The Never-Been-Pregnant Mom
Often I think about how I would seriously crush it at a game of "Never-Have-I-Ever" in a room full of moms... Let's start with an easy one - "Never have I ever given birth" or how about "Never have I ever breastfed"? Or maybe "Never have I ever seen a heartbeat on an ultrasound, or a had a gender reveal party, or pumped and dumped, or felt a baby kick inside me, or made a birthing plan..." I could go on, but you get the idea. There are a lot of aspects of motherhood that, as someone who came to be a mom through adoption, I have never experienced.
When I sat through conversations about breastfeeding or birthing stories before, it was always a little difficult for me knowing that I wanted so badly to be a mom and to be able to join in, but those conversations didn't come up all that often. I was working at an advertising agency surrounded by people who were primarily all younger than me, so the topic of babies didn't come up very often. Plus I always looked forward to being able to participate in those conversations once I became a mom. Now - I am a mom, so I find myself at story time and play group and moms group, and around moms pretty much ALL the time. So as you can imagine those conversations about morning sickness, latching, and post-partum come up a whole lot more than they did at the office.
It's hard not to feel a little bit like an outsider when the conversation inevitably turns to one of those topics in which I can't really relate, and then I sometimes feel guilty for feeling that way because I AM a mom, and I am SO thankful for that. It has taken me a while to sort through these feelings - desiring to be a mother, wanting to experience being pregnant, wanting to relate to my mom friends, then becoming a mom, and ultimately realizing that becoming a mom doesn't automatically resolve the heartache of infertility.
Sometimes you wonder why you go through things in life, and for me, infertility is one of those things. I sometimes question why God would give me the desire not only be a mom, but also to experience all that goes along with pregnancy and giving birth, if that might not be part of His plan for me.
Then it hit me one day as I was sitting through another conversation about breastfeeding that I couldn't relate to - one day my daughters would be sitting through a similar conversation - not about breastfeeding, but about how our neighbor has their dad's eyes or her friend has her mom's singing talent, and they are going to feel the same way I was feeling right then - feeling a little on the outside, like they couldn't relate. And that - that right there made me realize that by struggling with infertility and the feelings of loss it rises up in me, I had a small look into what my daughters may wrestle with as they grow up in an adoptive family - a family where they may not look like their parents or share the same genetic traits as them.
I can't begin to understand the complexities of the feelings they may experience as they grow up, but I can say that I am actually thankful for the awkwardness I feel when someone starts weighing the pros and cons of having an epidural vs. natural birth, and I have nothing to add - if it means I can relate a little bit better to my daughters as they grow up trying to figure out where exactly they fit in... Because frankly, I sometimes feel that way too!
It was a good reminder for me that God uses the difficulties and heartache we go through, not only to help us grow and lean into Him, but also to allow us to relate to others and meet them right where they are.
Lastly, I feel like I need to say this to clarify - my feelings of loss from battling infertility in no way diminish my love for my daughters, just like the feelings of loss they may experience as a result of their adoption story will in no way diminish their love for me as their mom. It's a [both/and] situation - you can both feel grief/loss AND gratitude/joy at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive - it's not an [either/or] situation... More on that topic later!
Finally to circle back to that game of Never-Have-I-Ever, let me send you off with this...
Thanks for reading!