Many of us are familiar with the all-encompassing urges that our hormones put us through during our reproductive years. That desire, that urgency to "have a baby". Come on, you know what I'm talking about. Grinning stupidly at any baby in your vicinity, glancing fondly at those big beautiful pregnant bellies that just seem to be everywhere during these hormonal times, feeling jealousy when friends or family announce new additions.
I've noticed though, that the urge to have a baby is not always connected to the desire to raise a child. Sometimes it's just our bodies wanting to do what they're built to do. Bring new blood to your family, continue the next generation, propagate mankind. Sometimes we desperately want to get pregnant/have a baby, but aren't really interested in raising any more kids. That's okay; it's completely normal.
Another observation I've made is that most of the time, parents who do want babies and who do want kids forget that children become adults. Not logically - logically we all understand that as our bodies and minds age, we become adults and we leave our families of origin and we create a family of our own. But emotionally, we think only of that baby growing in our womb, of what that newborn will look like, of what color his eyes will be, and maybe about what we'll do for her first birthday party. At the beginning of childbearing, most people rarely consider further than that, other than to occasionally fantasize about vacations or holidays. We don't think about what'll happen when our babies turn eighteen or twenty five or forty.
Our babies are real people. With real, separate, individual personalities. And if we are fortunate, we will get to raise them and watch them grow. But we have to realize that some of the choices we made for them when they were small are choices that they will have to live with. We make choices that affect the rest of their lives, and some choices follow them even past their own lifetimes - the choices we make about our conceptions and pregnancies and babies today can live on for generations and affect our children's children and their kids after that and after that. It's so important to educate ourselves, and to choose carefully.
Specifically, the biggest decision I feel we made for our E was regarding her biological father; her sperm donor. The color of his eyes or his hair don't matter to me in the long run - but his openness to a relationship with her meant everything. We knew from the very earliest stages of preparing for conception that we wanted a donor who was willing to be known to our children, no matter in what capacity. This was not a decision we took lightly; indeed, we feel like choosing such a donor was the best gift we could give to our daughter, since we couldn't give her both sides of her biology from the two of us.
We felt that this was the only possible decision to make for E. Yes, we created her life, and yes it was done in an atypical fashion, but it's her life. I wouldn't want to cut her off at the knees before she's even born - I want her to have every possible option when she's grown. If she is interested in knowing her donor, then I'll be at her side. If she doesn't feel the need to find him just yet, I will help her to truly understand what that choice will mean for her but ultimately, I respect whatever decision she makes.
I strive, as E's parent, to consider her as a separate entity from myself or T. Her feelings are her own, her opinions are her own. She is an individual and she deserves every ounce of consideration that I can muster. My biggest hope in this regard is that one day, she will see the lengths we've gone to in order to give her as many choices as we were able to.