Adoptive mother: My tornado

I never really wanted to be pregnant. Even when I was trying to conceive, getting pregnant was only a means to an end – a family. My whole life, I always felt a bit sorry for pregnant women because being pregnant looks so terribly uncomfortable. I remember once as a little girl saying that if I ever were to have kids (which I wasn’t even sure I wanted until the age 36) I’d rather adopt them then go through a pregnancy. Of course, when faced with the reality of having to adopt after discovering I seemed to have infertility issues things suddenly looked a bit different. I realized what a gift it is to be able to reproduce.

After adopting my son, I still have no desire at all to be pregnant; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel immense sadness and jealousy whenever I hear of other people getting pregnant and having babies – especially if they’ve had an easy time of it. This was particularly true in the four years that my husband and I were trying to have a family. But pain, like other forms of energy, changes over time. After our son came into our lives the pain of hearing about other people’s pregnancies got much less pronounced. The pain was more like a dull ache that would pop up on occasion.

These days I’ve discovered a new form of the pain which is triggered from news from mothers I’ve befriended through my son that are now pregnant again with their second children. Two is that magical age where many mothers consider having their second children. I knew that once our son hit that age I too might be faced with new feelings of pain so I wasn’t completely unprepared when I close friend hit me with his “exciting news” of his wife’s pregnancy. What surprised me wasn’t his news, but the enormous amount of feelings it brought up in me after I was home. I call it my tornado.

I cried. I was jealous. I was pissed that they had such ease at getting pregnant. Did it even take them three months? And she felt like it was taking so long to get pregnant! Talk to the hand! I thought of my miscarriage, the years of trying to conceive, the months of failed fertility treatments, and the years of waiting anxiously to adopt. I felt a smidgen of the pain and the endless anxiety all over again. Until I made myself take a step back from it all like I learned to do during meditation during those tough years. After stepping back I was able to just observe and to be a bystander to my own crazy thoughts.

Amidst the jealousy and pain swirling around I saw other things too. Good things. I saw how glad I am that my body hasn’t changed at all due to being pregnant. I saw how lucky we are to have our wonderful, healthy son. I saw how having just one child can allow us to put all our energy into him giving him the dedication that he deserves. I saw our son’s wonderful birthparents, and how lucky we are to have such an amazing bond between us that people having their own biological children can never experience. I saw it all in my tornado.

The craziest bit of all of this is that my husband and I have talked numerous times about our feelings about continuing to try for our own biological children or pursuing another adoption but we both mutually agreed that we are good with just one child and are taking action/or no action accordingly. As much as we’d love our son to have a sibling living with him, just one child is really fine by us.

But the mind is a funny thing and you can’t control thoughts you have and you shouldn’t try to control them because you would be fighting a losing battle. You can however control how you react to your thoughts. This time I chose to step back from my tornado instead of letting it suck me in. After a while the tornado passed as I knew it would. The damage from this one was almost nonexistent.

Birthmother: Reasons

By Birthmother – My choice to give my baby up for adoption was met with an abundance of positive feedback.  I get the impression that not everyone has this experience.  Maybe it depends on your upbringing.  I am an educated white woman from a middle class background; my friends and family mostly fall into the same category.  So at least in the population of people who surrounded me when I got pregnant there was an instant understanding of my choice to give my child up.  They had heard about adoption, not just the negative stereotypes but the full truth about it.  Incase you haven’t heard the truth about adoption, here it is.

A healthy, normal woman can choose NOT to be a mother.  This choice isn’t as rare as you might think!  Do you think that a woman must be poor or desperate to give up a child?  Do you think that a woman must be stupid to give up a child?  Do you think that a woman must be sick or addicted to drugs to give up a child?  I know these assumptions exist, but they are simply WRONG.  Rich women can choose not to be mothers.  Old women can choose not to be mothers.  Married women can choose not to be mothers.

A woman may have hundreds or THOUSANDS of reasons for her decision not to raise a child.  A woman’s reasons may be a permanent part of who she is.  I decided at a very young age that I did not want to be a mother, and for the most part my reasons are still the same.  I know many women who feel the same way.  There are so many of us now, in fact, that there is a phrase for us.  We are “childless by choice.”  Look it up on Google.  You won’t believe how many of us there are out there!  We are happy without children, but this does not mean that we have never been faced with an unplanned pregnancy.  Birth control is not perfect.  Life is not perfect.

Most often, a woman’s reasons for choosing adoption are very temporary.  Even a healthy woman who hopes to be a mother SOMEDAY may find herself in a bad situation NOW.  Pregnancy does not wait for a good situation to come along!   The fact that a woman hopes to be ready for motherhood in 10 years does no good for a baby who is coming into the world today.

So in a single specific moment a woman may find herself with a list of reasons why her child needs to be placed in another home.  These reasons are HER reasons, and there is no guarantee that anyone else will understand or approve of them.  In fact, I realized very early on that someone would disapprove of my unplanned pregnancy no matter what decision I made.  But I also realized that the opinions of others were not relevant to what would be going on in MY household with MY child.  If a child is brought into a home where it is not supported, it won’t matter how many people on the outside gave their precious approval!  The approval of others does not automatically create a good situation for a baby.  The approval of others is not enough to make a woman ready to be a mother.

The sad truth is: people who are very ready for a baby might be stuck without a child while unplanned or unwanted pregnancies pop up all over the world.  But do you see how this doesn’t need to be a SAD truth?  Women who choose adoption can balance the scales.  And guess what!  This choice doesn’t mean that a child has been “abandoned.”  Quite the opposite: adoption means that a child has been placed in a loving home with people who HAVE chosen to be parents.