In my recent post, I asked women considering adopters to raise their unborn children: “before you shut the door on this person who is about to be born, this mother you are becoming, I encourage you to allow your mind to drift and imagine yourself as that very person, that mom. Go to the park and watch mothers with their children and let your heart do the talking about what is TRULY right and TRULY in the best interests of your child. The good, the bad, and the scrubby little ugliness of motherhood will all be there and will give you a pretty well-rounded viewpoint, but what you do not – indeed, cannot – know right now is that even the ugly parts are all part of it, and it’s okay (love covers a multitude of sins).”
I’ll even go one better. Go ahead and just pretend that adoption of a newborn is illegal, not an option, and that you will have to prove yourself unfit or absolutely unwilling to raise your child before adoption is an option. Think of your own childhood. Think of your parents. What would you like to do differently in your child’s life? What would you like to do similarly?
A new birth is a brand new start, a clean slate, a new life with no mistakes in it. If you had that kind of opportunity for yourself, a brand new life with no mistakes in it, what would it look like?
If you can’t imagine any of that, I encourage you to click on any link underneath “Blogs I Follow.” After reading at least 3 entries in their entirety from 3 different bloggers whose lives have been impacted by adoption, ask yourself: is this a scenario I want to see myself in? If one or all of the blogs you chose are from people who were raised in adoptive families, ask yourself: is this what I want for my child?
It’s hard to find your way out of the day-to-day, overwhelming changes that pregnancy is bringing to your body and mind. I realize this. It’s hard to look outside of all that seems wrong in the world – especially one’s own world – or you probably wouldn’t even be considering adoption. I know this too. Give yourself just a few minutes a day to stop and realize that life is longer than 9 months. Babies don’t stay in diapers. Kids go from one grade to the next – one way or another. And they grow up to be people – just like you are a person – and they will have to make choices for themselves just as you are making choices now. Financial crises come, and financial crises go. Life and death happens, every day, and the world just keeps on turning – whether we like it or not. And we keep breathing – whether we like it or not – until we breathe out our last breath (I was reminded recently that none of us comes out of this alive…).
So that’s it. Life’s ebbs and flows.
When I got pregnant, it was the nicest little surprise I could imagine. I just couldn’t imagine that I was deserving of such a nice thing, so I didn’t allow myself to embrace it. Some women hate being pregnant, but, of course, they love the product of it. I loved being pregnant. I loved the fact that my child was mine only, and, for just those nine months, I didn’t have to share this person with anyone. When I remember what it was like to have my child inside me, it’s hard to resist indulging in “If only.” No doubt, when we raise our children we look back on certain things and have a hard time resisting “If only.”
“If only” is a lonely road. “If only” is like that set of horse blinders that only allows one to see a tiny portion of life as we know it. What would happen if you let yourself take those blinders off and ask, “what if?” What if this baby inside you is the coolest person you could ever imagine? What if you actually like yourself as this kid’s mom? What if you reach out and ask for help with whenever you are stuck? What if you do have to go on food stamps? It only makes you the lowest life form on earth if you allow it to. Food stamps do not have the power to determine what kind of life form you are – but you do have the ability to decide what kind of life form you will be. What if you have to be on some kind of assistance? “They,” (those in charge of facilitating the giving of assistance) can only degrade you to the degree you allow yourself to be degraded.
I didn’t know any of this when I was pregnant with my one and only child. You don’t have to be a bucket of grief and guilt like I’ve been for the past 21 years. That’s not any kind of a life. Hold your baby. Embrace your baby. You’ll be embracing a part of yourself that you wouldn’t have had access to any other way than by being this person’s mom and having this person be your son or daughter. Be the family you always wanted – or at least allow yourself to imagine it and do something to strive for it every single day.
That’s what I would do if I had it to do over again…in a heartbeat!