Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's okay........

When Georgia was about a month old I got a Facebook message from a friend out of the blue who I hadn't talked to in person in a very long time.......and really, we'd never been super close friends........given more time I'm sure it would've happened though.  She's pretty awesome.  She used to live in my town, she went to college with my husband and they were pretty good friends, and I did happen to star in a home-made version of the Real World with her that a group of us made one late, late, late night when we were about twenty.  It. Was. Awesome.

I assure you.
But......not the point here.

Her message to me was one I'll never forget.  It was an amazing gift to a bleary eyed new mom who had struggled so long to have a child and had finally gotten one.  An amazing one.  A little girl that was created to be my daughter.  And one that brought with her the most incredible blessing in the form of an open adoption; an added bonus to how phenomenal she was all on her own.

And I 200% believed all of those things to my core.  I loved my little girl like crazy.  I was immediately obsessed with her.

But sometimes, in those first few months when I was exhausted, cranky, my usually clutter free house was a disaster, and I watched my husband get to go to work everyday I secretly wondered what we had done.

This friend's message told me, "It's okay.  It's okay to feel baffled at your new life.  Not baffled because you don't know how to mix up a bottle, soothe a crying baby, or treat diaper rash.  But baffled because you wanted this so badly, you worked so hard for it, it wasn't easy, and now.............it's hard to remember exactly why it was so appealing."

She went on to tell me how guilty she'd felt for feeling those things when she was finally blessed with a child.......after a heartbreaking road to bringing one home.......a horribly heartbreaking road.  People asked her constantly, "Don't you feel lucky?" "Aren't you happy everyday?"  "Do you feel like life is perfect now?"

And gut wrenchingly the answer isn't just a resounding yes.
It's a yes, but.....................

However, the freedom to say the 'but' doesn't really exist does it?

Especially for those of us who have publicly struggled to have children.  It's like the things that are taxing to new mothers who came by it easier than us don't apply.  And we in turn feel like we have no right and there is no space for us to feel the same way as every other mother USA. 

And I'm not a proponent of a lot of public griping and whining.  But I am a proponent of being honest.  With yourself, with a few close friends, with your spouse.  And honest in a way that helps you get healthier when you're feeling like your drowning.......healthy enough to know that it's okay to live in a land where eventually the YES is a resounding one.......but for a while it's okay to initially have a 'but,' even after all those years of waiting and infertility treatments and heart-ache, and sad baby showers (that weren't yours), and questions like, "you're still trying aren't you?," and thousands of dollars spent, and growing pains.  A 'but' is okay.  It's normal. And I kind of think that if there is no 'but' you should share whatever you're on with your other new mom friends.

So if you're adopting a child......,if you're working so hard to bring home the most amazing thing that will ever pass through the doors of your house.......know that it's okay.......it's okay to privately long for the old life in a passing moment of desperation.  And they do pass--when you smell your baby, you see your husband hold her, she smiles at you, she sleeps eight hours straight for the first time, she touches your face, she falls asleep on your chest, she makes little chirping noises while she sleeps, or someone says, "you're going to be a good mama........it's hard now......but I can tell," those moments pass.

The desperation and the longing for days gone by are okay....it doesn't mean you're an unfit mother, unaware of the sacrifice someone else made for you, or that it's how you really feel.......they're just crazy moments all tangled up with thousands more good ones because being a new mom is hard.  No matter how you became a new mom.

It's okay.
So thank-you friend for your Facebook message all those months ago.  It's still sitting in my in-box forever, because it's true and helpful and honest.


  1. So very true! Those first few months are so hard, more so in adoption because you have a whole other family to think about and all the painful emotions that go along with that. Thanks for being honest!

    1. Yes--that other family.....wondering what they're thinking, are they going to change their minds, you want to make sure they feel like you're happy, you send them pictures, and you're trying so hard to put on this amazing show and it's just so...........taxing. I'm glad you hear me!

  2. Thanks for your honesty, Maggie -- I think every mother of a newborn, no matter how that newborn came about, needs to know they're not alone in this struggle. I think this struggle brings on one of the first attacks of mom guilt, of which there will be many...and it's nice to know you're not the only one!

  3. I think every mother struggles with this, and it should be okay to admit it. I still have moments like that when Dylan is having a particularly gnarly day and then it passes when he does something cute. :-)

  4. So very true! And I think especially as an adoptive mom. There are some that us to be happier than our friends who have given birth. We are in our 2nd adoption process. I think I need to print off your post to put on my fridge after that next baby comes home. I will need that reminder! Thanks for sharing that!! Need to remember.....that's okay....

  5. Wow! I'm so glad I read this! I feel like I have no business hating certain parts of pregnancy because it's something I've wanted for so long. I can only imagine how badly I will want to suppress the frustrations that come once the baby actually arrives! Definitely need to post this somewhere to as a reminder a few months from now:) Thanks for sharing!

  6. really really freaking loved this. I was most definitely not reading this at a red light (link from facebook) earlier this week, when I realized I needed to come back to read this because I could no longer see out of my eyes. I'm in love with those pictures too. Good for you for not jumping off the blogging bandwagon during summer. I'm struggling!

  7. Yes, Yes, YES! Love this post! I went from managing 100 kids/day and conversing with 20+ adults to just me and the tiny baby. I'm a social person, so adjusting to the new rhythm was a challenge for me.

    Also, we didn't have any baby showers until weeks after Ellie arrived, so in addition to caring for an infant, I had to deal with cutting off the thousand little tags they put on every single item of baby clothing and pulling the 472 pins out of the diaper cake and writing a bajillion thank-you notes. Trying to "nest" once the baby is already here is kinda stressful, y'all.

    I LOVE that you addressed the freedom of the "but." All mothers deserve that freedom, but as you say, often adoptive parents are expected by some to never have bad days. Ellie is AMAZING....BUT, right now, she's also trying to eat the dog again, so yeah, I better go deal with that.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Okay--I laughed out loud when you said, "Ellie is trying to eat the dog again." So glad to have things like this in common with all moms.....but that added layer of emotion with other adoptive mamas. So glad to have you! Camille has been one of my favorite names..........for forever. Love it!


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