Friday, January 29, 2010

What We Have Here

I tend to get myself into trouble a lot with my blog posts, not for my rambling run-on sentences and self-important prose, but for the many ways I like to comment on my current status as it relates to other people. People who may have offended me or upset me or angered me, or made me go to the grocery store 10 seconds before their wedding to get them all new flowers to make them a bouquet. People who, uh, read my blog. That's one of the biggest problems with blogging; you have this great venue for venting all your hurt and frustrations, or for celebrating all your achievements, but those same people you want to celebrate with can also be the ones who cause you pain sometimes. You want to write openly and honestly (because hello, what's the point if you can't), but you don't want to unintentionally hurt someone's feelings or scandalize them or spill secrets (soooo hard not to blog a few weeks ago that I was going to Atlanta for a surprise party, just in case!).

That being said...

(now that everyone is like, 'Oh, shit, what the hell is she getting ready to spill? Is it about ME?!' No, don't worry, not this one. This one is about The Donor. Who may or may not read my blog. But most likely doesn't any more, so I spent all that intro time explaining that I simply had to talk about this or freak out, and it doesn't really make any difference.)

Quiet is being quiet. Like, as in, total radio silence. I left him a voicemail before the holidays and another shortly thereafter, and sent him an email last week that came right out and asked, 'Look, dude, am I being ignored?'. The definite lack of response to any of my communication attempts was a pretty clear answer.
Now, as many of you know, the relationship with Quiet has been politely strained for some time. Pretty much since I got pregnant with his magic Jelly-making jelly and he went totally insane and changed his mind about everything. But for Jellybean's sake I continued to try to reach out to him, maintain something of an acquaintanceship. There is going to come a time when she has questions that only he can answer for her, and I really, REALLY want that to be an option for her. I guess I should go ahead and start using past-tense here.
I really wanted her to be able to find comfort and closure speaking to her biological father.

I know it's not going to happen tomorrow, but I'm really starting to freak out a little about screwing her up over the whole thing. I don't want her to feel unloved and abandoned by someone who honestly never wanted to have her in the first place, and only did it as a favor to a friend. Yes, let's tell a five- or six-year old THAT. What's the story now? If we really and truly are cut out of his life forever, tell me how I can answer the question, 'Why can't I talk to my daddy?'. Part 1 of the answer is still, 'Because he's not a daddy; just like some other kids, you don't have one of those, you have a biological father'. But whereas Part 2 use to be, 'You can call him right now if you want', now it's going to have to be 'He doesn't want to be part of our lives'? Am I going to be the bad guy to her, standing between her and her imaginary awesome Dad? Will she see me as denying her that, or lying to her, or hurting her, even if I am doing none of those things? Will it affect her relationships with men, and will she always feel incomplete or, worse yet, like she did something wrong and was unworthy of his love or attention?

This is where it might have been slightly easier to use an unknown donor, because then I could truthfully and honestly answer that I didn't know who it was and that would be the end of it. Simple. Clean. What if she's older, like 15, and asks for his full name and last known whereabouts? What if she finds him, and calls him, and he refuses to speak to her? Is that better, or worse than me not giving her the info at all? What if he does speak to her, but only once, and will not see her or talk to her again? Better, or worse? It's like an eye exam, only much more damaging and without my hotty optometrist in the room to console you and hand you tissues.

As a mother you never want to see your child unhappy. You always want to do everything within your power to make things easier. It's part of the reason my generation got into so much trouble with this whole Helicopter Parenting thing. I guess I have extra-special guilt because I chose to have Jellybean without a partner, so whether or not it makes sense I feel like I failed her in some way from the get-go. I try to do whatever I can, whenever I can, to keep that feeling at bay. I just don't know what to do to make this better.

Somebody, please tell me how to make this better.


Meg said...

None of those things will be happening tomorrow so you can relax a bit :)

Quiet needing space and ignoring you now might not be the way that it always will be. My situation is a little different because I used an anonymous donor so there won't be any information until my son is 18. My thoughts have been that the information I do have belongs to the child and is ultimately up to them to use or not use. We can only love them, tell them the truth about who they are and where they came from and to try to set reasonable expectations about their 'imaginary awesome fathers'.

You'll do fine helping Jelly navigate through the daddy questions!

Shannon said...

That Meg is one smart cookie, oh yes she is.

I think these are questions that only you and Jelly can answer for yourselves, so what I am about to say is assvice that only applies to me.

I agree with Meg. If I were to have the full name, age, last known whereabouts, etc about my child's biological father (a donor, a vial, a man in a can, in my case), I would consider that information to belong to my child. And I agree that he may just need space now. In fact, that could actually be a good thing - he may just be processing, which means that he does care on some level.

Regardless, though, I trust that you will work with Jelly to have peace with her origins. She certainly is the recipient of a great amount of love and understanding!

Barb said...

So many wise responses already. I say give the guy time and space and tell Jelly Bean she's doesn't have "a daddy." She has a father, the very special man who helped make her out of love. And then always make it a positive thing. Quiet will probably come around, but it sounds to me like you will navigate the minefield of questions and do what is best for your daughter. As long as you assure her that she is very loved and was always wanted, she will be okay.

Of course, what the hell do I know?! I used an anonymous donor and I have my own set of issues. :)

Jessica said...

I lurk here - found your wonderful blog from - but I had to leave you a comment. Sorry it is so long...

Here's how I reconcile the panic attacks I sometimes have about "what if not having a daddy screws my kid up" (and that's what it sounds like you are having) in my own head when I go for IUIs: life doesn't come with guarantees even for kids born into two parent families. I watch my friends divorce, remarry, and have blended families and it has real fallout for their children. A significant number of fathers walk out after building relationships with kids and that is when children feel real abandonment. Choice moms worry about abandonment but it seems to me that children with two parents who lose one are affected much more significantly than those who have always had one parent.

Even if donor cuts all communication, Jelly will have you and a circle of other people who love her. You will be able to tell her, when she can understand, how you decided to use a known donor so that you can tell her about his personality, his quirks, his history. If you think she is ready, you can tell her you hoped she would be able to meet or talk to him but that he isn't able to do that right now. And, although I know it is safer not to count on it, it seems at least possible to me that at some point before she becomes an adult donor will reach out to you to see how she is. If he does, good.

If not, you are a wonderful mother with a great little girl and any kid would be lucky to have someone who loves them like you do Jelly. I choose to believe that loving a child and raising them mindfully and with attention will provide enough for the child. I understand (as much as someone without a child can) wanting to give a child everything but I think sometimes we have to tell ourselves that a lot has to be enough for us and our children.

I hope you feel better about this soon. Like everyone else has said, you will manage this as you have everything else and all will be well.

Jo said...

Wise ladies!

I am just about to embark in this (34 weeks with a known donor) and yea, he's already pulled away big-time. I keep saying to myself that I can write the story for my little one, and that I can make that a really, really positive story. I worry a lot about a feeling of abandonment more than anything, which is why I think it's good to know NOW whether or not he'll be around. Then plan accordingly. Much worse would be having him around and then, at 5 years old, him deciding he's not interested anymore.

Valerie said...

We have a known donor. It's just not always that simple, is it? There was alot of personal history between he and I before I got pregnant. He did it as a "favor" - only that wasn't made clear to me until the relationship dissolved once I was pregnant. He still texts me, and I still answer, to keep that line of communication open. But he never asks about her, only about me. I asked him for medical information and he lied to me about it. My sweet pea isn't quite a year yet, but I've got the speech practiced about "everyone's family is different, we have one mommy, but other families have two mommies or a mommy and a daddy or two daddies, or grandma and grandpa, every family is different."

I struggle with where to go after that. Do I tell her about the personal stuff - that we had a relationship, or do I stick with 'mommy's friend did her a favor and gave her a baby' which doesn't feel like the "truth" to me - but I dont want to involve her in my personal pain.

I've decided to just take it one question at a time, as she gets older, and try to keep it "age appropriate". I think me getting angry at her when she wiggles during diaper changes has the chance to damage her more than anything, so I just focus on my relationship with her, and our life, and I hope to GOD I can figure out the rest when it comes.

You are an intelligent, conscious mother. I've been a lurker since I found out I was pregnant, and have enjoyed your insights and watching your Bean grow. You will figure it out, in a way that works for the two of you. And I hope you post about it so I can know the "answer" !!!

marit said...

I don't have any suggestions better than any of these ladies (and so glad they're around to offer you excellent and very relevant advice!) but I can second that Jenny is loved and I know she will always know it.
Whether she hears it from her grandparents, aunts or uncle, the Ta, me or, as she will daily, from you, Jenny will never have doubt that there are people around to care for her. Sure she will suffer periods of concern, confusion or stress, but we all have moments like that. For some of us it's because dad isn't there and sometimes it's because he is there but he's a tough bastard (I know you can identify). I do think it's better that Quiet isn't there now but may be later. Think of how devastating it was for Quiet to abandon you-- at least Jenny won't have that (at least not in her formative years).

Hugs and kisses to you both.

Rector Funhouse said...

I can't get past the flowers comment. Dude! It was my wedding. And you were my maid of honour. Should I have asked someone else?

p.s. All the comments are right. Jenny doesn't have a "daddy" and you can't turn Quiet into one in anyway but she has an awesome family which is a lot more than some.

chris said...

What all of them said .. exactly!