Appointment No. 3: The Sanity Test for Parenthood

different sandglasses on table near books

“What if she says we’re not ready to be parents?  I asked Megan during our lunch walk.

“She won’t. We’re both very responsible and intentional. It’s just a formality,” Megan assured me.

“I’m just so nervous that we won’t say something right, then she’ll fail us, and our preparations up to this point will go out the window…”

After phoning nearly twenty different psychologists and practices across the state of Michigan, it felt like we had hit one roadblock after another in our attempts to find a mental health professional that would give us the “all-clear” that our fertility center required to continue with the process. The typical responses were “I’m not taking new clients,” “I’m only accepting regular clients, not performing one-time sessions,” and “I don’t accept your insurance, and you probably don’t want to pay what I would charge you.” So, it didn’t take long for us to grow a little discouraged at the abysmal amount of options…and we weren’t even being picky at this point. In the beginning, we were researching each professional first to check out their ethics, which is how we luckily dodged contacting one who had allegedly refused to give a lesbian couple a passing grade because they planned on using the term “donor” instead of “father” with their future children.  Aside from steering clear of that individual, we learned to keep our bar pretty low during the search and just try to get this step over with.

 Admittedly, there was also a little bitterness in our hearts from the fact that millions of people who try to conceive “traditionally” aren’t required to pass a mental health screening…so why should two people who are putting so much physical, financial, and emotional investment into this process have to go through this?

That being said, we loved our experience with the fertility center thus far and accepted to jump through this seemingly unnecessary hoop. Eventually, we connected with a psychologist who didn’t accept our insurance but still agreed to perform the interview and charged the lowest out of pocket. At this point of having insurance cover next to nothing in our process, the extra $220 for this interview seemed inconsequential.

So there we were, the day of the screening that the doctor thankfully agreed to conduct over the phone instead of requiring us to drive a few hours to her office. I made sure to remind Megan throughout the day that neither of us were allowed to work over since the meeting was scheduled a few minutes after our end of day. As soon as three thirty hit, Megan came into the room I was working in, and we both sat on the floor, staring at my phone like a couple of teenagers about to make a prank call.

“Are you ready?” I look over at Megan while typing in the numbers.

“Yeah, let’s just do it.”

The psychologist, let’s call her Dr. Beans, answered on the second ring.

“Hello, this is Dr. Beans. Britt, is Megan there with you?”

“Yes, we’re both here,” I say a little too quickly as my people-pleasing stress response starts to take over.

“That’s great. Okay, so I’m basically going to ask you a series of questions I’m required to ask to make sure you two aren’t crazy and are fit to be parents.”

I look over at Megan and she and I both have identically raised eyebrows, triggered from hearing the woman use the term “crazy” right out of the gate.

Aside from the slightly uncomfortable beginning, the remainder of the interview went pretty smoothly. Dr. Beans asked some fairly in-depth information about each of us, dug into our relationships with our family a little bit, and ensured in a few different ways if we had people around us who supported us in this journey. She also touched on our plans for how we were going to choose a donor, how we would talk about where our child came from if they asked, and how we would solve the whole naming debacle of how our child would refer to each of us specifically.

Luckily, there weren’t any unexpected questions or any topics Megan and I hadn’t previously discussed, and I became more relaxed with each question as my fears of “failing” subsided. After about forty-five minutes, Dr. Beans gave us the clear and let us know she would draft up her letter to our doctor and send it out the next day.

A couple of days later, we pulled a letter from Dr. Beans out of our mailbox and smiled as we read her account of our conversation and details. I was even able to overlook the fact that she misspelled my name throughout the entire letter because all I really cared about was the closing line:

“I see no reason that would interfere with this couple being responsible, loving, and thoughtful parents.”

Of course if we didn’t already believe those words, we wouldn’t be pursuing this process. Nevertheless, it felt damn good to see that in writing and to know we were clear to move forward with perhaps the most important and thrilling step: choosing a donor!

Now, that’s a post I’m very excited to share with you in the near future because within that step was a rollercoaster of emotions. So buckle-in, because it’s about to become a wild ride!

Thank you for reading and giving us the opportunity to share our journey with you!

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