Before we adopted Gabriel, my sister told me a story about a friend of hers who had adopted two children after being diagnosed with infertility and who then found herself quite unexpectedly pregnant and rather indignant and irritated about the situation.  I was flabbergasted to think that anyone who had ever struggled with infertility would ever be disappointed to learn that they were pregnant and secretly hoped that maybe someday I would be “one of those” women that we hear about all the time—you know, the ones who get pregnant as soon as they adopt?

A few months ago, soon after orientation, my body thought it would be fun to suddenly have a two week delay when it had always been pretty predictable to within a day or two of my four week cycle.  I was astounded at the wild range of emotions that bombarded me over those two weeks of “what if?”.

First of all, there was a flashback to my days of infertility, but not just that fluttery joyful hope at the prospect that I might be pregnant, but instead that sinking feeling that the plans that we’d so carefully laid might be tossed out the window and my life’s rough draft once again crumpled up and started over.

Then there was a sense of feeling as though, if I were pregnant, I’d be betraying all of the people who’d ever commiserated with me about infertility, that I’d become one of THEM (the people who gave birth to children after adopting) and perpetuate that ridiculous old wives’ tale that we’re all told by so many strangers that we’ll “get pregnant as soon as we adopt.”
Then there was the daydreaming about what creative method we could use to reveal the big news to friends and family.

Then I worried that one of my kids would think I was giving the other preferential treatment solely because of the manner in which they joined our family.  And I worried that I actually WOULD treat my kids differently.

Then I thought about how nice it would be to actually have a happy hospital stay right here, close to home, where friends and family could come visit us and admire the new baby.

I have to confess that there was also a teeny part of my brain that pouted that all the weight I’d lost over the last two years would pile back on and all this work would have been for nothing (so petty, I KNOW!).

Somehow, during that time, I also realized how ridiculous it is for me to still be angry at women who get pregnant easily and then gripe about the accompanying annoyances and inconveniences.

Suddenly, and with great clarity, I understood the reaction my sister’s friend had had to the news of her unexpected pregnancy.  And, when I finally did get my period, I experienced a huge sense of relief that our plans were still on track and that I didn’t have to worry about all of the things I mentioned above.  I never thought I would feel that particular sense of relief ever again in my life.  In an odd way, it felt like a gift

And then I felt guilty for my reaction because it meant that I was back to relying on adoption—a process fraught with sacrifice and emotional pain, especially for birthparents—to build our family.  Was it even okay for me to be thankful that I wasn’t pregnant when it meant that someone would have to grieve in order for our family to grow?   Oh the complicated emotions of this life story we’re writing each day…

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Heidi on 11.04.13 at 4:45 pm

Thank you for your insightful honesty. I sometimes felt, and still do feel, emotional whiplash about all things infertility and adoption. Joy to anger. Guilt to pride. Bitterness to gratitude. So it is!

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