I had a meeting recently with a potential known donor (and good friend) and the director of the Assisted Insemination program at at the clinic that I used. The director led us through a discussion of our expectations and hopes. We talked a lot about our feelings and what we each wanted. And then, to my surprise, she told us to stop thinking about what we wanted right then. She strongly urged us to decide on some policies and procedures that we would use to handle unexpected situations, and to come up with a process to follow if either of our feelings changed after the child was born, or as the years passed. I think that she was really right. I was so busy thinking about what I wanted NOW, and how I imagined my life and child(ren) would turn out, that I’d forgotten that things always change and life is unpredictable.
It’s as if I went into the process with a picture in my head and was looking for the perfect donor (known or unknown) that would help me paint that exact picture. The director’s point was that the picture doesn’t always turn out as we might expect, and that my feelings about that picture might change over the years. My donor’s feelings might change, too. Did I trust him (and myself) enough to believe that we could weather the change with our friendship intact? She suggested that instead of planning for a static picture, maybe it would be better to plan for how to handle a moving one. She didn’t have specific answers but she suggested that we at least get those processes down in writing so that later (particularly if emotions were running high), we could remember how we agreed to handle the unexpected.
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