I took a day off work yesterday because Magpie's caregiver couldn't make it to our place in the snowstorm. So my busy busy busy girl and I spent the day playing and in the course of things had a playdate with a neighbor mom and her child who is about the same age as Magpie. Yay for in-building playdates on snow days!
Some of the mom-mom interactions during playtime brought up what is usually dormant for me now but used to be this huge barrier between me and "normal" people. By "normal" I mean, in the case of this mom - she is very nice, but (1) not infertile; (2) much younger than me (because she tried and succeeded to get pregnant and have a baby, not spending years and years in the process like us); (3) she has no loss history.
It's funny. Because for the most part, I think I've fully accepted our history and road to having Magpie. And hey, she's here, right? Which is what counts. So in that way, I wouldn't really change a thing. It might sound weird to say I'm "over it," and while that's an oversimplification, I don't dwell on our journey in any mournful kind of way. If anything, as many of you know because I've written about it repeatedly, I'm just still in this "pinch me, is she really here?" kind of place.
But then something happens. Some small interaction that would be nothing if not for our history.
Sometimes it's someone innocently asking if we're planning to have another child. Sometimes it's someone asking if Magpie is my only child. Or why we started our family so late. Sometimes it's someone complaining about the "annoyance" of being pregnant or trying to engage me in the discussion of "optimal" spacing between children. (Ha ha!)
Yesterday it was a benign comment: "Wow, Magpie doesn't really look like either one of you! Who does she look like?"
So we've actually been told by many others that Magpie is the spitting image of daddy (the majority), and by the minority that she looks like me (usually that she has my eyes). But why do people always have to comment on who she does or doesn't look like, anyway? No idea. But people are obsessed with this.
Because we came so so close to Magpie NOT being related to me genetically, because we were a hairsbreadth away from using an unrelated egg donor and would have done so if the donor hadn't turned up with a rare chromosomal abnormality (and been quite happy with that choice, I might add), I had a different reaction to this comment than I might have, without that context.
So my reaction was a little bit of indignation. What do you mean?! Um, Magpie looks like herself, you know?! And also just a noticing of my potential reaction - that if she had been an egg donor baby, this is the type of question that might have stung a bit, might have poked at that tender place of loss about the genetic relationship that I was unable to share with her.
So there I was, on our playdate, holding both realities. Knowing Magpie IS related to me, but is so very much herself. Knowing that she might not have been related to me genetically, which would have been wonderful too, but different.
And feeling that chasm reveal itself for a minute between me and the "normal" mom. The one without infertility, without a loss history, the one who's never had to consider the idea of having a baby who is not her genetic relation.
And that this is my new reality: to be the incredibly lucky person who got out the other side of a terrible situation and is left immensely grateful. To be the incredible lucky person who gets to parent, but is not quite normal.
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