The Different Pathways to Motherhood
by Caitlin Smith, Academic Advisor
Mother’s Day brings up many different emotions for me because motherhood has meant many different things over the years. I’ve grown up with a fantastic mother, I myself am a fur mom, a mom who has lost a child, and a birth mom. The last two make my story interesting.
Years full of research, doctors’ visits, labs, and meetings with fertility specialists finally led to our son. A little known fact is that same-sex relationships still require the same labs and consultations by both parties when doing fertility treatments, just as heterosexual couples. The only difference is it just ends up that fertility treatments are the only option for those same sex couples, such as us, seeking to carry their own children. It’s a long process full of labs, shots, medication; and for the majority, it can take on average 6–12 months to conceive.
We got lucky though. Our first cycle took and the clinic’s voicemail stating that we were pregnant changed our lives forever. Labs followed and the numbers were going up, but not as much as they were hoping.
The joy we felt quickly disappeared when we showed up to our first ultrasound and all that showed was a black screen.
There I was on the exam table, cold, vulnerable, and wanting to hide from the world. Knowing that the pregnancy ended up not being viable was painfully present in my thoughts. I cried, my Wife staying strong for us in the moment while the clinic comforted us, embracing me with their light and love, telling us that it was going to be ok, that the average number of cycles to get to our child was more than one, but that this one try was a very good sign for us. We left the clinic. I felt hollow and questioned if I could handle any more disappointment.
We continued to try and finally got lucky again on our third cycle. The pregnancy chance percentages increased even more from our second try, I was a little excited, but I felt detached. It felt routine, clinical, and a little like there may not be an end to the cycles. We heard the heartbeat for the first time and EVERYTHING changed. We were ‘cautiously optimistic’. It was our graduation from the fertility clinic that had us jumping for joy. It didn’t hurt that our last appointment was the same one that we got to see our little rainbow dance on the ultrasound screen.
Liam will be two at the end of May and I can’t imagine our lives without him. He was worth all of the pain, heartache, and hair-pulling we end up doing on a weekly basis (terrible two’s have begun). My Wife and I would probably agree that we just want to do the world justice in raising him to be respectful, purposeful, and knowledgeable. Some people ask us how we will discuss our family dynamic and there’s one thing that has always resonated with me; families come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. They are not bound by blood alone. Family supports you for who you are, who you are becoming, and who you want to be.
That is the one thing that I want as my legacy in motherhood; celebrating, acknowledging, educating, and supporting our children (hopefully one day we will have more), to be good catalysts for change in our world.
The blog posts in Forward. Together. are intended to foster an inclusive community of empathy and curiosity at Doane University by providing a glimpse into various individual identities and worldviews. These are community members’ unique stories and should not be presumed to be the experience of all who share the same identity.