I went to see a social worker today to discuss my feelings about using an anonymous sperm donor. This was required by the fertility center before they would “approve” me for insemination. I was kind of anxious prior to the appointment because I kept thinking what if she thinks I’m crazy; what if she thinks I’m not stable enough to go through this process… I felt like I was going to be judged.
After introducing herself, the first thing she said was: “Please, have a seat on the couch.” Why do all therapists have couches? It’s not like the couch makes you any less uncomfortable about being there, but I guess there’s some reason for it… We started out talking about my reasons for wanting to becoming a single parent by choice and how long I have contemplated it. She then asked me my thoughts about where all the men were and why did I think so many women today have trouble finding a man to have a traditional family with. This is when I had to fix my face (I am notoriously known for not being able to hide my emotions and you can tell exactly what I’m thinking by looking at my facial expressions). I really wanted to say how the hell am I supposed to know that and if I knew the answer I wouldn’t be sitting in front of you right now. But of course I couldn’t have her thinking I was crazy so I politely said I really don’t know and I was hoping you would tell me that (with a slight chuckle).
We then went on to talk about whether I had any support from family and friends, which I was happy to tell her that I have a network of people in my corner and without them I don’t think I could do this. The remainder of our meeting was spent discussing my anxiety and feelings about whether I was doing the right thing and how and when do I tell my child about how he or she was conceived.
While talking to her, she made me realize that most of my anxiety stems from the fantasies that I’ve created in my head. First, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had the fantasy of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet and living happily ever after. Even though I’ve come to terms with that not happening right now, it’s still giving me some anxiety (as is evident when I go to the sperm donor website and after about 5 minutes of looking at potential donors I then log on to a dating website with the hope of maybe this time Prince Charming will pop up on the screen). She told me that this was normal and until I actually choose a donor and start the insemination, I’ll probably still have some of this anxiety.
We then talked about a fantasy that I didn’t realize I had — and that’s the fantasy life I have for my child. I told her that I was afraid of my child feeling that he or she was lacking something, and feeling less than, because it didn’t have a father. Am I setting my child up for failure by deliberately bringing it into a single parent household? Would my child be mad at me for not giving it a father? She said these feelings come from me not knowing how it is to be raised in a single parent household. My parents have been married for over 40 years and have a great relationship. My dad has always been around and an active participant in my life. To this day I’m still a daddy’s girl. I have no idea what it’s like not to have a father in the house. And because of this, I’ve created this vision of what raising a child is “supposed” to look like — a “fantasy” of my child and his or her father having the same relationship that I have with my father (I feel sad that I am unable to provide that for him or her).
She told me that I have to get rid of that fantasy. I have to release it and actually mourn its loss in order to stop the tape of constantly questioning myself about whether I’m doing the “right” thing. She reminded me that there are plenty of people who have been raised without a father and they are doing just fine (and some who have been raised with both parents and would’ve probably been better off with just one). I don’t know how my child is going to feel because I have never lived it. And even if I did, everyone responds to situations differently, so no one knows how my child will feel. My responsibility is to make sure that I constantly tell my child how much he or she was wanted. Every child just wants to know that it is loved and wanted. And there is no question that I want this child with every fiber of my being.
So as I sit here on my own couch, writing this blog, I am slowly releasing my fantasy and feeling the sadness of letting it go. With every tear that I shed I am reminding myself to live in the present. There’s going to be an empty space where that fantasy used to live but that’s okay. I will now have more space to fill with love that I will give to my child.