Dream deferred

I know that I should be regaling you with my views on race and surrogacy. I spent yesterday compiling my thoughts and planned to send them through my fingers and out into the blogosphere today; however, considering the MUST DO NOW items on my To Do list, I haven’t the the mental power or energy to delve into such a topic and not slight it. If I were to attempt to write that post now, I would probably write something like:

“If I, a Black woman, is your gestational surrogate, you needn’t worry – your baby won’t come out with a Buckwheat ‘fro or a mocha-choco-latte skin tone. I won’t make you eat chitlins or listen to gangsta rap, because chitlins are slimy and smell like shit and gangsta rap might make me wanna pop a cap in your ass for being so close-minded. So. Free your mind and your ass will follow. But first you must free your mind from your ass. The End.”

So see, I might say something like that and actually be okay with it if I wrote the post right now, but that’s not the angle I’d like for it to take. I want to free my mind and be open to hearing why someone of one race is uncomfortable with someone of another race carrying their child via gestational surrogacy. One thing I have learned is that moments of intolerance are an opportunity to bridge understanding, and if I as the offended cannot set offense to the side long enough listen and engage, I will have missed an opportunity to grow develop positive from the negative. So, I need a moment to assure that my words are non-accusatory. For all I know, they may not know any better.

While I work on drafting that post, let’s talk about something else, shall we? Today we were in Wally World, the whole gaggle of us clamoring in the aisles among the other back-to-school tax-free weekend shoppers. I ran into many of my old students, some who I have not seen for a few years. One is starting her last year of college and will finish with a BS in nursing. Another just graduated high school and was shopping for dorm life necessities. “I’m majoring in Music Education!” she exclaimed as she hugged me. “I want to teach chorus…you always said I’d be a good chorus teacher!” Maybe four years from now she’ll be my colleague, just as I am now the colleague of several of my former teachers.

Somewhere between the bookbags and the and the 2009 desk calendar, it occurred to me that Frank is fifteen years removed from high school and I, thirteen. I thought of the age-old query asked by guidance counselors (or probation officers, if juvenile delinquency was your thing) – “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

How close or far away are you from where you thought you would be ten or fifteen years ago? Career? Family (you can skip that one if you want to)? Personal growth and development? If any of those goals have yet to be fulfilled, are you still working on them?

At what point do the starry-eyed “going to” goals for the future turn into misty “coulda, shoulda, woulda” dreams of the past?

Dream Deferred
by
Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?

17 Comments

  1. Jen on August 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Well I’ll tell you one thing…10 years ago (when I was 17) I had no idea that the next 10 years would bring 8 years of marriage, a college degree, two babies, and a move from TN to MN. I lived in the present too much to even think about what the next 10 years would bring.



  2. debbie on August 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I can’t bring my mind to go backwards, but I can wonder about where I’ll be ten years from now. I feel like it will be glorious–in fact, I’m certain of it.
    As for the part of your post that talks about trying to figure out why people think a black woman cannot carry a white baby and vice versa, maybe you shouldn’t try and understand where those people are coming from, but rather, be open to answering questions from someone brave enough to ask you about it. In other words, my suggestion is (even thought you didn’t really ask) not to bend over backwards trying to figure out the unconscious–it will just exhaust you. Instead, keep going on and the ones who want you to carry their baby will come, with their questions, I’m sure of it.



  3. Nikki on August 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    10 years ago I was very clear in saying I did NOT want to get pregnant then “I don’t want to put my body through all this”. Little did I know how much I would put my body through in the following years, and how badly I would want my body to go through child birth, and how many times I would regret even thinking what I thought back then 🙂
    On the career front, you win some, you lose some. I see a lot of my colleagues and college batch mates in an endless rat race for something in life. I don’t want to be a rat. I want to be happy doing what I do, and I think I have achieved that.
    So overall too – you win some, you lose some 🙂



  4. Moxie on August 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I liked your comment and suggestion, Debbie. Exactly what you said is how I’ve handled the race issue all along. The truth is that this is not the first time something like this has happened as far as surrogacy is concerned. It doesn’t bother me personally, because for every one person that doesn’t want me to carry because of my race, there are ten others that don’t care about it. I don’t sweat it. The other surrogates on SMO got far more riled up over it than I did. 🙂
    I honestly would like to know what the conscious (not subconscious) rationale behind it is. Is it that basic genetics are misunderstood (as was the case of my former RE’s wife/head nurse)? Is it something that a conversation and a correction of a simple misconception could fix? Or is it something deeper? I’ve never questioned “why” and just accepted it as it is. If anyone is who feels that way is brave enough to engage conversation about it, I don’t want to run them off with ill words.



  5. Kari on August 3, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    10 years ago I was about to deliver my first child, alone, working fulltime and going to school fulltime to become an elementary teacher! After my little man was born I continued down this same path letting my mother basically raise my son since I was constantly working or in school. I saw the error of my ways and dropped out of school to be a mommy when my son was 1 year old.
    When I slowed down long enough to breath, I met the man of my dreams, he was there for the last year watching my big old belly then how I ran myself ragged to be able to do better for my son. We worked together! We started dating and he took right to my son and we have not been apart ever since. We have 2 more kids together and have been married over 5 years now.
    If you asked me where I thought I would be when I graduated 14 years ago, I would have said married, with a couple of kids (I always new I wanted to be a mother and do better for my kids then my own mother) and a kindergarten teacher! Well, I have b=gone back to school but not for teaching, after having my own kids I realize I do not have patience for other peoples kids, lol, I really admire those of you that do! I now want to be a L&D nurse when I grow up, lol
    I also always, even before I had kids, knew that if I could I wanted to help those that can’t have their own kids. I have so far delivered b/g twins for just such a couple and am getting ready to cycle again for a new deserving couple.
    So although some of my aspirations have changed over the years, I have fulfilled some of my dreams!



  6. Miss W on August 3, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Ten years ago I was 21. I thought I’d be teaching still; I thought that I would have actually had a “permanent” teaching position rather than a string of leave replacements (I got a rep for being willing to take any class; my building principal wanted me to stay in her building but had no openings, so she moved me around for a few years). I thought I’d have a large family — maybe even that I’d be staying home with that family as I currently am with the lowercase. And, interestingly, as a result of several doctor’s opinions thought that family would come through surrogacy or adoption. I’m happy with what I have and have achieved, though. I have an incredible son and an amazing husband. I feel like, career-wise, I made a real difference in each of my classes. I opened some eyes to new experiences, I learned to love children who were viewed as unloveable and let them know they were valued (and *that* is the most that I have ever hoped for in my career. Yes, I want them to learn skills that will see them through life (and the bleeping standardized tests), but first I want them to know love and that they are worth more than the abuse, poverty and general crap that life had given them to that point).



  7. Alex on August 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Interesting question.
    Ten years ago I was newlywed and knew we’d have fertility issues at some level due to DH’s vasectomy — no idea how difficult this would end up making conceiving or that I’d only be a mom to one at this point, or how important it would feel to me to be able to mother a child genetically related to me.
    I’d already deviated pretty majorly from my envisioned life course in marrying who I did as in doing so I got two stepkids…who envisions themselves growing up, marrying, and getting stepkids? Now my steps are young adults and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
    Career hasn’t entirely gone as planned, either, but honestly the importance of that pales in light of the family. I like what I do (workwise), even if it’s not what I thought I’d be doing, so that’s all good.



  8. Amanda on August 4, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Honestly, 10 years ago, I was a rebellious 16 year old who didnt have a clue what I wanted out of life. I mean truly aimless and without any goals.
    So it’s kinda hard to answer your question.
    I think that family-wise, I am where I want to be. My baby and hubby are wonderful.
    Career-wise…well…in college, I thought that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I was wrong. I should have gone for something different. And even though I was one of the most determined people you could meet by the time I was in college, I still feel much like the confused teenager I once was when it comes to figuring out what I’m supposed to be when I grow up. Ha.



  9. Melissa on August 4, 2008 at 9:09 am

    10 yrs ago I was 20… and I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant. I had dropped out of my junior year of college to move back home with my parents to better raise my baby. I was pregnant…and alone…and scared. But for me I envisioned the next 10 years would include me finishing school (which I did was my daughter was 2 1/2) and becoming a teacher (which I did because I am about to enter my 7th year), and I envisioned somewhere in that 10 years I would marry and have a ‘family’ (which hasn’t happened). So at 30 I am appreciative of the awesome 8 1/2 year old I now have, and of the job that allows me to have good work hours and summers off, yet there is a big hunk (no pun intended) that is still missing. Our life is good…we are happy and healthy…it just isn’t the life I had planned for myself. I definitely hope the next ten years bring a husband and another baby…and if not a husband…at least another baby.



  10. Erin on August 4, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Wow, I have not thought of that poem since we used it as a forensics piece when I was in H.S.
    10 years ago for me? I was raising a 2 year old, getting back together with her dad and moving out of my hometown. My vision: finish school and get a good job, marry said man and live happily ever after.
    10 years from now… All but one of our children will be graduated from High School. (The last one will be 12 years from now, but who’s counting?!) I see myself still working the same profession, maybe different company by then. But my husband and I defintely have a desire to travel more when the kids are grown. We didn’t have the chance to do the ‘adult’ thing before we had kids (as we were a blended family) so we are looking forward to that ‘honeymoon’ time in 12 or so years.
    I ended up close. Graduated college, am sitting at my desk at said good job now… but married to a different man and living happily ever after (for the most part.)



  11. Sharon on August 4, 2008 at 10:02 am

    10 Years ago I was married to my ex husband and desperate to get pregnant, when I divorced him I thought it was a blessing we didn’t get pregnant together. Only when I remarried 5 years later did I realize there was something wrong.
    As far as career is concerned, that has gone better than I’d thought, but family,mmm, that’s another story.



  12. Poppy on August 4, 2008 at 11:07 am

    as a white woman married to a black man, I have been trying to get to the bottom of some of these biases for awhile. I’m not there yet, but something I’ve realized is that the whole “drop of blood” thing (in racial determination)still stands strong in this country. My husband’s ancestry is a fairly equal mix of european, native american and african, but no one would notice anything but the african(though diluted). Maybe these people with issues have a similar mindset. Am I making sense?



  13. anymommy on August 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Whew! Great question. I have let some of my ‘starry eyed goals’ fade into ‘wish I had dreams of the past.’ I wonder when that happened? What caused the shift? And, I have to say that a big shift happened when I became a mother. Suddenly, seeing every country in the world, working overseas and writing a novel became not lesser dreams, but less important than the now. Maybe I’ll get back to them someday.
    I’m looking forward to your thoughts on race and surrogacy.



  14. tash on August 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I thought I’d be a mother of two with a career. Bwahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!
    (sniff)
    I love that Hughes poem. I think I honestly feel ALL of those things.
    And as for the other: you’re a mighty big person to answer questions (for those who ask) without the snark. I guess there’s misinformation and then there’s . . . well, dumbshits.



  15. luna on August 4, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    personally I like your initial para post. what keeps people from considering a surrogate of a different ethnicity? racism, ignorance, but aren’t they one and the same?
    hmm, 10 yrs ago, I was starting grad school and we were discussing our family plan. I definitely thought I’d be a mother of two by now with a decent career option. now I’ve just got the good job. so that really didn’t go all that well. I definitely didn’t think I’d have one or the other…
    and I’ve always loved that langston hughes poem. thanks for reminding me. like tash,



  16. Io on August 4, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I look forward to reading your post on race and surrogacy.
    The ten years thing is interesting – my sister just blogged about realizing it was my birthday and that I was 27, which is the age she mentally thinks of herself as even though she’s about to turn 31. Which is the age my mom got pregnant with her. Which of course freaks her the hell out, even though I don’t think she really hears her biological clock ticking that loudly.
    Ten years ago I was about to enter my senior year in high school and I was planning on living in New York with my best friend. I was going to be a swinging city girl far far away from my parents. I was going to be happily single.
    Heh. What I got is so totally different, but I wouldn’t trade Al.



  17. Rayven, 2x Gestational Surrogate on August 6, 2008 at 8:43 am

    10 years ago I never thought I’d be here in life. I have a wonderful marriage (a second marriage; I was miserable 10 years ago in my first marriage), I’ve delivered 5 babies (3 surrogate babies), and am about to start a few year odyssey in an RV across America.
    The better question to ask is where will I be 10 years from now?