Your Feelings Are Normal
The science may have gotten more complicated, but basically humans are still hardwired to accept a more traditional way of being a family. In making this transition, acknowledge that it’s natural to have a whole range of feelings.
Grieve Your Link
Part of adjusting to this new way of being a family is to say goodbye to the idea of what you hoped your family would be. Spend quiet time with your feelings, and think of meaningful ways to honor and express them.
Talk To Your Spouse
Rather than imagining that your spouse can read your mind, share what is true for you. Start off by setting ground rules that there are no feelings or concerns that are off bounds, and that you will commit to mutually addressing all concerns.
Redefine Being a Parent
Be creative about ways to include both partners in every step of the pregnancy and birth process, regardless of the biological link. For example, after Louis’ wife Annie became pregnant using a sperm donor, they decided that every evening they would “talk to the baby,” while he lay his hands on his wife’s belly to feel her move.
After Caroline shared her feelings of being left out with her husband, he made sure that she was front and center each time their gestational carrier had a doctor’s visit or a sonogram.
And after the baby was born, Lily came to realize that biological or not, it is daily parenting that creates and strengthens the bond you have with your child.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Conceive Magazine.