Max Mutchnick: My Daughters Have No Mother

Max Mutchnick offers a second insightful piece at The Huffington Post, exploring the anxiety which accompanies the gift of egg donation and surrogacy.

He’s a funny guy [and we’re sure he’s a fun dad] who can make us feel better about our decision to build families of choice.

He writes:

Somewhere along the line I started to feel guilty or less than. As a result, I built up some defenses. You must want it so badly that you literally have to reach out your hand to virtual strangers for assistance. Of course they become real in the fullness of time, but when you’re introduced at a Marie Callender’s to the woman that’s going to carry your children, it’s impossible to think:

“You’re mommy”.

So with key players, I found myself doing this thing I call, “distance regulating.” So much intimacy. So much vulnerability. So much need from others. I must save myself the only way I know how.

Less eye-contact.
Jokey banter.
Let’s keep it light… because it’s so not light.

And then there’s the egg donor. You never even get to meet her.

It’s hitting me now. My daughters have no mother.

So listen to this part. You log onto a secured website. (Octomom, if you’re reading this, please skip to the next paragraph) Page after page of girls — not women, girls. A headshot, a small video testimonial and an extensive medical history. That’s all you get. Fifty percent of my babies’ DNA would be purchased online. Something about it depressed me. I must distance regulate.

Want a mom? She’s three clicks away!

We quickly learned about the dearth of desirable donors. They’re like diamonds; it’s all good on the surface, but when you take a loop to them, the difference between a flawless stone and an included one seems small, but looms large. Take the “Diamond” out of Lou Diamond Phillips and you’re just stuck with a guy called, Lou Phillips. (That almost makes sense). I learned everything I know about diamonds from Suzanne Pleshette, may she rest in peace. She wore ten carats on her finger to work everyday. A gift from a man, she told me.

So if and when you see a donor you like, it’s a BUY NOW situation. Turn your head for a second and donors get scooped up by other gay couples competing from the same pool. We decided to go with V139K2 (not her real name). There was something very exciting and scary about it once the decision was made. We’ll never know her. Our daughters will never kiss her. She is everything… and nothing. Oh my god, my daughters have no mother!

See that’s what it is. I have to call our surrogate an oven because I can’t call her their mother and I can’t call V139K2 (not her real name) their mother. And it drives me crazy. I can’t tell you how it drives me crazy.

But this is what saves me…

Here’s a list of what they do have:
– doting grandparents
– lots of cousins
– fifty gay uncles
– two gay aunts
– clean sheets
– bubble baths
– kisses from morning ’til night
– walks in the park
– laughter
– dogs that lick their feet
– And two adoring fathers. And that’s enough. And that’s our family. And that’s everything.

Image: The New York Times