In researching for tomorrow’s post, I asked some friends to share their thoughts on the nature of womanhood, motherhood, and birth. The answers were so interesting, I thought I would share them with you
Here are the responses, offered in random order, anonymously, and without comment…
Q: What are the benefits and hardships of your ability or lack of ability to carry a baby?
A: I feel blessed to have carried both my daughters. My two experiences were very different, and special in their own way. There is a “hardship” in a sense of needing to be responsible with my ability to conceive. A responsibility I did not shoulder well in my teens and twenties.
A: I suppose the easiest answer is that there is an expectation that I should. I want to have a child, if I choose to, on my own time and in my own way. There is an expectation that since I’m a woman, and in a long-term relationship, I should bear a child. I’m not completely sure that that will be the direction my life will take.
A: I thought, with PCOS, the hurdle was getting pregnant. I wish I had been more aware and prepared for the complications that occurred (pre-eclampsia, IUGR, low milk supply).
A: I didn’t have any trouble once I managed to get pregnant, so I can’t speak to how it feels to deal with infertility, but I have some friends who did. It seems to me that being pregnant provides a mother with an instant connection to the baby. It’s harder to connect from the outside. I also think that having failed pregnancies makes it harder to enjoy being pregnant, at least at first, because of the fear of losing the baby again.
A: Having gone through a period of time where I thought children were not going to be possible, I can relate to the lack of ability. The hardship is just the sense of loss of something I thought I was going to be able to do. I had already experienced a betrayal by my body because of cancer and now no children. I guess I handled it though the same way I handled cancer….you just deal with what life gives you and make the most of it. BUT, since a miracle occurred and I was able to have children eventually, I can say the benefit is obvious…the love and satisfaction from having two great kids. There have been serious health, financial, and emotional crises to bear though. Most notably being pregnant and having children has been hard on my physical health.
A: It’s nice that I have the ability (therefore option) of carrying a baby myself, especially in terms of practical considerations like financial cost. Paying for other methods must be terribly expensive. I however fear pregnancy, and the disadvantage of being able to carry is everyone’s expectation that I will. Do I really have a choice? It wouldn’t feel weird to me for another woman to carry my egg fertilized by the father’s sperm, but likely he and our families would not be okay with it.
A: I had a VERY difficult pregnancy with my daughter, after having a miscarriage. My body is very different from having had kids. But the changes are not really problematic.
A: When I didn’t believe we could conceive, at first I assumed we would adopt, and that would continue that path to Motherhood. As I grew older/more mature, I decided it was ok for me not to have a child. I was working with about 15 children with disabilities each day, and that was plenty. I believe a benefit of my ability to (finally) carry a baby to term was developing a responsibility and bond to the life I had inside me. Being an egocentric person, I needed that time to grow as a person.
A: So far I have been pregnant 4 times, and miscarried 4 times – all around the 12 week mark. This was from 2007-2010. I have been too scared to try again, I don’t know if I could go through that heartbreak one more time. I’m still in a kind of limbo I guess, not sure if I will ever try again or not.. (I’m 32, I need to decide before too long!) So, the hardships for me are the extreme emotional toll, the stress it has put on my marriage, and on how I feel about myself as a woman. The benefits, I suppose, are that I don’t have to have that responsibility in my life.. something I was never completely sure I even wanted in the first place.
A: It was a hardship to not be able to have a child – and I felt a lot of guilt about being the reason we couldn’t. It was a horrible time – and I blamed myself for the losses — more than I should have. Are there benefits? Only that I don’t share a child with a man that I don’t love — no irritating conversations with the ex.