I have come to realise it is not always, or often, coupled with simplicity.
When I had my son I was unmarried. Comments were made. Opinions were offered (some vehemently) that pregnancy should be symbiotic with a married man and woman. For a couple who go to church on Sundays and have a Volvo. I am surprised that this view of pregnancy hasn’t faded with the use of the gramophone or horse and cart.
My own current, second experience has been pervaded with medical intervention and support. At times I have been self-depreciative, felt guilty that the reality of this pregnancy has not somehow matched to the raw naturalness I considered that the process should be. That’s I am somehow failing. Creating life is no easy feat and not all of us stand barefoot in fields wearing flower crowns, gently cradling our baby bumps.
I have been sick, sad, overwhelmed, resentful, desperate, delighted, and so many other things during the last months.
Expectations need to change as this hazy visage of ‘normalcy’ may be part used to suggest that pregnancy through other means therefore is unnatural. Or inferior. You suggest to a beautiful, 7lbs new-born baby that may have somewhat more clinical origins that they are anything else but perfection.
The reproductive revolution.
Social norms are shifting; for example, the age of first time mothers is steadily increasing. One in Seven couples have fertility issues. Co-parents provide information for finding a sperm donor. The definition of ‘family’ is fluid and changing. Has changed. Should change. Do you need a specific relationship status to ‘qualify’ for the role or parent? Good parents come in all shapes and sizes. Single women and men, both heterosexual and homosexual couples are having children through IVF, surrogacy, sperm donation and adoption.
I have same sex couple friends who have children, and single parent friends who have children solo, through choice. I consider that them becoming parents, even though we took different routes, is exactly the same as myself becoming a parent. What’s that saying, it’s not about the journey but the destination? (Though that statement doesn’t really acknowledge the hard journeys some have to go through!) Let’s face it the path towards parenthood for most is arduous. These babies, although their backgrounds may not be deemed conventional, are longed for and precious.
Conception for many is an emotive topic, a process of pain, anxiety, of hope and determination. Are you any less pregnant if you were artificially inseminated? I think not. Your feet will swell and perfume make you nauseous just the same as anyone else.
Sperm donation debates.
There are many reasons people seek, and seek to be sperm or egg donors. Views seem to be polarised, stigma still rife. I canvassed the opinion of friends. Most were supportive, but not all.
One suggested offence at how sperm, like shoes, can be bought online at the click of a mouse. I suppose that can seem alarming. Yet, donor conception is regulated by legislation, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008). Monitored through medical screening.
It is also highly likely that the person choosing to have a child did not do so on a whim, but, devil’s advocate, what happens if they did? Cough, because no one ever had a one night stand baby. Some couples may have only been together a short time before falling pregnant, some may have been together 10 years. Are all traditional pregnancies planned? No.
Parenthood is about consideration, dedication, and love.
Parents that have been through IVF always describe it as hard. Daily injections, endless appointments, tears…conception is hard fought for. Most advise research prior. Preparation. If you are in a situation where you are thinking of using a sperm donor NHS offers tips of what you need to know.
Should people be condemned to childlessness when science may be able to help?
Outdated assumptions need to be questioned about family structure, conception, birth, and parenthood. What is wrong with a progressive view of pregnancy? Also, it is not the means of conception that is most important, but the quality of parenting and parent-child relationships.
What are your views on medically assisted pregnancy, have you had your children through ‘untraditional’ methods and is there any advice that you would share?
Note: Written in partnership with CoParents.