THE BLOG

I Will Never Birth a Child, But I'm Still a Parent

It is not uncommon that an interview with Kim Cattrall be shared on multiple media outlets. However, it is uncommon when you consider one of the topics she discussed: how she parents even though she does not have her own children.

Across social media her quotes ignited comments of both major support and criticism. As an advocate for breaking the silence of infertility, pregnancy loss and recovery I was excited and as a writer, I have my own words.

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I always knew my journey to parenthood would not be traditional, and yet I never could have imagined the unexpected extraordinary life that has been born of my journey.

I met Michelle on a surrogacy website. My husband and I were beginning the journey to make our family through gestational surrogacy. Michelle was a mother of two children and a first time surrogate. We did In vitro fertilization (IVF), putting both of our bodies through synthetic hormonal hell, transferred a total of three embryos, lost our three babies and our dreams to make our family ended.

Who are we if we are not parents? What is our legacy if no one carries on our family name, our gorgeous red hair, vivacious laugh and vibrant, passionate personalities?

Do I matter if I cannot be a mother? Do I dare speak out even though I am not one of the success stories? Do I dare ask you to listen? Do I dare stand here and parent?

In our world's most accepted definition of a parent, I will never meet the criteria. I will never birth a child and I am not adopting one. So you will call me childless. And, I will then emphatically and stubbornly correct you and let you know that I am a childfull parent, birthing a rare kind of parenthood.

I will never get to parent the newborn narrowly missing the blowout diaper or experiencing the night of bonding while breastfeeding and rocking her to sleep. I will parent by holding whatever baby is available and helping whichever parent needs a break. I will never get to parent the first steps. I will parent the steps in helping someone change their lives for the better after trauma, loss and tragedy. I will never get to parent the first days of school. I will parent the teenager struggling with debilitating anxiety. I will never get to parent and see what of me and which of my husband is in my child. I will parent to teach empathy and understanding of how hard it is to make a family. I will never get to parent the holidays; wrapping gifts, picking costumes or dressing them in matching outfits. I will parent my growing faith; allowing doubt and questioning to only strengthen it. I will never get to parent through the graduations or the weddings. I will parent through modeling and teaching every single day, helping people to give themselves permission to be okay no matter how their lives have turned out.

Parenting is not about biology or even the status of having children, as there are many of these parents who parent less than I do on a daily basis. Parenting is about pushing from behind, walking alongside or pulling forward. It is about championing and advocating. It is about being able to see one's true light even when they are unable to see it themselves. It is about showing the way to walk into it all in order to embrace it and find truth and clarity.

Parenting is showing up bravely and loving with your whole heart. And, you're right I do not get to do that in your tradition definition of a parent but your perspective of my story does not change my truth. The truth that within my three never to be babies, I have fought for and found my ever upward in unexpected parenting roles; birthing a rare kind of parenthood, but a parenthood no less.

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