Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listen Up!: For Waiting Mothers

Image Courtesy of Elton Harding on Flickr
Motherhood is complicated.

It's messy, stressful, and difficult. And it can also be very lonely.  Especially for those mothers who are still waiting for their children.

Do you remember the Friend's episode, when Chandler is talking about Monica and their struggle to start a family?  He says "She's a mother, without a baby."

So many mothers, and fathers, are in this position. They know in their heart that they are already a mother or father. They have made space. They have carved out a section of their heart and soul for a baby that hasn't yet come.

And waiting to fill that space is one of the most painful things anyone can endure.

I adopted my daughter last year after 5 years of infertility. I wondered, would I be surprised? Would the love I felt be something brand new?

For me, it wasn't. It was profound and deep and wonderful and so beautiful, but I was not surprised by it. And I think I know why.

I had loved her all along.  I had been waiting for her.  My heart had a space just for her, waiting to be filled.  And once she came, and my heart filled up, it wasn't new. The love was there all along. It just finally had somewhere to go.

And this is what made infertility so painful for me. I had so much love to give. I had opened up so much of my heart for this child, and the waiting and wondering if she would ever come was the hardest thing I've ever experienced.

I hate that so many of my friends, and those in the infertility community, are still in limbo. Wondering if their love will have somewhere to go. If they will ever be fulfilled. If their heart will ever feel whole again.

What kills me is knowing that for some, it won't. Infertility treatment is so expensive and draining in every sense. Adoption is even more expensive. For many families, their desire to have a child is completely dependent on the size of their bank account, and this is heartbreaking.

Families are important. These mothers and fathers without a child are important. Their story matters. Their pain matters. And unfortunately it's a fact that infertility is often seen as an "optional" state.

But it's not optional for us to want a child. It's inherent. It's in our culture and DNA. It's a huge part of who we are and who we hope to become. And neglecting that part of ourselves will only cause pain, depression, and isolation.

So, it's time to Listen Up. Affordable infertility treatment, adoption tax incentives, and access to healthcare are all critical for our families. And we have the power to change this. Call your local Senator. Talk to your employer. Ask them to listen, because what you have to say is important and meaningful and will have an impact not just for yourself, but for the thousands of waiting parents with an incomplete heart.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Year Later

When they say time flies, it really does.!

It's been a year already, and looking back I can hardly believe how much my life has changed in that amount of time. Or how much my baby girl has grown!  It's crazy!

I love the age she's at right now.  Her personality is starting to shine through. She loves to talk to herself in the mirror, throw food off the tray of her high chair, and lick the windows.  She has two bottom teeth and the top ones will make their appearance very soon!  She has taken steps by herself but still loves to crawl; she gets around faster that way. And she loves to cuddle with her mom and play with her dad!

We had her birthday party the weekend before Easter, and it turned out well except that both Aria and I were sick and didn't have much energy that day. But it was so nice seeing all of our friends and family there to celebrate her first birthday with us. She received so many presents and new toys, more than she has room for but I have to admit, I love the mess!

Now that she's a year old, we've started to make a point of telling Aria her adoption story a few days each week. Of course she is still too young to understand, but I want her to be familiar with the words. We have a few adoption/infertility books that we read to her as well (our faves are Sweet Moon Baby and Wish).

It's a little awkward sometimes because I feel like I'm sharing a big secret but she has no idea what I'm talking about! I'm sure she will start to understand soon enough, and the word adoption will be part of her vocabulary. But it will take time for the meaning behind that word to really sink in.

My hope is that she will know we loved her before we even met her, and that she may not have come from my body, but I still love her as if she did. Being adopted doesn't change any of that. She is so very special and her family loves her to pieces! She is absolutely the greatest gift I have ever and will ever receive in my entire life.

Aria's smile and laugh make everything better! We are so very grateful!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Closing a Window

Image courtesy of Betsssssy on Flickr
I had a dream last night that I was talking with my sister about having a baby.  She asked me if we were going to try again.  In my dream, I told her that we "closed that window". There was even imagery of a big window with a beautiful meadow on the other side.  I found it odd....I didn't say closed the door, but closed the window. I woke up and was really curious....what was that about? What is my subconscious trying to say?

The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to me. Daniel and I recently made the decision that I'll be getting back on birth control soon. We are very happy with a family of 3 and I don't want to do anymore fertility treatments. So essentially, we have closed the door on having a biological child.

But really, like in my dream, it's more like closing a window. I will forever wonder and envision what my life would have been like if things had turned out differently. I will always wonder what our child would have looked like, if Daniel and I were able to conceive.  If our ability to have children was as simple as stating "let's get pregnant!" Unfortunately it was never that simple.

But, I've been thinking about this for a while now, even if its just to manage my endo symptoms. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I'm still a little unsure how it will feel to start taking birth control pills after 6 years of being off of them. And what it will feel like to take a pill every day to "prevent" something that my body prevents just fine on it's own. But I guess in that sense, it won't be that different.

Here's what I'm looking forward to:

  • Less acne! I'm an adult and so sick of this, lol
  • No more spotting! Two weeks every month? I'm so done.
  • Lighter periods! Maybe I can actually use my Diva Cup on my heavy days now!
  • No glimmer of hope every month wondering "could it be?" (Yes, this still happens.)

So, that's where I'm at. Does this mean I'm no longer an "infertile"? I think not! That is so ingrained in me now, and I love this community so much, I don't think I will ever ditch that label. After all, this is my tribe, and no matter what I will continue to advocate and support those in the trenches. This is still very much a large part of who I am, and that will never change.