Currently I am sitting at a sandwich shop with eleven other women. I’m typing on a laptop. They are whittling away with knitting needles and crochet hooks. This is my once-a-month knitting group. Every second Thursday of the month we get together, knit, crochet, and talk to each other on just about every single subject under the sun. I've had conversations about cheese, alpacas, politics, religion, Star Wars, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, and shopping for yarn while hanging out with these ladies. About half of them know about my son. The others have probably just never been here when I've told one of them about it. There are regular members of the group. But there are others who come and go from month to month. As I was walking into the sandwich shop tonight, I thought about how knitting has played a major part in my life after placing my son for adoption.
For the last two and half months of my pregnancy, I was unemployed and living in my parents’ house. Once you’re unemployed and find yourself mostly sitting around the house, you realize that 24 hours is actually a very very long time. I spent a good bit of my time on Netflix. My mother did get me to make a pair of blankets with her that we gave to my son’s adoptive parents when he was born. But mostly I didn't want to do anything.
After my son was born, I was once again spending much time on Netflix and pain killers (I had to have a C-section in the end). But as happens, the pain killers had to be put down and now the hours I had spent in a narcotic haze had to be filled with something. So I turned to knitting. My mother taught me how to knit and crochet when I was young. To this day I am comfortable with either a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles in my hands. My mother had given up knitting due to developing arthritis in her hands. But she was happy to buy me a pair of needles and some yarn. After a few days of watching me knitting, she started digging through her old stash and pulling out old needles and projects. We started searching through patterns. That which I picked up to try to fill the time and maintain my sanity, was starting to repair my connection to my mother that had been damaged over the past few months.
We found out about a nearby knitting group that met at a coffee shop every Saturday. The first time we showed up, we were far too early. But after an hour of waiting we found out the correct starting time of the group and we began going every week. We got to know the people who were regulars. We shared patterns and talked about life in between the stitched that we were working onto our needles and hooks. Slowly I began to trust them and many of them know about my son now. The group does still exist, although it meets at a different coffee shop now. I don’t live in the town anymore, but I do still drop in when I visit my parents to see them and talking about my current projects and my life. I am forever grateful to that group because they provided a temporary escape from my parents’ house. For a couple hours, I could get away from all that had happened in the last few months and just go knit without people asking me if I was okay or watching me like a hawk. I felt like a human again there.
When I moved, I found my life was in a kind of upheaval yet again. I was now living closer to my son and was trying to carve out a life and come to a kind of balance. So I went looking for a knitting group again and found one. Over time they learned about my son and my life and have been accepting and loving to me. In fact, four of the women in the group are in the picture at the top of this post. They graciously allowed me to take their picture tonight. Thanks again ladies!! You are wonderful people!
In the months after placing my son for adoption, I needed something normal. I needed something that had been untouched by all that I had gone through in the last few months. Knitting was one of the things that kept me sane. It calmed my nerves, ordered my brain, and gave me a sense of accomplishment with every project that I completed. What are some of the things that you did to bring normalcy back to your life after you placed your child for adoption? I’d love to hear about anything you guys have to say, be it wildly creative or as simple as just taking a walk every evening.
Photo Credit: Elsa