Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Big Picture

A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at church. I did my usual thing and took my daughter downstairs midway through the service when she started getting antsy. Sometimes I nurse her and sometimes I don’t, depending on the morning. This particular morning I did nurse her and so it took me longer to get back upstairs. As I’m walking in and finding my seat, the speaker is already a couple of minutes into his testimony about being adopted. !!!! Of course I end up listening to every word and wondering what I missed. My husband filled me in later and while I was sad for the birthmother and the little baby boy, I realized the man in front of us became who he was because he was adopted. He has gone on to touch many lives and be a dynamic force in his field of work. Who would he have been had his mother been able to overcome her personal obstacles and kept him?

This gave me comfort and perspective. After all, I carefully picked a couple who lived in a certain geographic area, were a certain religion, were financially comfortable and stable, and who clearly loved each other. I think in the end my son will be better off for being raised as he has been raised. And when I’m truthful with myself, I let myself remember that is one of the reasons I let him go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Detachment is Normal ... Thanks

I’ve heard from some birthmoms in the past week or so who have said they had a hard time emotionally with a subsequent pregnancy and first few weeks of their baby’s life. To know that my feelings of detachment during the pregnancy and early days of babyhood were normal for a birthmom who is pregnant with the first child she will be parenting has really helped me. It takes away my _______ for not bonding with my daughter during the pregnancy and early babyhood and it takes away the sense of grieving I’ve had for not having the good memories I thought I’d have of the pregnancy and early days. I’ve really been hard on myself about it, wondering why I couldn’t just relax and make/let myself embrace the pregnancy. I’ve worried that on some level Baby Girl hasn’t felt the love and connection she deserves. But knowing that my experiences with my daughter are actually normal for my situation has helped me to claim the experience as my own, to affirm that it was okay to feel that way, to know that I am not alone because others have also experienced the same reaction, and that it will be okay.

So thank-you to those who have emailed me or left a comment related to this on an earlier post.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sorting through

Now that it’s been a year since I gave birth to my daughter, there are memories that I am now enjoying. However, I continue to work through some emotions related to the birth and first weeks because I feel like I was so disconnected. I am still trying to figure out if the feelings were from normal first-time mother fears, being older and knowing more about what to fear (all the things that could go wrong during the pregnancy and birth), or emotional issues from the adoption – not wanting to replace my memories of him, not wanting to love her more than him, afraid of how she would change my feelings about and love for him.

In the beginning it was so hard to connect and enjoy her and I kept waiting for the warm fuzzy feelings that would turn the early days into good memories. They never came and I thought I would never cherish those memories.

I have good memories of my son’s birth and the four days I had him with me. However, once I left him with his new parents, memories began immediately because all of a sudden, that’s all I had. So why is it so different with my daughter? Perhaps the everydayness of taking care of an infant has distracted me from and drained me of the energy it would take to be nostalgic, to categorize and re-live moments and milestones.

But I have to remember that I made my decision to place within days of finding out I was pregnant with my son. So I knew early on that my only guaranteed role in his life would be while I was pregnant. This gave me license to enjoy my pregnancy, especially since there was a couple who was so happy about my pregnancy and with whom I could share all the joys of this wonderful life growing inside me. And during those first days while I recovered in the hospital and then traveled to give him to his new parents, it didn’t matter what parenting mistakes I may have been making because soon he would be taken care of by people who knew what they were doing. (Yeah, right … what new parent knows what s/he is doing? LOL)

Once I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I immediately worried about what kind of mother I would be, how I would learn how to take care of her, how I would know what to do from Day One through Year 18 and beyond. All through this first year with her I have worried about everything, convinced that nothing I was doing was good enough and that she was an unhappy baby because of me. At the early doctor appointments I was terrified they would take her from me, deeming me unfit. I realized earlier today when I first started writing this post that one of my fears all along was that she would not love me. Why? Because I am not a good mother. Where does that come from? One of those messages that I hadn’t realized had stuck, but there it is, buried deep and believed by me, apparently, on some level: What kind of woman gives away her baby?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Current Event

I am so upset about the Amish school shootings. I truly don’t understand violence, especially premeditated violence on harmless, innocent beings. And the Amish community’s response of forgiveness is just astounding. I should probably learn something from that.