26 March 2013


When I was pregnant a funny thing happened more often than not when I told people I was having twins; they would say "do twins run in your family?" At first I thought it was a sort of benign question (ie "do you know if you're having a boy or a girl?"),  and I would reply "oh yes, they're are lots of twins and actually triplets too".  Over time, of course, I realized that people were fishing for IVF.

The more I became immersed in the culture of pregnancy, the culture of multiple births, and into the myriad of ways that babies were created, I felt this rift in the acceptance of those who had "natural" births and those who didn't.  Many people were fixated on the notion that if it didn't just "happen naturally" that maybe you weren't meant to have a child, or maybe God didn't want you to have a child, or that you were selfish for trying so hard to populate the earth when children were starving, etc etc. Somehow, saying that I had twins in my family felt like I was "defending" something I didn't think needed defending. I didn't want to hide anything, but I didn't want to affirm anyone's prejudices about how other people made their families.

I always wanted a family.  Even at my darkest, most pierced, and grungy I knew I would probably have a husband and kids some day.  The scenario in my head went "meet a guy, work on my career, get pregnant the moment I feel like we're ready, have a couple of kids, have a happy family, maintain career seamlessly throughout". I took for granted that this would happen.  Obviously that didn't work out the way I wanted.  Lula was the baby in mind, but not her illness, not her pain, and not her death. But she is still my family as much as Roan and Sam and always will be.

The truth is that, genetically speaking,  Sam and I are not meant to be together.  Although we have been together for 16 years, since I was 20 years old, nature made us incompatible.  Because we each carry some mysterious recessive gene, the odds of which are in the millions upon millions, we will always have a 25% chance of creating another Lula. Darwinistically speaking, we are to be weeded out 1 in 4 times. 

Does that mean that we aren't meant to be a family?  I don't think so.  I think Roan's mischevious seawater eyes are my answer to that every day.  I think Lula made Sam and I better parents, and better as husband and wife because we had to fight so hard only to have her taken from us by the same nature that created her.  If we ever decide to have another child it will have to be IVF.  It will be as unnatural as they come, geneticists combing through viable embryos to find the ones that are unlike my beloved baby girl.  Or we could leave it to chance and run the risk that God or the universe or nature intended for us to suffer twice. We may never even get there, but if we do my money's not going to be on nature.

In the end it doesn't matter how a family is made, only that the people who define themselves as such are committed to taking care of each other in the most profound and sustaining ways.  People who are not allowed to do that because it's "unnatural" are made to suffer for no good cause whatsoever.  Lonely people do not make for a better society. 

I am sure there are some people out there who married their high school sweetheart, and they were the exact same race, class, and religion and the exact opposite gender.  I am sure they got pregnant the first try and never got morning sickness, and had the exact number of kids they wanted.  I am sure there are families where everyone is healthy and not one single family member struggles or is different or challenged in any way.  But I've never known one.  And if they are the only ones who are entitled to have families in this country there will be very, very few families indeed.


  1. You blow me away, Micaela. I am so indescribably proud to be your friend. Can I share this with people?

    1. Absolutely! Anyone can repost if they feel so inspired.

  2. Thanks Michaela. So great to see you and the boys on Saturday. Mischievous seawater eyes is the perfect description for Roan. Thanks for having me think a little! Much love, John

  3. Beautiful article, thank you for writing this.

  4. Statistics are a strange thing and when you've been on the losing side of them they tend to not mean much. I couldn't breathe the entire time I was pregnant with our 15 month-old. His brother was such an easy boy from conception to birth that I never would have imagined the 4 miscarriages and a 37 week stillborn in between. I didn't buy a thing or make a plan. Didn't go to a single dr. appt. because they all wanted to do test after test and my answer was that all their tests couldn't tell me about an umbilical chord wrapped around a neck. We all deal differently, don't we?
    I felt a strange converse in the IVF/unnatural thing and that is that when you have a baby die people actually seem to implore you to create another life HOWEVER immediately. Without asking about history or beliefs or any of it, they just need you to procreate. Until they decide you did it wrong. So goofy.