Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brutal honesty, and the great genetic crapshoot

The other night I woke up at about 4 am with just a tremendous amount of anxiety.  Of the OMG, What have we done variety.

This time it was about the donor.  Did I choose wisely?  Should I have waited to find a Jewish donor? What if I bear a child who is so clearly not of my blood line?  What if I give birth to a baby that just looked like they dropped from the sky?

Then I had to breathe.  And then I was ok.  Sure, finding a Jewish donor would have been awesome, but would also have added months - and probably another $10K -  to this process.  I turned 43 this year.  I just didn't have it in me to wait.

I reminded myself that my donor was lovely, and thoughtful, and artistic.  Just like my one living Niblit, who thoughtful, lovely and artistic, AND who is heading towards being a 6 foot tall amazon blonde. 

And then I worried about my generally awesome, but some what old-fashioned parents.  Would they treat this child differently because they wouldn't be able to see themselves?  Would it even matter?  My mom often calls Niblet and Viking "frick and frack" because she is just so clearly OF him. Some of her facial expressions are uncannily HIM.  On the other hand, the Nibble is such a mini-me in her words, the cadence of her speech, her love of arts, how she moves.  Is all this nature or nurture?  How much of this hinges on genetics?  Will I ever truly know?

I know not just in my brain, but deep in my heart that so much of what has made the Nibble an astounding kid is our love for her, and the way we have raised her.  The way we talk with her, the ideas we expose her to. 

The Viking and I often note to each other that Niblet is exactly why we want to do this again.  We could never replicate her.  But we do honestly feel like whatever little person we would be lucky enough to raise would have all of the potential to thrive with us as parents. Simply put, we enjoy it.

But I will be honest.  At 4 am I made a wish:  I hoped this baby I am gestating (yes, I am acknowledging it and the potential for it to love) comes out looking like the Viking. Just like the Nibble did.  The donor and I have similar eyes and we're both brunette, but she's hardly my twin.  What your baby looks like is truly a genetic crap shoot.  It's a little exciting.  But I am pretty sure that for many donor egg mothers, it's also a little terrifying.

A second baby is the same for any expectant mother.  Different, with the potential to be a completely unique fully-formed human.  For me, a little bit of the familiar might come as something as a relief.


  1. My RE told me something I think was really wise: I'm going to pass it to you: "People put the egg on a pedestal." He went on, I am paraphrasing and building upon: Yes: the egg supplies one half of the genetic material but more and more people are realizing that the epigenetics make a HUGE difference. That it is you gestating this baby and not me or any other woman in this world- to include the donor- will make the baby who he or she grows up to be. Your love and care, your rules and discipline, what you expose (and don't expose) him or her to will make this child yours.

  2. Yes, nurture is just as important as nature. Your baby will know & feel the unconditional love you will provide throughout their life. Wishing you all the best!

  3. Thank you both for the perspective. I do take huge comfort in the role of epigentics. And in the role I currently play as a mother every single day of my daughter's life. I think these anxieties will continue to spring up from time to time... but this experience is proof that you truly don't know what little personality you're going to get until you are lucky enough to meet them.