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recovery stages

Monday, July 23, 2007

I made it.
I survived my first baby shower in 15 years.
For the last decade and a half you couldn't drag me anywhere near a baby shower.
I would come up with any excuse I could to avoid going.
Some genuine.
Some creative.
Some inspired.
Honestly, I didn't even want to have a shower when we brought our children home from Russia. I thought it would be full of too many painful memories.
So, when I got the invitation a few weeks ago, my first thought was to throw the little blue bootied paper away.
But then I starting thinking...
Maybe it was time to find out if I had gotten over any of the bitterness of infertility.
So Saturday morning, Punky and I did what I had put off for a long time.
We went to a baby shower.
And we not only endured it - we helped set up the decorations, serve the brunch and clean up afterwards.
And I can honestly say, it wasn't so bad.
Not once did I feel that gut twisting envy I had felt for so many years.
Not once did I secretly wish the mother-to-be would gain 500 pounds so I could feel less guilty about my non-pregnancy-related expanding waistline.
Not once did I make sarcastic comments to myself about the silly pregnancy-related games or silently make fun of how everyone ooohed and aaaaahed at even the tackiest of presents.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want to make these things a weekly event...or even a yearly one...but for one morning I was able to set aside all of my selfish, jealous, snarky emotions and feel genuine happiness for another couple.
I found myself more jealous of the gifts she received than the way she planned her family.
That's progress.
I'm not quite sure what made the difference.
Maybe time.
Maybe maturity.
Maybe the knowledge that my children are way smarter, more talented and more beautiful than theirs could ever be! :)
(Evil...I know! ;)
Maybe it's that this woman and the others in our church have embraced our children and adoptions plans with genuine love and enthusiasm.
Or maybe it was the fact that since my family is just about complete, and we're almost done with the building stage, the sting is starting to wear off.
Maybe it was a little of all of the above. I don't know.
What I have figured out is that my feelings have absolutely nothing to do with biology.
As I've said before Q-ball, Punky, JacJac and Maddie are MY kids.
They're not my adopted kids.
They're my children.
There's never been a question.
There's never been a distinction between blood and water.
So it's always confused me as to why I would still be bothered by birth announcements, maternity shops and ultrasound pictures.
I think it has more to do with the experience of pregnancy, than the biology of it.
The only thing I regret about adopting, is that I wasn't able to be there with my children from the moment they were born.
I don't begrudge their biological parents anything.
I embrace their heritage.
I just wish they hadn't had to spend the first year or two of their lives in the orphanage.
That's it.
I wish I could have been there.
I guess that's why it still bothers me to hear couples talk about how they'll get married, wait a couple of years and then have a family. The audacity floors me. To just assume - to take for granted - that you'll be able to plan your family planning down to the month, throws the years of infertility right back into my face.
I imagine it will take me a little bit longer to get over that jealous twang.
That's okay.
Every illness, every injury, every traumatic event in our lives requires us to go through a recovery stage.
A coming to terms.
A rebuilding of strength.
A healing process.
Infertility is no different.
And the good news is, I think I'm finally starting to recover.

8 salty messages:

Old DAN AND Little ANN July 24, 2007 at 2:14 AM  

I think that was very fairly put. Not only that but I totally agree with you. Once I became pregnant time 1 and 2 I assumed 9 months later and presto chango - mommyhood. I don't thinkI even knew miscarriages happened. Stillbirths yes but not miscarriages. I just assumed I'd be Ms Furtile Myrtle like my mom and her sisters whom I take after so much. HA! BUT I came to the same conclusion. Children are not a given but a gift. However they arrive.

Starfish July 24, 2007 at 8:26 AM  

I don't think that sting ever totally goes away. To me it's just the unfairness of it all, even though I can't imagine loving any other kid than my adopted one. Good for you for being able to walk into that room.

Gail,  July 24, 2007 at 9:22 AM  

That was very well put and I am proud of you for putting it to words and going to the shower.

3D July 24, 2007 at 11:02 AM  

I am so impressed by your candor and honesty. It is a huge step and I am happy that you felt good enough to make it.

Keep smilin!

Rachael July 24, 2007 at 1:02 PM  

Children are a gift, no matter how they arrive.

Good for you being able to take this big step. Maybe this time around you might really enjoy a shower for Maddie?

KrazyMom July 24, 2007 at 1:22 PM  

It is so refreshing to hear your honesty on this! I still have a hard time (and often skip out with made up excuses) attending baby showers. I lost my two babies four and five years ago and often wonder...will I ever be able to get over this feeling of great pain and jealousy? We have just had two young, unmarried girls in our family announce they are pregnant...and rather than be happy for either of them...I am mad and jealous! How terrible does that sound! I am proud of you giving it a try this time, maybe you can inspire me!

Jenni July 24, 2007 at 5:20 PM  

I completely appreciate your honesty in this post, and can especially relate to the comment about how couples getting married think that everything will just go as planned with regards to starting a family. I also admit to feeling a bit of a sting when my best friend got pregnant twice, both times on her first attempt at trying for a baby. Becoming a mom is so easy for some and so hard for others, and it seems incredibly unfair. But in the end, if there was no such thing as infertility and miscarriage, we would not have the kids we have now. Kind of a twisted road to motherhood, but there it is.

Good for you for not only going to the shower, but for helping out with it so much too. Well done!

shelly f.,  July 27, 2007 at 12:19 PM  

You know, I totally understand. My sister is starting to plan a baby shower for me. When she told me she was planning it, I momentarily got light-headed... I HATE showers! I had one when our trio came home from Ukraine, but it was more of a "gift card" thing, and obviously I didn't have the booties, blankets and belly to really smack of "Baby Shower."

I've never intentionally dodged a baby shower, but I have cringed at every last one of them - two of which I actually threw. (Uff da). It has been much easier since our kids came home, but well, you know...

I too grieve the loss of the birth experiences of my adopted kids. They are MY kids, but I didn't get to give them life. That's ok, and a miracle to think about how we've come together as a family, but showers, I agree, are a time I am obviously reminded of that "loss" of being pregnant with them, or giving birth to them, or nursing them, or whatever.

This whole pregnancy of Little Fish has been a time of really understanding the depth of what I missed out on with my first three. Wouldn't change they way things are with our first three, but...

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