When I posted a link on Facebook recently – http://www.resolvenewengland.org/2013/01/women-grief-and-the-donor-egg-decision/ about the importance of going through a grieving period before making the decision to go ahead with egg donation, one of my male FB friends who is a dad by sperm donation, came back with this response –
It’s not just with eggs. Men suffer this just as much, but society tells us we shouldn’t feel this or we should hide those feelings. The loss of a genetic child is real grief. It doesn’t detract from the love you have for any donor child or mean you love them less or wish they were different. It just means that you have to come to terms with what you’ve lost.
And he is so right. Men’s pain and their need to grieve for lost fertility and the ability to contribute to the making of their genetic child is often glossed over in the focus on treating the woman. Men’s need to grieve in whatever way feels right for them – and they often do it very differently to women – needs greater acknowledgment. They should also be included much more openly in the treatment process. The fertility issue may have originated with them but they are an infertile couple and deserve to be recognised and treated as such within the fertility clinic.
But if men are enabled and supported in going through a grieving process then their love for the children they are able to have can know no bounds. This moving poem was shown to me by Ethan, a dad to DI twins, when I interviewed him with his wife for one of DCN’s new booklets. Thank you so much for your permission to reproduce it here –
Between these Bonds
I am and always will be your Daddy;
It is a blessing and a privilege.
There are parts of my heart
That are for each of you only.
I love you both.
With a burning that means
I want nothing more
Than to protect you,
Make you feel safe
So that you can feel free to grow
And enjoy all that this life and this world
Has to offer.
And for you to become people of great integrity.
I couldn’t possibly want any of these things more for you,
I couldn’t feel more love for you both
Had there been blood between these bonds.
What we have is tied firm and endless;
We have bonds of love.