I'm who I am today for so many reasons--and besides my incredible parents--one of the most important is because I've had people walk along side me and share their journeys with me. Journeys that, at the time might have seemed to be un-relatable, but eye opening all the same, and journeys that helped me think differently and decide to act differently because someone close to me was willing to share their experiences with me. They didn't hog their journey all to themselves for fear of judgment, misconception, fright, or guardedness.
I think that's the difference (and arguably both good and bad) between this generation and ones that have come before us. I remember when Chris and I were walking the road of infertility I told my mom that while it was a hard road, it was one with many people along the way who'd experienced it too--always ready to lend a kind word, an ear to listen to me vent, or a helpful direction to head in. She expressed that she didn't think infertility had been as prevalent when she was having kids back in the late seventies/early eighties…..or maybe…..she added……people just didn't talk about it.
A-ha. I think that's it. I think people 'hogged their journeys' a little more. It's hard for me to understand why……after all, I'm a product of the (and generally embrace the mantra) "let's share everything" generation. I can't imagine trying to get pregnant for five years with no one really knowing, but instead wondering behind closed doors, "why Chris and Maggie weren't having kids." It makes me frustrated for women thirty, forty, fifty years ago that didn't feel like they had a wide-spread support system, a sister-hood, a camaraderie with others dealing with the same issues; that it might have been considered taboo to talk openly about something so near and dear to most women.
Even five years ago when Chris and I were deep into our first adoption there wasn't as much sharing. Facebook pages and blogs and community groups and Instagram feeds have exploded recently in support of various causes and herald the importance of not 'hogging your journey' but putting it out there. Letting others learn from it, helping others feel like they're not alone and that the feelings you're experiencing are normal and there are people who are now on the other side of them and they can help you get there too. I consider it a privilege to have access to those resources. They are personal and honest and raw compared to the clinical, sometimes cold, and often impersonal feel of just seeking advice from a book, a medical professional, or a therapist.
When I need real advice.....really real advice, I want to talk to other moms involved in domestic adoptions who have experienced the same things I've experienced and can speak to them in unfiltered and in totally honest ways. And I want to do that too.....for other people. I don't want to 'hog my journey.'
Because here's the thing, in not keeping my journey to myself....in putting it out there....I might be advocating for adoption and helping someone else come to a realization....but I'm also getting a lot of encouragement, wisdom, things to think about, and camaraderie from those who respond to my journey.
When I shared that we were set to adopt again last week--the responses were so encouraging, so excited, so hopeful, and so affirming. And not that we needed those things to keep going--but as in anything you embark on that is scary and unknown--it's nice to feel like you have people in your corner.
And we all have corners we need people to be in with us. So let them. Invite them in. You'll be amazed, when you do, at how many corners we all share, and how much we can brighten them up when we're all in them together.
Again, thanks for the amazingly kind words last week…..for the encouragement and the excitement! We're happy to share this journey with you.