Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wanted: Crawling Baby

My daughter has been a little slow to crawl and I was getting concerned that she wouldn’t achieve that milestone. I had always heard it was important for coordination. Well, she is now crawling like a pro. My husband asked me yesterday if I was happy to have a crawling baby after wishing for one all these months. At first I mentally reacted to hearing “happy to have baby after waiting all these months” and wanted to say, “Months!?! How about years?!” but then realized he was specifically saying crawling baby, and that his question was a comment on how I had been lamenting for months that she may not crawl before walking.

On the one hand, I am mildly irritated at myself for jumping to the conclusion that my son and how much he means to me is being disregarded. On the other hand, questions like that always make me think of him and, frankly, I am somewhat grateful to be reminded of him and have the excuse to think of and remember him.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pop Psychology Victim

Towards the end of my pregnancy with my daughter I started seeing the other OB’s in the practice so that whoever was on call when I was in labor would have met me at least once, and I them. I loved my doctor and really felt comfortable talking about my first birth experience and my son with him. It was nice being able to talk to someone about the birth of my son as if it was an ordinary thing. I learned that he spent his residency and early part of his career at the hospital where my son was born and we even talked about the differences in birthing practices since the time of my son’s birth until the time he was practicing there. So we had a really good rapport and I was relaxed and comfortable with him.

The second new-to-me doctor on the rounds, upon learning of my son’s birth and subsequent adoption, launched into a little pep talk about the whole thing. It was horrible. Why did he feel he needed to do that? It was like some kind of pop psychology talk really. The “oh, you did such a great thing for him,” yada yada yada. Puleez. This is not what I wanted to hear. And not once did he even ask me a question – I was just a captive audience to his soap box speech. If he really cared, he could have asked how I felt about it, how it felt to be pregnant again, how it felt to be planning to parent. But no. He was like a steamroller and I just sat there dumbfounded thinking, “Please let this be over soon, please let him shut up!” After that experience, I made my next appointment with my doctor, during which I told him that I didn’t care who was on call when I went into labor, but that I just wanted to see him for my remaining visits, thank-you-very-much.

I have found myself dwelling on that pop psychology visit more often than I’d like – it just keeps cropping up in my thoughts, especially lately. I don’t know why. I am wondering if I should write the doctor a note and let him know in a friendly way that he offended me in the hopes that he may avoid doing it to another woman. Part of me feels that people are the way they are and you can’t change them. But part of me thinks maybe it will at least give him pause to reflect on his approach. After all, doctors are supposed to be smart and I think this was his effort at bedside manner. If nothing else, maybe I will at least be able to feel like I have spoken up for myself, even if it’s almost a year after the fact. Does anyone have an opinion or thought on whether I should write the doctor?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Two messages

The thing that is bothering me these days is the two very different messages for two members of the triad.

For adoptees, the implicit message seems to be "you weren't wanted". The last thing I want my son to think is what I am most afraid he might feel, and most likely the source of any issues he may have.

For many birthmothers, the implicit message when pregnant and the reason we relinquish boils down to "you can't keep your baby". This is so very different from "I don't want my baby".

While I so wish I could erase all the pain I feel and any my son feels, decisions were made. I just hope he knows, somehow, how much I loved him and wanted him, and how much I still love him and wish I could know him.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

His sister

My son has a sister who was adopted after he was. I think it's great that he doesn't get to grow up alone. However, his sister's birthmother wants no contact and sends no birthday and Christmas gifts. This is what M told me in the Christmas letter that included the news about the sister several years ago. That letter or a later one mentioned that it was a little awkward that he got gifts from his birthmother and she didn't get gifts from hers. It's also been explained to me in most letters that he is quite caring and compassionate in general, and rather protective of his sister. While I regret that the situation is awkward for him, I made the decision that I would still send gifts, and I always include a Christmas gift for her so she doesn't feel completely excluded. (I know that isn't the same thing as getting something from her birthmother, but I can't change that.) I don't feel that it is fair to me or my son to not take the opportunity to show him that I think of him, remember him and love him.

His sister's lack of contact with her birthmother makes me wonder if that has made an impact on the letters, contact and relationship in general, and if so, how. I really did think that by now he would have wanted some contact with me.

And I don't understand why a birthmother wouldn't want at least some degree of communication. Maybe at first she thinks that is what she wanted, but I wonder if she has changed her mind in the meantime? I wonder if she has contacted them, or if she knows how to if she changes her mind. She has a beautiful daughter who appears happy and active in the pictures I've seen of her with my son. And she has a great brother. I hope to see them both some day.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I had a complete meltdown one morning last week. I was getting ready for work. My daughter was taking her morning nap. I had this overwhelming urge to look at my son’s pictures, so I went and got the little book and began looking through them slowly. I don’t look at them often, maybe three times a year. The last time was probably about four months ago. I always feel sad when I look at them, but this time I just started crying so hard, I couldn’t even see the pictures. I am sure this is a sign of the work I’ve been doing – actually facing some issues and feelings regarding him and the adoption. I truly did not realize the extent to which I had packed all of it away in some box in my mind. I never packed him away – just most of the feelings. And when any would rise to the surface, I did little to address them. I worked more on my defense mechanisms than I did any validation of feelings. But right now I am actively trying to work through these feelings. I am thinking about what I truly want. I am letting myself feel, and I am doing as much honest evaluation as I am able to do. I say that because there are still a lot of self-scripted platitudes and defense mechanisms that kick in. I still let them kick in when I recognize that I’ve made some progress and need to let that assimilate into my script.

One of the posts I read recently was titled “Hurting heals and Healing hurts”. Yes, it is a cycle. I don’t think that there is healing in this process, though. It’s a journey and it time to stop living in this patient, waiting state ... aka denial.

I am finally letting myself admit that he is a person I want in my life, someone I did expect to be in my life again. I’ve been afraid to admit this to myself or wish for reunion because I wasn’t sure I’d ever have that opportunity and did not want to live in false hope (but isn’t that what I’ve been doing while waiting all these years, patiently, quietly?!?) and part of me was afraid of reunion. I knew better than to let myself naïvely imagine a joyous, fulfilling occasion but it was easier than imagining what could come out of yet another Pandora’s box of emotions and feelings. (Be careful what you wish for would run in a continuous loop in my mind whenever I think of meeting him again.) Reading about reunions has made me aware of what I may be in for, and has made me make a conscious decision as to whether or not I want reunion. (Thank you to those of you who write about reunion.)

Through this process I have grieved the lost opportunities for asking for contact sooner. But then I remind myself that they may not have wanted that and may have pulled back (stopped the annual letter and picture) as a result. And I have to try to remember who I have been at different points through all these years. It's easy to grieve not having my daughter (and this rewarding experience of motherhood) sooner, it's easy to grieve not knowing my son through phone calls, emails or visits because I wasn't brave enough to ask. But who I was, the experiences I've had, the people I've known ... all would have been different, and all have made me who I am today. And at least I am finally doing something about it now, rather than waiting another three or five years. But I have to be careful to discern if these last two sentences are part of my old script or if it's true. A little of both I presume and I need to figure out how much is true.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Somewhat unrelated, but two things I’ve found helpful in recent days.

On clutter: Clutter is the manifestation of incomplete actions. Source Ouch! I have always had trouble with finishing what I start unless I have a really compelling reason or I have outside expectations. Why do things only matter to me if it affects someone else? Why can’t I just do things for me? A feeling of accomplishment should be enough. I shouldn’t need the approval or recognition of others. But I do and as a result the things that no one else cares about just languish because I am lazy about doing what needs to be done.

On eradicating guilt: When you feel confident about your choices, you learn that guilt doesn't enter into the equation. Source I am trying to apply this to ALL aspects of my life. Thank you, SageFemme.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Lottery

I've never been one to play the lottery. But I did when I got back from giving my son to his adoptive parents. I was so torn between the unexpected love I felt for my son and going through with the adoption. We stopped at a convenience store and I thought, hey, I'll play the lottery. If I win, not only will we have the money to support him but it will be a sign that I am supposed to keep him. Of course, we didn't win.

I had forgotten about that until I was standing in a convenience store this weekend staring at the display of scratch-off tickets while I waited for the line to move. What came back to me was not just the memory of the action, but the raw emotion, the desperate hope I felt as I bought it. And I haven't been able to shake it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Is she your first?

When I was pregnant with my daughter people always asked me, "Is this your first?" I did not want in any way to erase the time I was pregnant with my son so, since my husband and I had pretty much decided we would only try this once I would answer, honestly, "She'll be our only." Sure, I got some weird looks and some "Oh, you'll change your mind" comments, and even some mini lectures on the virtues of siblings, but at least I wasn't outright negating my first pregnancy.

Now that she is here and getting all the attention babies get in public, whenever someone asks, "Is she your first?" I say yes. I haven't had a problem saying yes. At first I told myself it was probably because it was just easier and people weren't really asking an in depth question anyway. But yesterday after someone asked I realized why I am so comfortable with saying yes. It's because she's my first parenting experience. And I'm loving it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On being a mom

I read other mommy blogs and many contain sentiments about how during the hard times of dealing with a newborn (those endless midnight feedings) or baby (the neediness, separation anxiety, tantrums) they find themselves wishing they could take a break (more than one even mentions thinking it would be a relief to give the baby up for adoption). These sentiments are in blogs by mamas without infertility issues as well as ones who gave birth after dealing with infertility and even adoptive moms. I have never had these feelings. I can't help but think it's because I spent over 14 years wondering what it would be like to parent my son. There is a difference, I think, between wishing to be a mom for a long time and vicariously being one after birthing a child that somebody else raises while you secretly yearn to have had kept him. I really treasure the opportunity to finally be a mother and while I certainly have been sleep deprived, I just find that all the other crap in my life is just not that important, that the opportunity to meet my daughter’s needs, whether they be at 3 am or when I am about to shower or eat, is a privilege for which I am so very, very grateful.

In yesterday’s post I finally admitted that I adore being a mother. As a defense mechanism I had come to believe and tell others that motherhood just wasn’t for me. But when I was a little girl I loved playing with dolls. I took them for walks in their buggy, dressed them, fed them, put them in their crib every night, even did their laundry. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a mommy. Yet after giving up my son I must have started a subconscious conversation with myself about how there were so many other opportunities for me – after all, isn’t that one of the reasons why I relinquished him? Over the years I began believing I wasn’t meant to be a mother – I didn’t have the patience, the talent, the joy and drive for it. And I had so much “potential” to be “something” or “somebody”. Well, I got my college degree, and I’ve had some good jobs and worked plenty of long hours. But I never felt like somebody until I became my daughter’s mother.