When we couldn't conceive, our first instinct was to try treatments. It wasn't that adoption wasn't on our radar. We had even talked about adoption prior to ever trying to conceive. But when those first problems started cropping up, our choice was to sign over our bodies and hormone levels to the nearest fertility clinic rather than start the paperwork at one of the numerous adoption agencies. And if you asked me why, I don't really have a good answer.
Because I wanted to experience pregnancy?
Because I wanted control over pre-birth conditions?
Really, I'm not entirely sure why we pointed our feet so firmly in the direction of our clinic. It certainly wasn't something we truly discussed. It was just something that naturally happened.
In Embryo Culture, Beth Kohl asks an interesting question: "But what are the essential differences between us? Do people with a Welsh ancestry carry an adoption impulse, while Germans favour ART? Is a left-brained gal more likely than a right-brained one to seek out technological treatments? Beyond issues of affordability and access, how can some people resign themselves so easily to one option or the other?" (p. 64).
In other words, is it something preprogrammed within us that sets our limits or chooses our paths to parenthood? Are we predestined, when facing infertility to try one path first over another? To walk away from treatments altogether or stay for a ninth round of IVF?
I've said it before, but I've never been one who put much meaning behind first choices vs. best choices. The first thing we try is not necessarily the best fit nor does first mean "most desired." There were plenty of men who came before Josh--a veritable parade of losers and mismatches--men I tried out because they seemed like a good idea at the time. But ultimately, the man who is the most important, the one who became my husband and became the most desired and most loved--was not my first choice. Or even my tenth choice or thirtieth choice. He was the end of a long twisty road of choices that brought us together. And I look at my children--present and future--in the same way. The first things we tried weren't the best, but the actions that brought us together were the most desired.
But it's an interesting thought that the paths we choose are somehow part of who we are starting at birth--starting before fertility is even on the table or choices need to be made. Your thoughts? I guess it boils down to whether our impulses, our gut decisions, are more nature or more nurture (since few things in life tend to be one and not the other).
Don't think that the irony is lost on me that I'm writing this one day after writing about race and ethnicity. It's always interesting when lines in the book that you're reading crash into things happening in real life.