Question: How many Advil PM’s does it take to knock me out?
Answer: More than I took, apparently.
I can’t sleep. Mind is racing. I’m so afraid that I can’t have children. I’m afraid of adoption. I don’t even feel comfortable writing that, but it’s the truth. I know what everyone says. I’ve been obsessed with the adoption blogs. But to me, right now at this very moment, it’s not the same. An adopted child isn’t the same as my biological child. It’s narcissistic. You have an innate drive to recreate yourself – to see yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, in another human being. When we told Ms Linda, one of her first excited utterances was “there’s going to be a little bit of me in that baby!” Pure narcissism. Most people don’t actually say it aloud, but it’s there inherently. It requires mental discipline and continuing conditioning to NOT make your child into a mini version of yourself.
The truth: I want to see myself in my child. I want to see a product of Bobby and me together – throw all of our characteristics in a pot, stir, and see what comes out. I want to be able to say “He’s just like his daddy” or “Isn’t she brilliant? She takes after me.” I want to feel that pride – biological pride – that I created half of the magnificent creature that I’m sure our child would be.
I want to be pregnant. I want to feel that excitement, that “presence” that I had for only 4 days. I want to read the books and know how my baby is developing. I want to have a timeline on my blog that tracks how many more days until our baby arrives. I want to have the anticipation and thrill of finding out whether we’re having a little boy or girl. I want to paint and decorate the nursery, register for all that baby stuff, shop for the perfect bedding and the car seat with the highest safety ratings. I want to feel the kicks and the hiccups and the rolls – and when enough time has gone by, I want to be able to use that fetal monitor that I bought Jennifer long ago and listen to the little heartbeat while Bobby and I are lying in bed watching tv and talking about the future. I want to have the birth experience and all that goes with it – the huge belly and the swollen ankles and all the crap that takes to get the baby here, but it’s all worth it when you meet your child for the very first time. I want to see Bobby’s face when he holds his little boy or girl for the first time, and I want to feel that sense of accomplishment that I DID that! I actually pushed that very tiny human out of my uterus! I want to bring our baby through the front door for the first time, and know that he’s ours – that we’re responsible for protecting and caring for and loving him, and making him into the person that he’ll become.
I’ve been reading adoption blogs. I’m in awe of and have an incredible amount of respect for the women whose blogs I’ve been reading. Women who have gone through months and sometimes years of fertility treatments, and come to terms with their lives as they are. Some are accepting that it’s just the two of them. Some are adopting. And the adoption process is amazing and beautiful and horrible and necessary and painful all at once. There are couples who are like me and Bobby, who want a child. Who’ve decorated a nursery and bought outfits and who are anxiously, hopefully, but cautiously waiting to have the right child bestowed upon them. There are those who have their birth mothers back out at the last minute. There are those who are open to all races, all genders, all drug use backgrounds. There are those that choose to go with the international option, and are stuck in the long, painful process, hoping the laws don’t thwart their hopes to finally have a child. These are brave people, strong people – some feel that adoption is their last and only option. But most feel that they were meant for the adoption process. That the endless fertility treatments and money spent was a journey that they needed to take to be ready emotionally to adopt.
It feels so…. unnatural. That’s a horrible, hurtful word. But I can’t comprehend or wrap my head around what I see other couples doing so willingly, gladly, openly. Here I am, the girl who says that she’s all tolerant and open and nonjudgmental. Yet I can’t see myself raising a child of another race or culture. I’m so disappointed in myself. Somehow, though, I wonder if all those beautiful, open couples that I’ve found online were where I am a year or two or five ago.
The US’s adoption process is what makes many couples turn to international adoption. M&T are prime examples – they never considered domestic adoption once they realized that “open” adoptions are pretty much the only option these days, unless the birth parents choose a “closed” adoption, which is rare. “Open” adoption (as defined on one of the many blogs I’ve been stalking) is “a continuum that can be anywhere from the birth parents choosing the adoptive parents, to face to face meetings, to photo and letter correspondence throughout life, to regular visits and an integration of two families.” There are some states that allow the birth parents to sign the relinquishment paperwork on the day of birth. Other states allow a 4 months waiting period, for the birth parents to reconsider. How heartbreaking it would be to have your child taken away after 4 months…
And there’s the issue of discrimination. Whereas pregnancy is a revered state in our society, infertility is a taboo subject on many levels. I know that even after one miscarriage, I feel that I’ve somehow failed myself, Bobby, and our families as a woman. To be “infertile” (ugh, I’m beginning to detest that label and I’ve only just begun to use it) carries a stigma, that you are deficient, reproductively handicapped, and someone to be pitied. Adoption isn’t fully recognized by our society – many companies don’t give maternity/paternity leave for adoption, there’s a continuous underlying discrimination against adoptive parents. Do they have baby showers? Do they register? Is it really THEIR baby?
And my family. Would they accept an adopted child as a true member of the family? Would our adopted child ever have the familial “ranking” that Maggie has? Would we become part of that “club” … the torch-carrying, chip-on-shoulder-bearing, exclusive club that, if given the choice, almost none of them would have voluntarily been a member of?
There’s just so much to think about. I know that I’m jumping the gun – one miscarriage does not an infertile make. And our appt with Dr RE on Monday is still pending…. who knows, he might have some magic little wonder-pill that will make all these thoughts a thing of the past.
But right now, this moment, it’s after 2am and I’ve wild awake and still thinking.