Monday, July 25, 2016

Hard Words to Say

Trigger warning: This post deals with post placement pregnancy.....

For the past few months, I find myself to be in familiar territory. Yet at the same time, very new territory. Instead of being cryptic about it like I have been with everyone lately, I’ll just say it – I’m pregnant. These past 12 weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me.

                Despite the fact that this pregnancy was “planned”, and that I am now married, because of the situation I was in just 2 years ago when my son was born, it feels somehow like I’m doing the wrong thing by being pregnant. It has been so confusing for me dealing with all of these emotions. I feel like I’m betraying my son, I feel like I don’t really deserve to parent this baby, and I’m terrified that something is going to happen to take this baby away from me. Some days I feel so scared to connect with this baby because my connection with my birth son was so immediate and so fierce and that has led me to become vulnerable to a lot of hurt and pain. This baby is no more or less wanted than my birth son was, and will be no more or less loved. But I’m not going to lie, it’s almost scarier this time.

                Going to doctor appointments is scarier. Now I have to answer questions like “is this your first child?” or “and how is your other child, is he healthy?” Well, I’d assume so, haven’t heard otherwise! Telling my family was horrifying in a different way this time too. When I first told my parents, I had to say it all very quickly in one sentence so they wouldn’t ask questions that I didn’t want to hear. It came out something like “we’re pregnant but it was planned so don’t worry and this needs to be a good thing so I need you to be happy about it”. I think I was more nervous telling them this time than I was last time (granted, last time I did tell them in an email). Facing the public is scarier. People constantly assume that this is my first pregnancy. They like to give me advice on what to expect, and tell me things like that my baby probably won’t be too big because I’m very small. Oh really? Because my son was 8lbs 12oz, so I’d say that’s pretty big! But I don’t say that. I don’t correct them. It hurts too badly to go down that road. I hate the fact that I'm terrified of telling people because I'm afraid of their reaction.

                Around week 6 or so, the baby is the size of a lentil. During that week, I sent my husband a picture of some lentil soup and told him how I really wanted to eat it, but told him I couldn’t do it because it felt like cannibalism. I was half kidding, but waited to eat the soup. Ever since then, we call the baby The Lentil. I hope that loving the Lentil won’t make my birth son feel betrayed in the future. I know how very much and how very strongly I loved my birth son from the very beginning. I’m almost scared that I won’t be able to love the Lentil enough. I have missed my birth son more in these last 12 weeks than I expected to, and there have been a lot of emotions come up for me that I didn’t anticipate.

                I hate the fact that whether a pregnancy is planned or not matters, but it does seem to matter to other people. Yes, my husband and I planned to have this Lentil (although we did think it would take us a little bit longer than…immediately), and no, my birth son was not planned. But you know what? Both of my babies were wanted. And both of my babies are loved. Mom, birth mom, step mom, all of my titles aside. I will always love all of my children more than they can possibly understand, something my own mom used to tell me, and now I do understand. I hope they know that. I hope I will always be a positive person in their lives, someone they can look up to. I may not have it all together, nobody really does. But what I do have is an endless supply of love. And hugs to give. Just ask my husband. I’m sure it drives him crazy sometimes.

Photo Credit

Friday, July 8, 2016

You are Entitled to Your Feelings

Two years post placement, I still find myself suprised when I'm faced with certain triggers and get upset by it. I try to put on a strong face for my family and friends and act like I'm not affected by things or act like certain situations don't upset me when they do. 

 I think a lot of us do this. We act like we’re doing okay. We try to stay strong and we put on a brave face. I hope that we all feel safe enough in our lives and within our support systems to be real with ourselves and with the people close to us. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to feel sad if we see something that reminds us of our birth children, when we were pregnant with them, or any other memory or trigger that we have. It’s okay to feel it and it’s okay to express it.

                Adoption is a huge part of my life and hiding how I feel on my sad days doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m not being “noble” by swallowing my emotions. Yesterday was an unexpectedly difficult day for me. I was triggered by something that I didn’t expect to be and my negative emotions took me by surprise. But I know I didn’t handle the situation right. What I should have done was talked to my husband about what I was thinking and feeling and just talked it out with him so he could understand what I was going through at the moment. But that isn’t what I did. Instead, I tried to “get over it”. I tried to swallow my emotions and act like it wasn’t a problem. But it was a problem, and because I ignored it, it got bigger and bigger. I ended up redirecting my emotions in the wrong way and picked a fight with my husband over him going to the dentist. It was ridiculous and unnecessary, and could have been prevented by me being honest in the first place. Of course shortly after that, I realized that I was being ridiculous and was honest with him about what was going on and what I was feeling.

                This next season in my life is going to be filled with triggers that will probably make me think of my birthson more and I know I will be more challenged by unexpected hard days than I have been recently. I hope that you know that it’s okay, and necessary, to feel what you need to feel and be open and honest with yourself and those around you. You deserve it. You deserve your good days and you deserve to be able to express yourself on your bad days. Don’t feel guilty for having either of those days. Whether you are feeling happy or sad or anything at all in between, I hope you never feel alone.

                Two years post placement, I still find myself to be so grateful for the fact that good days will always follow the bad days.