Nesting: Not pregnant but expecting

clean-instinctI’ve been thinking more and more about the baby’s arrival lately and what we need to do to prepare. The fact that we could have a baby here sometime in the next several months hit me on Saturday morning after breakfast. Fortunately, it was rainy, gray and totally blah outside, because all I wanted to do was organize, clean, organize, and clean some more.

If you know me, you know this urge doesn’t strike me very often, if ever. I mean, our house is clean, but I don’t spend all weekend cleaning. And I’ve never been a particularly organized person (or even a mildly organized one if truth be told). My closet has never been arranged by color. My pots and pans don’t always get put back in the same place. We still have unpacked boxes in the storage closet. Typically, I’d rather be hiking or running or doing something outside than spending an entire weekend refolding clothes and finding a better way to place things in a cupboard. But that is ALL I wanted to do this weekend.

“What is happening to me?” I asked Jamie when I finally sat down after ten hours of organizational mayhem. He laughed. “Um, I think you’re nesting,” he said. “Majorly.”

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Getting over it: on acceptance and adoption

A part of me has always known that I would not have a biological child. I’ve just always had a feeling that it would not be that way for me. It used to break my heart and I spent so much time worrying about it. Don’t get me wrong: it didn’t consume me entirely–I enjoy my life very much, particularly the last few years–but I also lived with a dull, ever-present heartache for a long time. Psychologists say the emotional pain of infertility is similar to receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. There have been moments when I absolutely believe that. Not being able to start a family when everyone around you is doing so is absolutely, end-of-the-world devastating.

Summer-s-Stages-of-Grief-the-oc-10182118-333-500Looking back now, I can see that I went through all five stages of grief (illustrated here by that girl from the O.C.): 1. Denial: It’s no big deal. I need to “just relax” about it. If I try this supplement or that herb or stand on my head for twenty minutes or whatever, it will happen. 2. Anger: I can’t take seeing another pregnant woman or newborn! Why can everyone get pregnant but me?! Screw you, body! Up yours, world! 3. Bargaining/pleading: Please, please, I will do anything. I will give all my clothes to charity, volunteer at the soup kitchen every night, help old ladies cross the street, anything. 4. Depression: Crying. Crying. More crying. Sappy chick flicks. Not wanting to get out of bed. Avoiding life in general.

I cycled through numbers 1-4, on and off at varying intensities, for several years. But then like a ray of sunshine… the stage I had been waiting for finally appeared, # 5. Acceptance: I’m not going to have a biological child. And that’s OK. Get me off this crazy train, please.

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The other side of the story

With all of our initial paperwork, home study and profile signed, sealed and delivered, we have nothing to do now but wait. And with waiting, comes a lot of time to think. Unlike a pregnancy, we’re not sure what is going to happen next–or when. But if the typical timeline our agency advised us of rings true, somewhere out there the birthmother who will eventually choose us to parent her child may be finding out she’s pregnant soon. This thought conjures up mixed emotions in me.

At first, I only thought about it from our perspective. So, of course, it is exciting–our baby may actually exist as I write this! That’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to say, and it makes Jamie and I so happy to think that in 9 months or less, we could be bringing home our baby.

But this adoption is not just about us and our feelings. There’s another side to the story. Unfortunately, the discovery that our birthmother is pregnant is (most likely) not going to be a happy or positive event for her. In fact, it’s probably going to be terrifying and met with regret, shame, and fear. I can’t help but feel for her and the confusion and pain she is, or will be, feeling in the months ahead. What will be an extremely joyful event for Jamie and I is going to be the most difficult thing she may ever go through. And I can’t help but also feel sadness for our unborn baby, whose life at first will not be welcomed or celebrated by the woman carrying him (or her)adoption-reality.

So, alongside our joy there is also sorrow at the thought of the heartache that will be endured by our birthmother and–who knows–maybe at some primal level, by our baby too. There is nothing I can do but hope she, whoever she is and wherever she may be, finds comfort. I hope she has someone to talk to, someone who will be there for her with a shoulder to cry on and an encouraging word. I hope she does not have to go through this alone and that she finds peace by choosing adoption. I wish I could be a friend to her; to reassure her that her child will be loved and cherished and cared for always and that she’s making the right choice.

I think–I hope–I will eventually get a chance to be that friend to her. But for now all I can do is wait, keep her in my thoughts, and hope that our baby will somehow know that while his biological mother may not be ready for him, his adoptive mother is. And that I have loved and wanted him from the very beginning.