Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Balancing Act

I've spent the past few days around several first time mom-to-be's and moms of newborns who also have other children.

It's been quite the experience.

As I have been trying my best to develop and maintain a balanced and healthy view of becoming a parent, as well as dealing with the process of adoption (especially with the 'fostering with a view' part) I've noticed how differently my experience is than those of my counterparts in the 'waiting' position.

Yesterday I spent lunch with two co workers that had in the past few months each had babies. Both have other children. Both pointed out all the negatives of pregnancy and giving birth.

The old me would've latched onto hurt, sadness and depression at the fact that I (that I know of at this point) will not likely experience these things. I would've felt inward pain and a clear separation between myself and them as a woman that will not be giving birth to her children.

Instead at the moment of decision I clung to all of their negatives as they saw them, negatives.

I decided 'Yay, no heartburn for me! Yay, no getting large and uncomfortable! Yay, I can drink!' (Even though I don't really drink much at all). I actually began to feel thankful that I get to be able to experience motherhood without those not always fun side effects.

Point one for me.

I noticed the new moms-to-be were MUCH different with their demeanour. They definitely had their complaints: 'The baby's kicking so much! I can't sleep! I have to pee all of the time!'

For some reason I had a harder time with their complaints. All I kept saying (our loud once and to myself several times) was 'Be thankful'.

I'm not sure what the big difference was. The new moms-to-be seemed to be radiating with a glow. Seriously I think they had spot lights on them. Much more so than the veteran moms.

Maybe it's because the veteran moms know what those little creatures can do.

Either way when the conversation came around to our adoption process and I was asked how it was going or what was entailed I found it to put sort of a damper on things. (Keep in mind, that's just my interpretation).

Talking about long boring classes, intense interviews and potentially losing your kids in the end isn't as fun as seeing ultra sound photos, finding out if it's a boy or a girl, or hearing a heartbeat for the first time.

I do realize that we're also at a very unfun part of the process (of course at this point I don't see the 'fun' appearing for a while).

I've truly realized how incredibly different our situation is from the norm (whatever that is). Though I know that we are by far nothing special and people adopt and go through 'the system' all of the time (50 adoptions last year in our city of 350 000 people). Many of the feelings and experiencing we will go through getting to parenthood will vary a lot from our pregnant peers.

I suppose in the last few days my eyes have been opened to how important I feel it is to sort of get the word out to have people be able to understand what 'the process' is like. To hopefully 'get' that there's many forms of adoption, many pathways to it, and it's not like going through a drive thru at McDonald's.

It's also NOT just about papers, laws and second class citizens.

I think adoption can seem rather sterile, yet contaminated with the child's history, rather than celebrated for the fact that they are so wanted.

The fact is that our child(ren) will always have more than one mommy and one daddy.


Nothing will ever change that. They will always have eight grandparents and perhaps many, many siblings.

Though they may not have contact with their bio family (or perhaps they will for years to come), they exist and our children have every right to know those facts when they are capable of understanding them and it is safe.

This is our reality.

Right now as I face people in 'typical' growing family scenarios I must keep balanced in my emotions and feelings surrounding them. I must keep in mind that I cannot expect others to understand my situation if they've never been shown it (or been in it). I must remember that my husband and I are CHOOSING to expand our family this way and we whole heartedly want to do this. Because we truly do.

I am very happy that with each passing day I feel stronger in our choice to do this and even more so that Wally feels the same way.

I am thankful God is growing us both through this experience and giving us the necessary wisdom to deal with one thing at a time and not panic and run away.

Wally keeps reminding me 'Anything worth having is worth fighting for'. And though I don't want that to sound negative in that we're fighting the 'system', we are fighting off others' expectations, our own expectations and what feels easiest to do at times.

I won't be perfect, because I'm not perfect. But I'll do my best to balance my way through this crazy road to parenthood.