Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Monday, December 22, 2014

#Microblog Mondays: Casual Genes


This weekend was my grandmother's Ohio funeral, where extended family and local friends all gathered to celebrate a life well lived and find comfort for our loss in sharing stories of an amazing woman. It is always hard to be reminded that we don't have kids, that I am the oldest grandchild and live in house with "just us two" (really four, because we have to count our cats) -- but that's just where we continue to be.

Friday night, over wine in the sitting room, there were many jokey stories told about how short the women in our family tend to be -- both when they first start out and then as they shrink, as older ladies tend to do. My mom said that it was interesting that I am the tallest in our family (at 5'6" I am two inches taller than even my stepfather), and then said, "Well, both my girls married very tall men," which then prompted a murmur of, "ah, tall genes!"

Except...

My sister has tall stepsons, but no plans to use those tall genes for any biological children. And we would love to use those tall genes, but with donor sperm we have SOMEONE ELSE'S tall genes, the DE 2PNs give us a shot at Bryce's tall genes but then we lose my shorter genes, and if we move forward with adoption we have no idea what kind of height will grace our child(ren).

"Fat lot of good that does both of us..." I said, completely unsnarkily, and there were nervous laughs for those that heard.

If we can talk about passing genes along so casually, then we should be able to talk about NOT passing those genes on equally as casually, no?


Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

17 comments:

  1. I so hate these conversations about family genes. They still can make me very, very sad, but I suspect that will continue to fade. That said, I have 2 adopted cousins and I said to one of them that she got the best of our family (the values, the ideals, the strength) but none of the crap (cancer, diabetes very apple shaped and a tendency for pudginess). It's a comforting thought that my kids will have the same (of course each set of genes comes with its own set of crap, but let's brush that aside for now :))

    I hope this weekend was one of celebration of your grandmother and healing with loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love that! I did think of the donor gametes that way... getting what we could give that was great and nurture-y, but missing out on all the stuff you wouldn't want to pass on. True, who knows what genes lurk? I cling to my nurture-over-nature beliefs when this happens. It wasn't hurtful or anything, but it's interesting that we can talk so openly about passing genes on and assume so much, but if you clarify it's somehow uncomfortable. I hope the sadness does continue to fade! We'll see how everything plays out.

      Delete
  2. As someone who teaches genetics, I could easily write a blog post about environmental influence on gene expression. I won't bore you with this, as that's not the point of your post. What is the point is the uncertainty of having a biological connection with your child. Of seeing a child that has your eyes, your husbands nose and height that reflects your's or your husband's side. And that is not a trivial loss.

    I'm sorry about the loss of your grandmother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cristy... I agree totally that it's not a trivial loss. We come to peace with our reality and after the loss feel the joy at the possibility of making family happen for us. Thank you for your condolences--my grandmother was an amazing woman!

      Delete
  3. I love this: "If we can talk about passing genes along so casually, then we should be able to talk about NOT passing those genes on equally as casually, no?" You're totally right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! So much seems to be too make others feel comfortable, butt so often no one is truly thinking about our feelings as they casually talk about reproducing genetics. Slowly I think things are getting better in this arena but then again maybe not.

      Delete
  4. My daughter is not biologically "ours" and I can't count the number of times gene talk has created awkward situations... Less so for me, but for others. I don't feel weird commenting on how my daughter has her birth mom's eyes, but this comment seems to not be socially appropriate? Am I just supposed to pretend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No! I think your comments are very appropriate, specifically for you and your daughter. Who cares if others can't cope with that!

      Delete
    2. "Am I just supposed to pretend?" Love that. I don't get why reality is not socially appropriate. Great point!

      Delete
    3. What I meant was "socially appropriate" as defined by others... agreed, not so concerned with the other people who are uncomfortable.

      Delete
  5. at christmas dinner our DE toddler was sooo annoyingly strongwilled she resembled my father. And I said so, only half joking....(not all my family knows)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard that children who aren't genetically related for whatever reason resemble family members, to an eerie extent! Interesting, isn't it?

      Delete
  6. I love this post, and your point! I've just written one too where, as a result of a family conversation, I felt it seemed okay to talk about being late breeders, but not okay to talk about not breeding at all. Of course, later there was the inevitable conversation about which child or grandchild looked like which parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle. Sigh. Though I wouldn't have been the only cousin unable to participate in that - my cousin has adopted a child of another race.

    I also love the idea of getting the best (values, etc) and not the crap, when genes aren't involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that outs strange that the only thing seemed acceptable often at family gatherings in general is pregnancy and stuff like that... why is it okay to tell a birth story or even a conception story (!) but not okay to point out that genes are not necessarily a part of your equation? And I have heard horrible comments about how easy life must be and how much money people must have who don't have children. So many assumptions made. We are pretty transparent, but it definitely makes people a bit uncomfortable.

      Delete
  7. I agree whole-heartedly with your last sentence.

    ReplyDelete