An Artificial Child
I’ve heard it a few times before. Varieties of the idea that assisted insemination is wrong. Like the first time someone said to me that maybe we just weren’t meant to have kids? Or, when I had a discussion with one of Neohippie’s followers on her profile, around whether or not you harm children by introducing them to life via a plastic bowl (when Celina herself had mentioned that she considered donating eggs). ‘You’ll give your child a harmful genesis far away from care and love.’ An impossible person to reach, to talk sense into. Or, just this past Thursday when a taxi driver taking me home from Herlev started talking about pregnancy and children – that’s the ice breaker in most of the conversations I have at the moment, when people spot my bump. He rambled on, naturally unaware of how I got pregnant. On the outside, I look like any woman who’s 35 weeks pregnant. Biologically, that’s also what I am on the inside. Totally normal. He says that he’s got three kids, and I reply that I want the same – or as many as life will give me. A bit of chat back and forth.
“… a lot of people are struggling to get pregnant,’ he says.
“Yes, it hasn’t been easy for us either; we needed a bit of help.’
I actually say that openly and honestly to most people, if I see it fit. It’s still an ‘important’ case to me – the more you’re open about it, the more it becomes normal.
“Oh, well… I think you ought to keep it at that one child. It’s not natural, you see?’
And there I’m stuck in his metal box somewhere south of Utterslev Mose with another at least fifteen minutes to go in his company. He continues down the same path. I try to wrap up the conversation because even though I’ve heard variations before, it makes me so sad. By no means do I consider the little life tossing around inside of me as artificial. Or wrong. He’s totally right. With fingers and toes and a beating little heart. He’s just as right as he’s supposed to be.
He continues yapping and has no sense of occasion whatsoever, the driver. I try to focus on the rain captured by the car window and try to hold on to my smile to avoid a conversation about why I suddenly went quiet. It doesn’t work.
‘You’re thinking – what are you thinking about?’
I was wondering what sort of story we’ll give our little boy to carry around. I’m a fan of saying things the way they are. When he starts asking how he was conceived, I think he should know that a doctor helped us capture his little heart. That there were doctors, nurses, friends and family who were cheering so very much for just exactly him to enter into this world.
But will he also encounter those people, this taxi driver? The type who’ll tell him that he isn’t a real child? A real human being? Will he have to defend how he was made, meet people who’ll think it shouldn’t have happened?
It hurt so badly thinking this, because it’s hard enough as an adult to listen to this, defend, shut it out. But such a small human being, who hasn’t had a choice when it comes to whether or not or how he was created… I do realise that you shouldn’t shield your kids from life. That they will meet morons. Those, who bully, break their hearts and overstep their boundaries. But I thought the idea was tough – that our, in some ways selfish, journey towards becoming parents, our choice, had to be something he may eventually have to struggle with. I’d never considered that.
We all give our children a story to carry around, and some may have a slightly more colourful one than others. The woman who chooses to have children on her own, rainbow families, the ones with fertility treatments, those who adopt. It’s not the norm, and it can obviously confuse those who think black and white and thereby miss the colours. And even if it has occupied my mind these past few days, I’ve actually also just felt a bit angry. How did that guy dare saying to my face that what I’m carrying, my gigantic belly, of which I am so proud, which carries a story of so many small emotional wounds – that it’s wrong? I have to put my foot down, and it will be my job to put my foot down on his behalf as well until his voice is sufficiently big.
That’s what being a parent is about.
And it’s so crazy to feel parenthood materialising in me these days. I’ve been hunting for a positive pregnancy test for so long without daring to think about what comes after. Now, however, I’m thinking so much about the little life that will emerge. The world that will meet him so soon, and the world he’ll be opening himself up to. Again, I’m filled with a sense of responsibility, a task in life, which may be my biggest; to fill a child with so much love, respect and insight. Into himself and others. Just like the way it burst out in me when I was contemplating the fact that I am expecting a boy.
We must fill him with goodness in order for him to feel just right no matter what anyone says. That will be our most important task going forward.
PS: perhaps we should stop calling it ‘artificial insemination’? How about assisted insemination? A helping fertility hand? I don’t have the exact term yet, but we can always use ‘fertility treatment’ and leave out the artificial part.