So, here I am, working my way toward becoming a single mother by choice – reading books and articles, taking advantage of a great local SMC chapter, haunting the online SMC Forum for insights and information, surfing cryobank donor lists. I’m dotting all the “i”s and crossing all the “t”s, taking pre-natal vitamins, trying to eat better and get more sleep. I’m making lists and generally trying to stay in control of everything I can.
And I’m laughing. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from my friends who are parents, my own parents and the kids in my family, it’s that being a good (and not insane) parent has a lot less to do with how in control you are and a lot more to do with how well you deal with all the things you can’t control. And, wow, is this process a test of those skills. I can control which donor I choose; but not his honesty in his profile, or diseases that haven’t manifested yet in his family (come on, his parents are barely older than I am!), or how he’ll feel in 18 years about being an “open” donor. I can’t control what the mix of genetics will be, or what that means for my child. But I can remember that my own mother often jokingly “apologizes” for the traits I’ve inherited, like “sorry you got the fussy-about-how-the-dishwasher-is-loaded gene” or “you come by that low-threshold-for-idiots thing honestly”. Even with two parents, or a known donor, you can’t control which things, good or bad, shine through.
I can do my best to not worry about all those things I can’t control. I can listen to music that centers me and makes me feel strong. I can seek out the people in my life who support and encourage me and avoid the ones who don’t. And on the days all that doesn’t work, I can have a glass of wine and try again tomorrow. I’m working on keeping my sense of humor; on embracing the crazy, wonderful absurdity of this journey; on not letting my usual mantra of “but what if….” get in the way of the joy. And I’m still laughing.