Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Tour-The Kid

I really enjoyed this book and the different tone it took from many of the other books on infertility that we are presented with, namely that it was mostly humorous and told from the perspective of a gay male couple. The author says in the chapter "Grieving Our Infertility" (page 25 in my book, but not sure if we all have the same printing) that "Heterosexual identity is all wrapped up in the ability of heterosexuals to make babies....Infertility did more than shatter their expectations; it undermined their sexual identities." If you're part of a heterosexual couple and in fertility treatment, did you feel the same way? Did you feel that you had lost your sexual identity once you started treatment, or had somehow "failed" as a partner in terms of what is expected of you as a woman?
I think that Dan Savage got right to the heart of the matter with that statement. However independent or liberated you may think you are, finding out that baby making isn't easy for you is something that goes right to the core of who you are. As a woman, I felt that I could earn an education, a good salary and a successful career. Having a child, though, that is something that is given to me and is mine. Finding out that isn't the case changes the way you think about everything - sex, your identity as a female, and your sexuality. Even now, as I make tentative steps into the realm of pregnancy, I feel that my view of myself as a mother is changed because of my experience.


Dan and Terry face opposition as a gay couple trying to adopt and are able to overcome that stigma with the help of an open-minded birth mother. In some international adoptions, their chances of adopting would have been slim to none due to their sexual orientation. How do you feel about the "rules" some countries have for parents looking to adopt from their country (Examples: sexual orientation, weight, age, mental health, marital status, or income)?
In the movie "parenthood" Keanu Reaves has a line that goes something like, "They make you take a test to get a driver's license, but any asshole can be a parent." Obviously this statement doesn't take into account IF, but I think you get my point. People who are able to have their own children have them, regardless of weight, income or mental status. I have to admit that after teaching in the inner city for 5 years and seeing some truly horrible examples of child abuse, I sometimes thought that maybe a parenting test would not be such a bad thing. (True or False A child is not an ashtray.) I can understand why a country or agency may want to screen perspective parents for things such as mental health issues, but I have never thought that a person's sexual orientation or income level should exclude them from being a parent. From a teacher's perspective, since I am not yet a parent, what kids need is love and security.


What would you have done if given only a few hours to decide whether or not to take someone like Melissa into your life in such a permanent way? Would you have avoided the situation altogether at the expense of becoming a parent or growing your family?
I don't think I would have avoided it, but it would make me pause. It's not only taking someone as a permanent part of your family, but her circumstances made the situation even more unique. In the end, I would like to think that I would say yes. There is no guarantee that any child will be perfect, whether you give birth or adopt, but it is all an amazing journey.

8 comments:

Inconceivable said...

holy cow this book sounds amazing - i know I.m alil late but i may run out and get it.

Ellen K. said...

Good points.

"Having a child, though, that is something that is given to me and is mine" -- so true. No wonder we so often feel that something has been taken from us with infertility.

Diana said...

I do wish there were some sort of test and I welcome the homestudy etc that will be involved with adoption. I only wish there were more rules for people who have the gift of making a baby whenever they want.

Lori said...

"There is no guarantee that any child will be perfect, whether you give birth or adopt, but it is all an amazing journey."

Amen. And "perfect" is in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks for a thoughtful review.

Stacie said...

After teaching in an inner city and seeing horrific parenting, I am wondering how YOU kept from being overwhelmed with bitterness. I know that I would have been. I would have felt "THESE crapola idiots managed to have kids and I, I who have love and stability to offer, can't do it."

Of course, I haven't read your whole blog so maybe that HAS been an issue for you.

I enjoyed your book review and hope that your current pregnany goes smoothly.

The Town Criers said...

Aaah, as a fellow teacher, I'm with you--the kids needs love and stability and security. Great review.

Josh said...

I asked the question about having to make the snap decision about Melissa, and I guess more of what I was getting at was not the potential physical condition of the child (which Dan points at could be perfectly fine until they fall off the swing set) -- but more committing to have Melissa as a permanent part of their parenting experience. I mean, anticipating teenage rebellion, how do you convince your kid it is not a good idea to go hopping boxcars and spare changing in order to share a space bag, when their bio-mom did exactly that. Which is not to say that I haven't done stupid things that I would be less than thrilled if my kid decided to take up -- but those were MY mistakes and in some way I feel like I have some legitimacy in arguing against them. When it comes to being a Gutter Punk I'd be entirely without street cred and I'd want the bio-mom (or bio-dad) not to send a mixed message. And I know, I know, kids get influenced by all kinds of people once they get older and you have no control over that either -- but the trump card you have over all those other people is that you are the parent. And while the bio-mom isn't the parent, she's still the bio-mom which is a much more potential powerful position than the groovy English teacher or the stoner gurus who tell you to stop using deodorant.

Deb said...

well thought out reponses.
Thanks for sharing.