Will the real mother please stand up.

December 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm 13 comments

16 weeks 1 day

 I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes the mom.

 Is someone a mother simply because she has given the DNA or because she carried the child?

I’ve been thinking about this as a friend of mine has been having this struggle in her mind, her journey and I are similar (we both have endometriosis and have tried to have a family forever) and different (I’m working with a surrogate and she’s working with an egg donor).

I have read that some women who get pregnant with an egg donor consider the fact that they are carrying the child to mean that they are the mother, that they can influence the genetics. This rationalization obviously doesn’t work with surrogacy, as although I am not pregnant, I am most definitely the expectant mother of the twins.

 And really, what does make the mother? I don’t believe that it’s DNA (I really don’t – I am the biological parent, but, that does not make me “the mother”).

For me, it’s the intend behind it all, I’m the  expectant mother because I have hoped, dreamed, saved, cried, and did all kinds of crazy things to my body, so I can be the mother.

I’ve done the infertility equivalent of walking on fire to become a mother.

It’s this intend, this willingness to put my future children before any of my physical, emotional or financial needs, that’s what makes me a mother.

I’m an expectant mother, because I’ve worked my ass off to get here, and I think that’s the same for women working with egg donors, you’re the mother, because you love your child, because you want so desperately to be a mother and it has nothing to do with DNA.


Entry filed under: Second Trimester, Surrogacy. Tags: .

5.More.Sleeps. Christmas Meme…

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Karma  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I think it’s different for everyone – for some, it’s the moment of conception, for others it’s the moment the baby is born. For me, I didn’t feel like a “mother” until A had arrived, and I was knee deep in caring for her. It took me a while to embrace the label, to feel confident that yes, finally, I was a “mom.”

  • 2. g  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    In the age of modern technology the answer to the question is more complex than it used to be, and the legal system has yet to catch up in many places.

    I like your take on it.


  • 3. Sarah @ whentwobecomesthree  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I often pondered the meaning of mother when I was expecting too.

    Like Karma – I didn’t emotionally feel like a mother until I had my baby smack dab in front of me. To mother is to care, love, guide and protect. It goes a lot deeper then gestating and genes. It’s the everyday being there and to be the number one in your child’s eyes.

  • 4. My Reality  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I kind of see the whole situation a bit differently. But I view it as an adoptee. My mother didn’t carry me and isn’t genetically related to me. But she is still my mom.

    I don’t think biology defines a mother, nor does carrying a baby. I think it has to do with what happens when the baby is born – the mothering so to speak. That is what makes a mother. Some people give birth to their genetic children and are horrible mothers. And then you have people who come by their children in ways other than childbirth or genetics that are the best mothers in the world.

  • 5. JellyBelly  |  December 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    You are totally an expectant mom!!! And you will no doubt be your babies’ mom as well!

    So there.

  • 6. curiouslotus  |  December 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

    A mother to me is not the person who brought me into the world but the person who brought me up.

  • 7. Deb  |  December 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I have a totally different perspective as an adoptive parent. I have to say that I couldn’t possibly feel more like a mother, but I also can’t deny that my daughter also has another mother. I think it’s about love. Her first mom loved her because she wanted the best for her and knew she couldn’t be the day to day mother that she needed. Along with all you said, being a mother is about unconditional love.

    • 8. thecanadianduck  |  December 16, 2009 at 12:43 pm

      Deb – What a perfect way to describe adoption – love it.

  • 9. MEG.  |  December 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I love this post, and have often pondered the same question.

    You always hear both sides of it, in attempts to relieve the expectant mother’s fears. For donor egg, they say, “Oh, don’t worry. Just by carrying that child, you have SO much genetic influence over them.” And then for women using surrogates they say, “Oh, don’t worry. It’s all about the genes. The surrogate is just an incubator.”

    But I agree with all the other commenters. To be a mom is all about MOTHERING. It’s about raising the child in your family, showing them unconditional love, teaching them right from wrong, and being there for them during life’s ups and downs. And this is exactly what you’ll be doing with you twins.

    In other news, it’s almost time for the BIG ultrasound! So exciting! =D

  • 10. TABI  |  December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Intent, intent, intent! I went through the same pondering about definitions of “mother.” It really comes down to the intent to love and raise the child and that’s all that really ends up mattering. It’s society’s discomfort with alternative methods of reproduction that make the public doubt who the mother is. From someone who is using both GC and DE, who I am as a mother will be defined by a million more relevant things than what body parts were used.

  • 11. Allison  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! I’ve been lurking here on yours for a while, so I was excited to see you jump over to mine. Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment.

    This post really hits me, because of my health struggles I will not be able to safely carry a baby, so my husband and I have decided to pursue adoption in the New Year. Although we know this is definitely the right path for us, there are so many scary questions. I know that I will love my baby, but will others truly believe I am their mother? Not that it really matters, but when you’ve been through so much to get to your goals you question everything. But I do believe it’s Intent for sure.

    Thank you for your honesty in your writing, it’s helping more than you know.

  • 12. Amanda  |  December 19, 2009 at 2:36 am

    A ‘mother’ is a label. You are that label when you do those actions…In My Opinion.

    So if you act like a duck, quack like a duck, look like a duck, well you must be a duck.

    If you worry like a mother, care like a mother, love like a mother, well than your a mother.

    In simple terms of course.

    But it’s just a label. Not everyone who pops out babies deserve that label, and many who haven’t met their children till their 6 years old (adoption) become that label.

    For you, someone else is carrying your baby, but you are a mother NOW. You worry, care, love, plan, dream, prepare, ahem…a mother.

    Though I can see how it may not feel ‘real’ till those babes are in your arms…

  • 13. Jamie  |  December 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    You said it perfectly – it the the hopes, dreams, tears and explosive love that makes you a mother. Not DNA.


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