Living Columns & Blogs

Making a family

As a little girl who growing up in the 70’s, like many others out there, I was told I could do anything. Be anything in the entire world I wanted.

It was what all our moms wanted for us and pushed so hard to get. Our futures were wide open, and the world was our oyster. (As someone who isn’t a huge oyster fan, this phrase never made sense to me.) And we took them at our word and went out and became doctors, scientists, lawyers, moms, construction workers, welders and truck drivers.

What our moms failed to mention — by no fault of their own — their lives were quite different, was the balancing act this would require.

For many of us, the path to success required putting a family on the back burner. Some of us (me included) met our significant other early on and then spent our twenties traveling, figuring out what we wanted out of life and enjoying life as DINKS. I took a few years off out of college and then went to graduate school (another 5 1/2 years) and then settled in as a post-doc in a place (here) I hoped would offer stability so that we could have a family. For many others who followed a similar path, they faced post-docs (often more than one) in academia where they were forced to relocate and work hours not conducive to becoming moms.

By the time “we” (the collective we) settled down and were ready for families, the children didn’t always arrive like “we” envisioned. As I have moved into my mid (OK, upper-mid) thirties, I have met countless women who have struggled with fertility problems, miscarriages and years of hoping for a baby.

We were lucky. We only tried for a year before finally becoming pregnant with my son. So many other women (and men) I know have never found that success they expected to come easily in creating a biological child.

I don’t mean to sound as though I am blaming our mothers for our difficulties in achieving motherhood. They had no idea what our futures held, and truly we are lucky to have had them give us a world of options.

One of my friends in the Tri-Cities recently posted pictures of her brand new baby — born just weeks ago after she and her husband traveled to go pick him up. (Can I just say I love Facebook - being able to see her hold him the same day she met him was fabulous.) I look at her holding him in these pictures and what a natural she is!

Another set of friends adopted a year and a half ago, a nearly 4-year- old from India. I don’t remember them not having her. She fits with them and them with her.

I guess my point is that there are many ways to create a family. All of them special and wonderful.

To the women who realize they are not in a position to be a mother, who give their babies through adoption: you are amazing and give so much to a couple who desire children.

To the couples out there trying to bring a child into their lives: don’t give up hope and don’t hesitate to explore all the options out there.

Truly, you will not regret putting your heart and soul into this. The stereotypical “nuclear family” is not the only route.