Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mourning the Loss of a "Normal" Pregnancy

There's a baby boom going on around me right now... and I'm "expecting" too, in my own way... But lately I've been having one of those spells where I wonder why God chose to make it so hard for me to have what most women take for granted. A "normal" pregnancy experience... Motherhood to children who won't be taken away from me... I don't have these spells very often. And for the most part, I've accepted that I'm never going to have a "normal" road to becoming a mom, but every once in a little bit of sadness comes up to the surface and have myself a little pity party and move on. I guess that's what I'm doing today.

Part of me thinks that I should have gotten knocked up right after high school before the endometriosis messed everything up so bad. At least I would have been able to have a "normal" pregnancy where all of my friends and family were just as excited about the baby as I was. I'd get the excited emails and phone calls from everyone asking me about symptoms and ultrasounds and due dates and baby showers. It would probably even be similar if I was definitely adopting. There would be what most people consider a definite "happy ending," and everyone would be celebrating with me from the very beginning. It seems to be different with foster care.

I think it's hard for other people to be excited for me doing foster care because of the inevitable loss. I rarely hear the phrase, "OMG! That's awesome! I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to meet your new baby!" I almost always hear the phrase, "I couldn't do it" from strangers, friends, and family over and over and over again. Or, just as often, I get nothing. No one asking me anything about timelines or where I am in the process... No questions about how things are going or what I'm doing to get ready for a new little one... No one asking if I want help with decorating the nursery or a shopping buddy for the day... And I can understand that. Foster care is a scary thing, especially when it's not something that you're very familiar with... When all you know about it is that there will most likely be pain and loss within a year... And I can definitely understand that my friends and family don't want to see me get hurt over and over again, so I can see how it could be hard for them to be excited for me when I'm waiting for a new little one to come into my life, knowing that we'll mostly likely all be hurting in the end.

But I also think that what most people don't understand is that for me, it's not the ending or the loss that I'm focusing on. Even before those children come through my door, they are mine. Just as much "mine" as if I had given birth to them myself. I might not know when they are coming, who they will be, or how long they will be physically in my arms, but I experience the same "pregnancy" excitement and anticipation that every pregnant woman feels every time I'm waiting for a new arrival. There's never a guarantee of a "happy ending," so I don't see any reason why foster parents should feel like they have to go into it with less excitement than biological or adoptive parents. I'm looking forward to cuddles and hugs, bedtime stories and lullabies, bathtime splashing, watching as my little ones learn new things, and even changing poopy diapers!

So I think that one of the only times my sadness over not being able to have children the "normal" way comes to the surface is during the time between little ones... When I want to be able to enjoy "foster pregnancy" like any "traditional" mommy-to-be. When I'm giddy with excitement and filled with anticipation of the possibilities, and I want other people to feel it too. I want to run out and register for all of the new and exciting things in baby paraphernalia. I do the whole "nesting" thing and try to make everything new and different for my newest little one. I restock and re-decorate the nursery so each baby has his or her own special place. I am insanely excited, but my excitement always seems to be dampened by the less than enthusiastic reactions that I tend to get from most everyone else. So I take a step back and try to enjoy my "pregnancy" on my own. I make my own lists and put together the nursery and go shopping by myself to get special things for my kiddos. And I pray that when they actually get here, people will see them as mine and not shy away from them or keep their distance because they are afraid of getting too close. These are my kids, and they deserve the very best from the very beginning.

I might not have the opportunity to be a "traditional" mom, but I am a mom. I'll be all "Mama Duggar" by the time I'm through with twenty or more kiddos that I've helped raise in one way or another. And every one of them I will consider mine no matter how long they are in my home and in my arms. One day I will be blessed to be able to adopt one or more of these little ones and they will be legally mine forever, and I want to be able to assure them that they were eagerly-awaited and loved by everyone from before the time they were with me. So I pray that as time goes on, and as I continue to foster little ones who need me, everyone will see that foster care is not all inevitable loss and sorrow. These kids are as much as part of me as if I'd given birth to them myself...  They might not come from my belly, but they do come from my heart... and that is absolutely worth some excitement and eager anticipation!  :-)


Carla said...

Great post! Although I have experienced traditional motherhood I can SO relate to what you said about fostering. I feel the same way about my babes. It is so different with foster baby gifts, no congratulations, no excitement, no announcements of a new family member. Just curiosity, concern and "I couldn't do it's" . You are most definitely just as super mom as any mama Dugger. :)

Jen Burdette said...

I feel like I could have written this exact post about myself, although some of it I haven't experienced yet because I'm not licensed yet but I definitely feel the same way you do about being a mom to these kids. And I completely understand the pregnancy piece. I recently blogged about feeling like I am missing out by not being pregnant.

Jodi said...

Thanks so much for this post. Today's been horrid and I went searching on the Internet for someone who understands. I'm going to be a single, foster-adopt mom like you! I'm halfway to my license and thrilled, so excited! But family and coworkers are killing it. My mother doesn't "feel comfortable" throwing me a baby shower. My boss will "believe it when he sees it." Fortunately, my friends know me best and are supportive. I'm going to be an awesome mom! There is an awesome mom already inside my skin, I can't wait for the world to see it! Yet I'm upset and disappointed to be so alone out here in my anticipation. Thanks for sharing!

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