Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Second Tri and NY Times Article

First of all, I hate my job. There, I've said it. I don't really hate my job as much as I hate the politics and people issues I have to deal with on a daily basis. But that's ok. I'm dealing with it and when I get my happy pills on Friday, I'll be able to deal with it even better. And I'll be able to deal with it even more in 11 days when I am on vacation for the rest of the year. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened; it's just been one of those weeks.

Anyhoo...we are 14 weeks today. I think that technically we are in the second trimester now? I know some calculators put us in the second trimester last week, but I know that we are definitely there by 14 weeks. Yay! F texted me today and told me she was going to send me a picture of her belly tonight b/c it's starting to pooch out. I can't wait to see it! She also had a pregnancy dream and told me that we had a girl who looked just like me with red peach fuzz and that her pregnancy gender dreams are never wrong. We'll know in January! I'm still referring to it as "he" to give it a gender and I'm politically incorrect having grown up in a time when "he" was the default gender neutral pronoun.

My school semester is creeping to its end as well. I'm done with one class and 90% done with the other. Our final project is a group project, and I'm waiting for a group member to submit his stuff. Then I will format it and send it off. Happily, this will be done by Friday at the latest though I had hoped to be able to finish up everything last night or today. After that, I will officially have 75% of my grad program completed. Everyone keeps asking if I will finish next year, and I smile and say "maybe" since I plan to withdraw for a year after the spring 2009 semester (withdrawing for a year stops the clock; otherwise I would lose a semester and they want you to finish within 5 years).

And now to the NY Times Magazine article about surrogacy: Her Body, My Baby by Alex Kuczynski. Several of my fellow surrogacy bloggers have blogged (fabulously I might add) about last week's NY Times article on surrogacy (N, Tabi, Kymberli), and I would like to add my two cents as well. I didn't read the comments in response to the article because I knew they would infuriate me, and in some ways, the article was bad enough. I applaud Ms. Kuczynski for putting it all out there. Her honesty was great and provided a thorough view of surrogacy from the IPs' perspective that you don't often encounter such as the crushing cycling failures and worries about feeling like a mother and even some jealousy about not being the pregnant one. I appreciated that since I think that sometimes what you read are the extreme stories of the Intended Mother (IM) resenting and envying her surrogate to the detriment of the relationship or the IM and surrogate being best friends with absolutely, positively no bad feelings or doubt. So kudos to you for that, Ms. Kuczynski.

However, ultimately I don't think that Ms. Kuczynski did the surrogacy community any favors. Her tone and comments at times were elitist (though honest). I cringed when I read that one of her reasons for picking her surrogate was because her application was word processed instead of handwritten, indicating a modicum of education and computer literacy. Ugh! Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I like to think that she was trying to dispell the notion that only poor, uneducated women become surrogates, but she ended up providing support for those surrogacy critics who believe surrogacy exploits women. It also didn't help that she made surrogacy appear to be something only the extremely wealthy could afford by flaunting her family's income, again providing support for exploitation claims.

I do not mean to insinuate the surrogacy is not expensive because it is and unfortunately the cost prevents a lot of couples from being able to pursue it. Often what gets lost is WHY surrogacy is (usually) compensated: another woman and her entire family are disrupting their lives for you for pretty much an entire year. And pregnancy is a 24/7 state. It's very easy to read some of the compensation figures and gasp, thinking negative things about both parties involved. But when you shift your thinking and start to realize all that is involved, I'm amazed compensation figures aren't higher. That I wish surrogacy was free? That would be nice :-) But I also wish that I didn't have to pay thousands for an IVF cycle and medication. Or $1000 to have my cyst aspirated last summer. Or $2000 for a laparoscopy. It would also have been nice to be able to have sex and bam, positive HPT. But it is what it is.

I guess what I am trying to say is that all the surrogacy articles seem to be about rich IPs and/or less well-off surrogates. It would be great to have an article about the majority of IPs who have struggled and sacrificed and received help from family and held yard sales and bake sales and gotten second jobs to be able to attempt surrogacy, to be able to attempt to make their dream come true. These are the same people who would likely have to scrimp and save and sacrifice in order to come up with the costs for an adoption as well, yet that is somehow more acceptable. The IPs who wait years before being able to cycle because they have to save the money first. Are there rich IPs? Of course there are. But based on what I read, the majority of IPs are not. I hoped that the article's emphasis on the writer's feelings throughout the process would help the perception of surrogacy, but I have realized that is doubtful because as a surrogacy insider, I respond to her feelings but to the general public, that part of the journey is lost behind her elitist, nasty comments and the money issue.


JJ said...

Yay for the 2nd trimester! Im sure you are anxious to see her pooching out=)

Im so sorry about your job--just keep counting those days until vacation!

Duck said...

wow second tri already, this is great news!
Sorry about the job suckage.

N said...

Congratulations on the second tri! That's a huge milestone! At 14 weeks you are definitely there. :)

I agree it really bugs that these articles all make it sound like IPs are rich and surros are poor. But it wouldn't help to educate people on how we're broke because we already had to spend so much on IF treatments since they would just say we should have given that money to better causes or something (insert eye roll here). It's really hopeless to make people understand when they haven't been through it I guess. Like you, I wish the writer with a platform as big as the NYT would have been more representative of IPs in general.

Wewurtskihit said...

Hear Hear is all I say...i wonder if anyone will EVER write an article about going into depths for years to ahve a baby!!!!

I hear you also about the job. I feel the same way...Love the job but the politics are driving me nuts....maybe we work for the same company???!!!! LOL


JourneyofHope said...

Oh - doesn't it feel good to be past the first trimester?!?!? Very interesting about your GS's pregnancy dream. Are you going to joing team pink??? :O) When we didn't know what we were having, I didn't assign a gender - just called her baby. Sending you some pink baby dust lady - or would you prefer blue?!?!?!?!

Intending To Be Parents said...

Congratulations on entering the 2nd trimester!! I can't wait to find out if you're expecting pink or blue!!

sara said...

I'm so happy that you're in the second trimester! I'm sorry about your job - I hope things improve soon. So I thought you might find this interesting...I was at my OB's again yesterday and he said, "well hopefully you wouldn't have all these same problems again, but because your uterus would still be likely would. So have you ever considered using a surrogate?" Hmmm....

Samantha said...

Congrats on making it to the second trimester. In the end, perhaps one of the problems with surrogacy is that there are so few stories out there, so each woman writing one ends up having to be a big example. There's a lot of expectation on top of that. While I agree it's unfortunate that the article takes on an elitist tone, I also appreciated the author's honesty about making her decisions.