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    I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)

    Remember the old Meatloaf song, the over-the-top and emotionally draining "I Would Do Anything For Love (but I won't do that)." If not, feel free to take a moment and refresh your memory here.

    That song has run through my head several times in the past few weeks, in response to recent news reports. For when it comes to my family and friends—my daughters in particular, in this instance—I sincerely would do anything for love. Whatever that anything may be, whether time, money, attention, affection, I will do and give to the full extent I'm able.

    But, as that earworm of a song says, I won't do that. That being what some incredible and amazing mothers—grandmothers, really—have recently made the news for doing.

    SO BLESSED MY GRANDSONS CAME NATURALLY.You may recall the many stories online and off about the kind and courageous—and physically fit, I must add—grandmother who served as a surrogate for her infertile daughter. The daughter was repeatedly unsuccessful in carrying a child to term, so the sixty-one-year-old mother, who had gone through menopause ten years prior, agreed to hormone supplementation and in vitro fertilization of her daughter's egg and her son-in-law's sperm. She successfully carried to term and in August, delivered via Cesarean section her daughter's biological daughter. Her own grandchild.

    What an amazing gift to give a beloved daughter. And this most recent woman is not alone, as such surrogacies have taken place countless times in the past.

    I truly, madly, deeply love my three daughters. But I don't think I'm selfless enough to commit to being a surrogate for any of them.

    Serving as a surrogate isn't the most recent act of selflessness on the part of a mother, a grandmother-to-be, that has made the news. Yesterday's newspaper (yes, I read the actual print paper) featured a story about two Swedish women who underwent the world's first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants, in hopes they will be successful in getting pregnant and giving birth. That's two daughters with two mothers who gave up their uteruses (uteri?) for the love of their child. One daughter had her uterus removed because of cancer, the other was born without a uterus. Now, thanks to their moms, they each have one. Now the quest to bear children is on.

    I honestly cannot imagine the point of desperation one must reach in order to consider, much less do such a thing. Such a heartbreaking state it must be. Regardless, if any one of my daughters came to me entertaining such a thought, suggesting such a plan, I couldn't do it. I really am not that strong, not that selfless.

    And I really am not so committed to becoming a grandma that I'd birth my own grandchildren.

    Although, I already am a grandma, so I can't say for sure.

    I'm not judging any of the grandmothers who sacrifice in such a way, I promise. I truly think they are incredibly loving, giving women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty of a mother, of a grandmother. I'm just trying to understand the degree of cojones it takes. And why I don't have them, what I'm lacking that makes me, as a mother, unwilling to do such a thing for my own daughters, if need be.

    In all honesty, because of various health issues, I'm pretty darn sure I would not be physically able to be a surrogate or offer up my uterus to be transplanted into my daughter. My oldest happened to be visiting as I wrote this, and I asked her if she'd ever consider requesting I be her surrogate or uterus donor. Her immediate response was "no," because of what the health repercussions may be to me, her mother.

    I admit to being a wee bit thankful for those health issues that make me a poor candidate. They save me from having to find out for sure how deep is my love, for my girls, for my future grandchildren. At least when it comes to doing that. Because—more honesty here—I can't be one-hundred-percent certain that I wouldn't do such a thing, if it would make all the difference in a daughter's world if I did.

    I pray my girls never reach the point of such desperation for children that surrogacy and transplants requiring my participation are a consideration. For any of us.

    When it comes to my daughters, I really, truly, honestly would do anything for love.

    But I won't do that.

    I don't think.

    And I hope I never have to find out for sure.

    (Photography by Alison Baum. Full stories on the women mentioned can be found here and here.)

    Today's question:

    How about you? Would you do that?

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    Reader Comments (23)

    I have had this discussion, in my own head and not out loud with anyone. I admire those who have either offered this to their children or responded to a request from their children, but I wouldn't be a candidate. I had a hysterectomy at age 35 so it's off the table for me, but I believe, I would have considered it, if needed. I see nothing in my own makeup that would have kept me from carrying my daughter's child, if she couldn't and if I were medically able. Maybe it's because I simply COULDN'T by the time my daughter was wanting a child, but I can't say.

    I would not judge anyone's decision in this situation because the last thing anyone would want is for a mother to feel obligated to carry her own grandchild. Such negative things could result from that kind of pressure.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo Heroux

    Good morning Lisa! Yes I would! And I have thought about it. My oldest daughter and my oldest sons wife were told they probably could not have have children. My daughter had 3 miscarriages then 2 babies. My daughter in law had 1 then adopted. As it turned out, I couldn't have anyway, I had to have things removed. But I would have!

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    Yes. I would definitely do that, but can't since uterus removed at 28. Fortunately, I'd already had my girls...but can't imagine if I hadn't. Think that's why I would help if I could...I know the feeling.

    A trip to the dentist? No way. No how. Not gonna happen. Love 'em dearly, but they're on their own. I won't do that!

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Thanks, Jo, Connie, and NonnieKelly. This confirms the idea I'm lacking some kind of mama gene or something, as I just don't think I could. So thankful pregnancy came easy for Megan. Hoping it will for Brianna...and Andrea, if she changes her mind about never, ever, ever wanting children.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I would never, ever do this for my daughter. There's one question I'd ask all of these women, potential mothers and surrogates alike - why not adopt? There are so many children in need of loving parents - and isn't that the main reason to have children? To love someone and nurture them as they grow?

    I realize this is easy for me to say, since I was fortunate enough to have my own two children the old-fashioned way, but I know in my heart that I would have adopted if I had been unable to do so.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Greenthal

    This is a really interesting question. It doesn't strike me as intrinsically bad, or that I would be bad for not doing it, but I just can't imagine the pain that preceded it and don't know what I would do in the face of such pain, if there were something I could do about it.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Covin

    Sharon: So glad to hear I'm not alone in my thoughts. Adoption would be my choice, too, and I know for certain it would be for my oldest daughter, if she were to have trouble having her own. As is the case with all things, it's great women have the right to make the choice that works for them.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I think I would. If I were able to that is. And young enough.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    After having SEVEN children, including a set of twins (and my sister had triplets two weeks later) when I'd planned only four, I'd undoubtedly wind up becoming Octo-GRAND-mother with my rabbit blood, so no, no, no! Besides that, I'm too old. Glad nobody ever asked me to do that!

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I agree with you I would do almost anything for my children ....... but I would have to draw the line here.

    When I had my kids, a nurse in the recovery room told me that my body was "made for babies" since I had no real labor and just "popped them out". Ok so I was in recovery for a while with low body temp among other things, but that didn't count I guess.

    I have had enough "issues" since then that I don't think I could handle 9 months of pregnancy and then delivery again. But more power to those who can.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKat Meller

    I physically could not do this, however, if I could I'm not sure if I would. But I do applaud these women for their selflessness.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

    Wow....very thought provoking... I only have son's so I am not so sure I am completely qualified to answer this. Having the boys I would venture to say no as far as carrying for my daughter-in-laws. If I had a daughter or 2 or 3 :-) I think I would say yes. I LOVED being pregnant and the whole birth process. What a special gift to give to my child. Of course now that I am thinking about it...I want to change my original answer as far as my daughter-in-laws. Katie had to deliver Michael by C-section. She wants badly to be able to deliver the others they may have vaginally. She has a strong desire to experience that birth process. When I hear her speak of it and the strong desire that she has and not knowing if she will be able to, my heart breaks thinking that she may not get to experience her desire. So, with that I change my answer to probably yes. I must say there are concerns though. I absolutely ADORE our daughter-in-law and Whitney (hope to be someday daughter-iin-law) but there are always the "what if's." when it comes to a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. Wow...honestly not sure why my head is spinning about this now and I am taking it so seriously...(HUGE SMILE ON FACE)... I have no uterus so it is clearly not something I should be fretting over. :-)
    I want to just cast my vote as a BIG "I AM NOT SURE!!!!!!"

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGina

    Great issue Lisa, wow, something we don't really ever think about. I think my answer would a heart beat. One member of my family is acting as a surrogate for another member of my family right now (both women are in their 30s and cousins) and I believe that it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    As I don't have a uterus to give, I don't have to contemplate this. Yet, I am pretty sure I would do it for the novelty sake alone. Having gone through infertility myself, I think I could relate to how my daughter would feel. Having gone through pregnancy, I think I COULD do it for her. But WOULD I? hmmmm

    Yes, I would do it, and I've considered it. My daughter and her husband have been unable to conceive. During that time I considered what I would do if the problem was her and if they asked. I decided that I would say yes. But I am only 50, I had not gone through menopause yet, and I don't have any outstanding health problems.

    In March I had a health crisis and had to have a hysterectomy, so that door closed. I do hope that someday I become a grandma, but it would be from my uterus.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChloe Jeffreys

    Such a strange question for me. I think it's one of those things you can't know until you're there, faced with the decision.

    I have faced down infertility and found a way out (which didn't involve using my uterus). It would be the height of irony if it ended up being my daughter who got some use out of it.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Lavender Luz

    My daughter has had two children. Had she wnated them and not been able to--never gave that a thought. I know she would not ask me to do that I would not offer. What would happen when they are teen agers and she wants to give them back? Nope,not going there.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterolga

    I just cannot resist adding this to my daily news on Wow!


    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb

    Interesting post Lisa.

    Those mothers that go the extra mile for their children are so admirable. Have thought about it but has I had a hysterectomy at 30 I'm not a candidate.

    It is heart breaking to read what so women have to go through to have babes. Then I think about my daughter who in a very quick space of time produced 8 babes and she has walked out on all of them.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    This post made me feel rather sad. But, if ever I were faced with the situation, I'd recommend adoption because God knows there are so many children out there who need parents. So I wouldn't feel pressurized to birth them to feel like a true Grandmother. That being said, I think, like Lori Lavender Luz said, so many things depend on that specific moment.

    Still, personal feelings apart, one has to admire the women who stepped forward and helped their daughters.

    I don't think you lack in that special Mama gene, Lisa :D It is about how you feel. Hugs!

    Gosh, that Meatloaf song has been going around in my head for the past week - and was just beginning to fade yesterday - when I saw your post in my mailbox this morning. Sigh. I am settling to one more week of it playing in my head. Quite liked it back then.

    September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVidya Sury

    What an interesting discussion! At one time in the past when my sister struggled with infertility I even considered myself as a surrogate for her. She eventually had 2 of her own babies. While I think the ideal resolution is adoption, I would definitely offer my uterus if it would help! I did note that doctors said the transplant that you cite would not be considered a success until pregnancy resulted. I would still take that chance. As for a full term surrogacy at my age? I join a few others in saying I honestly don't know, but if denying a daughter would devastate her, then yes. Yes, I would do even that...for love!

    September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    My daughter is much too young to have to consider this... but I hope I never have to! That must be a very hard decision to make!

    September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Lovely One

    Well said. I think I would; but I am not making the actual decision. It's easy to think I would when I don't really have to. Who knows if I really could go through with it?

    I have health issues, too. I'm really hoping that's one thing I don't pass on to my kids.

    Happy Sharefest. Have a great weekend.

    September 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermisssrobin
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