Over the weekend, the "TODAY Moms" page on Facebook started a discussion based on this article about Giuliana Rancic's comments regarding placing marriage first and children second. I thought it was an interesting question, so I began following it closely. It wasn't long before someone made a comment related to the fact that Giuliana did not carry her child:
i love my husband, who is NOT my kids father. I will always love him, but my kids will always be my first and foremost. I think the situations can differ based on the family dynamic. blended family vs. traditional, etc. I know people who adopt children will disagree with me, but I think there's something to be said for physically carrying your own biological child in your own body and giving birth to it that also changes the dynamic. I know Giuliana and Bill's child IS their biological child, but she didn't carry it. I know, people are gonna hate over this comment, but it makes a difference in my opinion.
It shouldn't surprise me anymore when people make comments like this regarding surrogacy and adoption, and yet it does. I will never stop being shocked by the difference that people perceive exists between carrying a child and birthing one.
I haven't been a parent for long - just over 8 months. I didn't have much notice before my daughter "arrived" in my life, either. I don't pretend to be an expert on this subject. Yet, I have never felt there is or should be this divide between carrying a child and birthing one. Because, to me, my child is "my own."
She doesn't share my DNA. She doesn't look like me. She doesn't share my fair skin, blue eyes, and red hair. We have different eyes, different smiles, different hair. We are not made of the same material. But I am the woman who holds her when she cries. I am the woman who feeds her when she's hungry. I am the woman who changes her diapers. I am the woman who provides for her, who clothes her and keeps a roof over her head. I am the woman who protects her and looks out for her safety. I am the woman who dries her tears.
I will be there when she walks for the first time (I hope). I will be there on her first day of school, to kiss her scraped knee when she falls off of her bike for the first time. I will be there when she gets her ears pierced. I will be there when she has her first crush, when that first crush breaks her heart. I will drop her off for her first sleepover - and worry about her the entire time. I will teach her to drive (or maybe Joey will). I will take her to visit colleges. I will cheer her on as she walks across the stage at her high school graduation. I will be there if/when she gets married and if/when she has children - regardless of the way she chooses to become a mother.
How is this any different from what any other mother does?
I can cook dinner fairly well. Does that mean I should be a chef? No. I can change a tire on a car. Does that mean I should be a mechanic? Definitely not. Anyone can grow a baby. This isn't some magic superpower. It doesn't somehow make you a different mother or a better mother than those of us who became parents in a different way.
No, I don't have the stretch marks or the scars of carrying her for 8 months. Someone else bears those scars. I didn't have 8 months of feeling her move inside my belly. She didn't have 8 months of hearing my heart beat. Biologically, my daughter is someone else's. Her birth mother is, and forever will be, her first mother - and she will always be welcome in our lives. However, this doesn't make ME less of a parent. Or a different parent. I am my daughter's mother, and she is my child. Her not sharing my genes doesn't change my family's dynamic. It doesn't make me any more or less willing to put her needs before anyone else's needs.
She is "my own." Regardless of how society views it.