Adoption Aftermath

When we adopted Muppet my whole world changed. Not only did I become a mother, but all the feelings of anguish and pain caused by infertility suddenly went away. Well not totally away, I don’t think anyone who has gone through infertility doesn’t have at least a few scars, but overall she managed to cover all that hurt up. I no longer saw pregnant women on the street and felt a burning hate. I didn’t see a newborn and want to collapse into tears of longing. She became my world and the blinders she put up made me feel more normal than I had in a long time.

Eventually the blinders came off though. Not to say I’ve totally regressed, the sight of babies no longer pains me. All I see is their squishy little bodies and tiny features that fill me with memories of when my baby was that small and scrunchy. I love babies, I always have. There is something about being around a newborn that breathes life into me and now I am back to enjoying their presence in my world.

But pregnancy is a whole other story. It’s not the same as it was before. There is no hatred when I see round bellies or an announcement online. But there is a huge sense of sadness on my part. In my head this all makes sense. I don’t have a problem with babies because I had a baby. I got to experience the newborn snuggles and smell her delicious head. I got to cuddle her all day long and watch her grow with each passing day. So I don’t feel jealous of that anymore. Maybe a hope that I will get to do it again, but not jealousy.

I didn’t get the pregnancy. This is the one thing I still struggle with. I am SO grateful that I get to be Muppet’s Mama. J and I constantly ask ourselves how we got so lucky. She is everything we could have ever wanted in a child and more. She is without a doubt my child, regardless of the fact that I didn’t create her. But I still have issues with the fact that the first 9 months of her existence was spent with another. I didn’t feel her move in me or get to see any ultrasound pictures. That guts me.

Lately I’ve been having pregnancy dreams again. I haven’t had them in almost 2 years. But this week I’ve had two of them. Both of the dreams involved me being far enough along that I could feel the baby moving inside of me. I don’t know what it is about that simple thing that I crave so much, but I do believe that many take it for granted. In my mind it is so incredibly magical and I hate that I most likely will never get to experience that. Those dreams are so joyful in the moment, knowing that I have a healthy thriving baby within me. As happy as they are at the time though, I wish they’d stop. Because they feel like a kick to the stomach every time I wake and they are not real.

It might be weighing more on my mind now that Muppet is getting older too. I know many people who go through infertility and adoption decide that the one child (or pregnancy) is enough. They don’t try for anymore and raise an only child. I applaud those people. Truly. I think it takes amazing strength to make such a confident decision about your family. But I’ve never been able to reach the same conclusion. J and I both have many siblings so the thought of an only child is completely foreign to us. I honestly don’t know if I even know anybody who is an only child oddly enough. So for us it has never really been in our minds to not have a sibling for Muppet. We know we won’t do more than 2 adoptions. The cost alone makes that difficult. Add on the emotional baggage and I just know I don’t have it in me for more than 2. We want our children to be as close in age as possible, which is tricky with adoption as you don’t have a lot of control over the matter.

Most adoption agencies want you to wait till your first child is 1 before starting the process again. This is to encourage bonding and also to make sure that the adoption process ‘settles’ before starting another. Muppet turned one last month, yet I haven’t been able to convince myself to get going. I don’t know what is holding me back. Part of me is fearful that it will take over our lives and that Muppet won’t be getting what she needs from me. On the other hand I can’t fathom a situation where she wasn’t my number one priority. The mind works in a funny way.

The pregnancy dreams and jealousy don’t help. It only screws my mind up further and makes me hesitate more. I wish I was one of those women who seemed so confident after adoption. Every other adoptive mother I know seems to have it SO together when it comes to this stuff. I don’t hear any of them talk in a way that even hints that they are struggling in the same way that I am. It makes me wonder what is wrong with me. It also makes me feel ungrateful. I know how lucky I am. If I had to go through everything I went through before Muppet was born I would. Because it led me to her.

This whole thing leaves me in such an awkward spot. I’ve given myself a deadline, enjoy the rest of the year and the holidays with my amazing baby girl, the start getting our adoption stuff together and ready in January. I’m hoping that by doing this I can sort out the pregnancy issues / jealousy that is rolling around in my head. For any other adoptive moms out there – How did you completely grieve the loss of possible pregnancies? Are my feelings normal or is this something that you had already resolved by the time of your first adoption?

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12 Comments

Filed under adoption, BABIES!, Depression, Healing, Infertility, Miscarriage, Motherhood, Pregnancy

12 responses to “Adoption Aftermath

  1. Goldie

    I’m so glad you said this. I feel the same. I don’t have as much of a problem with sering babies as I do with seeing pregnant women.

    I can cuddle someones new born and be involved even for just a moment but I think pregnancy is a very personal event for a woman. The emtions and changes and not having as much control. Giving over your body to support and nourish life.

    I fully understand how you feel.xx

  2. Shelley

    I am not an adoptive mom but I think most any woman can understand that deep need. I never took the movement for granted during my pregnancy and it was easily my most favorite part of being pregnant. It is the magic you envision and I so want it for you. Maybe it’s somehow possible? I know you guys closed that door but hopefully you didn’t throw away the key.

  3. Cristy

    Oh Trisha. I wish I could be there to wrap my arms around you. You’re not ungrateful in any way for feeling this way. Pregnancy was a traumatizing experience and those scars are now hurting as you long to expand your family. It’s a shitty thing to experience.

    The other thing is I remember your last appointment that showed your tube is intact and healthy. I’m not suggesting anything other than I wonder if this knowledge is sparking the pregnancy dreams. That your subconscious is processing that knowledge with your desire for another child.

    Sending love and many more hugs.

  4. My story is similar… we used an egg donor andI def had to grieve. I went to a conselor who specialized in infertility. She explained that I had to grieve the loss of the idea of having biological children half me and half my husband. I think I am mostly past it. I still hurt a bit when people say something to the effect “they look nothing like you”. I have learned to say that they look like their big sis or my husband (whoever is not with me). Anyway, feelings of jealousy and grief are totally normal. We all have infertility scars, and like any scar they will be apparent – maybe not every day, but sometimes they show up when you least expext them to. Hope this helps!

  5. People tend to act their strongest around all but the ones with whom they feel the most comfortable. I would bet those adoptive moms struggle too. ((((HUGS))))

  6. I can’t envision trying to conceive again, but I don’t have it all together either. I have pregnancy dreams that throw me for a loop too – a couple of weeks ago I dreamt I was pregnant and went to the first ultrasound and saw twins with heartbeats. And finally figuring out that I might have endo opened the “what ifs” again too. I have a little pregnancy jealousy but what really gets me are the Facebook photos of people with their mini-me children and I just want to know what mine would have looked like. Good luck working through all this – January sounds like a good time to start again!

  7. I don’t know if you read my post from Thursday, but the subject was exactly this. Adoption does not cure infertility. Adoption does make you a mother, but it does not change the status of your fertility. I think a lot of people, including myself assume that once you adopt and become a mother, the feelings of IF disappear. There is a part of motherhood that you have not and may not experience and that is really sad. It’s normal to feel this. It does not make you less appreciative of what you have with Muppet, nor does it make you defective for feeling like this. I wish I could give you a hug. Move forward with the next decision for a sibling for Muppet at your own pace and don’t let the sense of “how I should” be handling it dictate.

  8. Karaleen

    I am an adoptive mother….but I did carry and give birth to my adopted child. We adopted embryos. You take a risk that it won’t work, but it is 1/3 the cost of adoption and you get to experience pregnancy. Have you considered this as an option? If you have any questions…just email me. There are several optionsin this area. kd

    • Sadly I don’t think this is a viable option for us although I wish it was. My eggs are healthy as is my husbands sperm, but for some reason I’m unable to carry. I don’t know if it is a risk that we are willing to take. That is amazing for you though!

  9. Oh Trisha, this resonates with me sooooo much. As we just recently announced our intentions to pursue domestic infant adoption, I’ve had a lot of comments along the lines of “I’m so glad this infertility journey is coming to an end”. I have no idea how I’m supposed to respond to that because it feels like the adoption is completely separate from infertility in a lot of ways. Yes, if we successfully adopt, I will have a child and that is HUGE, but that is not all that infertility has taken away from me. The pregnancy is really 90% of the reason we went for infertility treatments in the first place. The biological connection wasn’t my goal, the feeling of my baby kicking inside was. I’m pretty sure we’ll attempt fertility treatments again as some point, but no matter what, moving forward with adoption causes a sense of mourning, a reckoning of sorts with the idea that I may never carry a child. I think all of this is VERY normal Trisha and I’m so glad you shared this. I don’t feel quite so crazy when I think to myself, “adoption doesn’t solve my infertility”. Love to you!

  10. I can’t fully relate having gone through embryo adoption rather than domestic infant adoption, but I know several moms who can. I hate to read: “Every other adoptive mother I know seems to have it SO together when it comes to this stuff.” It must feel so isolating, when I am sure these are normal feelings. Here is a post from one mom that you may like reading: http://twondra.blogspot.com/2014/03/i-have-confession.html

    My other thought is that this discontentment and such is just God’s way of pushing you forward towards the children He has planned for you. It’s not easy though.

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