Zombie Blogging Post Adoption
March 28, 2016
In honor of Easter I thought the blog could use some resurrecting. So, welcome back. This is the Zombie version of Fox In The Henhouse. 😉 I always said I didn’t want to write an adoption blog. So I didn’t. I’m unsure whether I will continue to blog in this space – or at all. But today I’ve got something to say. And I’m hungry. #brainz #nom
I’ve been “parenting” now for a hot minute. We have a daughter now – or almost. It’s not quite legal yet. But I’ve been hanging out with this kid for a few months now and I definitely consider her my kid. I use “parenting” with quotation marks because there’s not a lot of advanced thinking needed to care for a new baby. Hungry? Feed her. Wet/Poopy? Change the diaper. Crying? Hold, bounce, offer binky, sing. There’s not much more to it than that right now. At this point she is training US, not the other way around.
Given that, I feel a little weird chiming in about PAIL (Parenting After Infertility and/or Loss). Also, the wee kit came quite early and we’re not really allowed to take her out much. So I have yet to experience the torrent of inevitable questions and comments from those assuming I birthed her. But they have already happened on our few outings.
On hearing that she was born 14 weeks early (and that’s she doing great)…”But how are YOU doing?”
Me, I’m fine. I didn’t birth her. I am not recovering physically. Or emotionally. I am not suffering any guilt for my body failing me by giving birth early (not that you should, I just hear that lots of Moms do). In fact, if anything, it makes me feel a bit better that I didn’t birth her because surely my body would’ve wreaked far worse havoc on her. I think I’ve proven that. More than once.
This made our time in the NICU quite different as well. Despite having spent a good 6 weeks in the NICU with her I don’t identify with most NICU parents either. By the time I met her, she was known as the Rockstar of the NICU and mostly out of danger. So I didn’t experience the fear (much) or guilt that most NICU Moms seem to experience. So this whole preemie/NICU Mom bonding experience isn’t gonna work well for me. And that’s fine. But the topic is gonna come up. A lot. So my parenting experience will continue to be different from most of the other mothers at the playground. [Someone suggested that infertility would not color your parenting experience long term.]
But that’s not what I’m here to write about.
So what am I here to write about? [Just get to the point, Fox.] A topic of much discussion on the Twitters lately. Does the pain of infertility go away once you become a parent?
Again, I’ve been “parenting” for a hot minute so if I were you, I’d take anything I say with a big fat grain of salt. Preferably gourmet sea salt if you’ve got it. [Seriously, can someone bring me dinner?]
The answer to this question may lie in your personal experience. This is not about the Pain Olympics (i.e who had it worse) but the fact is, the more you’ve been through on your quest to acquire a tiny human, the deeper your scars may be, and the harder they may be to overcome. Or maybe you are just resilient as hell (good for you!).
If you are in that camp of feeling super-awesome-great-I’m-completely-over-my-infertility then I applaud you. Really. No sarcasm, I mean that sincerely. But please don’t look down on others or dismiss their feelings because their experience is different. Please don’t assume that your experience is the same, or even similar, as everyone else’s.
This may not be the best analogy but I think it works. If you served in the armed forces but never saw combat, would you expect to feel the same as those who were in combat because you both served? Sure, you’re both vets and worthy of the title and respect that comes with it. But only one of you likely has PTSD. A lot of us in the infertility community have experienced at least some level of PTSD. And that makes things a little more complicated. Not better or worse, just more…complex. It makes it more likely that we will carry this scar with us longer. Or forever. And that is totally OK. And if you don’t feel like the Infertile label works for you anymore that’s great. But please don’t continue being a voice of the infertility community if you no longer identify as such.
For my part…I do feel better. I had my first birthday in a looong time recently where I DIDN’T feel absolutely shitty. I felt pretty damn spectacular holding my wee one. That’s what parenthood does for infertility – it takes away that horrible pang of Will I EVER be a parent? But that’s all it does for many of us. I still have the emotional scars. I still have the physical scars from 3 surgeries. I’m still missing a few organs. [Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing them, Bob.] I still live with a chronic illness. Parenthood can’t take away any of that. I still wonder what our bio kid would’ve looked like. Adoption doesn’t make that go away either. No matter how adorable my kid is (she is super adorable and I couldn’t love her more).
In the future, we will be faced with whether or not to go through all this all over again if we want another child. Because infertility robbed us of the choice to just have however many kids we want. Again, parenthood doesn’t solve that. Having one child (or several at once) may, or may not, make your family feel complete. If it doesn’t, you may choose to not go through it all again for more kids even if you desperately want them. And that’s one more loss to grieve. Or maybe you are fortunate enough – both emotionally and financially – to do it again. That also comes with a few pitfalls and trapdoors and potential heartache. Being a parent doesn’t prevent any of that.
I guess, in short, I view this all as a process. I personally don’t think it ends. Certainly it won’t for me. It is a grieving process – it may get better over time (and generally does) but it will also suck monumentally at random moments along the way. Usually when you least expect it. That’s how it works for my grief over losing Pops.
So yeah, my kid makes me feel awesome. Even when she’s screaming her damn head off. Well, I feel horrible for her when she does that but I feel awesome that I’m the one who gets to try and soothe her. I also feel awesome when I get to listen to Right Guy sing to her to calm her down, like he’s doing right now. But she doesn’t heal my scars. She definitely doesn’t grow me new organs. And she doesn’t make my health magically better.
So yeah, it gets better. But it still also sucks. Humans are complicated like that.