Infertile Ground …

This post has been simmering just beneath the surface for me over the last 2 weeks.  Well over the last 10 years really.  There was a post on a forum I follow asking will you ever forget your infertility when becoming a parent through adoption?.

Yes I am a mom, twice through adoption! My husband and I became parents for the first time almost 9 years ago when our first daughter was entrusted to us and two years later when our second daughter was entrusted to us.  There are times, however, that the infertility that we experienced still raises itself as a reminder of what life had been.  Some holidays are also still a reminder for me as well.  Mother’s Day is a day I proudly share with each of my daughter’s birth mothers, but sometimes the day is tinged by my sense of loss.

You would think that now that I will be 52 years old and past my child-bearing years that I still wouldn’t be affected by infertility.  Others think it disappeared when we became parents, well it didn’t, not necessarily.  We worked through our feelings and dreams not happening at that time in our past and worked on our new dreams of becoming parents along a different path and journey.

The things that still tweak me are not necessarily ever going to go away.  I will never be able to share with my husband that we became pregnant and have that experience.  I will not be able to share birthing stories, stories of what pregnancy was/is like or any of that which comes with the experience. When I learn a friend or acquaintance is pregnant I am happy for them, but then I think I’ve never been able to feel or share that news and never be a part of that club.  Conversations with friends that turn to talking about their bodies and what pregnancy did to it is something I have to pull myself away from.  You may see me get up and walk away even to get a drink, but it is the conversation that I am getting away from.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thrilled to have been chosen to be Mom for each of our daughters.  My love for them is non-ending and I am full of love for them everyday!  My husband and I see there could not have been any other way our family was meant to be now growing not by just our daughters but by their families as well.

Now that my girls are nearing adolescence our conversations have turned to sharing with them what puberty is like and why and when this happens. In turn it brings on the conversation led by them about their birth stories, and the what ifs? of someday when they are older, will they be able to have babies through their own bodies?.  It is these conversations that tweak me. That I will not be the one to share with them what the feelings of pregnancy and giving birth will be like.  I will not be the one to share my experience having not had one to share with them.  There it is that feeling of loss hitting me again just a reminder of how things came to be.

I think it’s fair to say that infertility does not disappear it will always be a part of who I am.  What has made the difference for me is the understanding that it was not what was meant to be for me and my family.  That we had to relook at what our dreams for a family were and what we wanted them to be.

I know the infertility memories are not part of my everyday life, they only perk up now and again and far and few between the times they do.  But there are times I am reminded about the infertile ground I am part of.

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keep on living while you wait …

This was a very important message communicated to us by our new friends and those we saw as our mentors on our journey to parenthood … keep on living while you wait!  A truer statement could not be told to us.

You see you jump every time the phone rings, every time you open up your emails and every time you check at the site meter of your website, is this the one, is someone calling us, did someone contact us via email? we hold our breath and wait to see …

So keep on living we did.  We jumped into our newly found community of families through domestic open adoption and made friends along the way.  We re-entered our life of other friends and our families with a new desire to be a part of everything again.  We dined out, saw movies, went up to wine country, played in the snow in the mountains, went camping, and enjoyed our lives while we waited you see we always knew we were still waiting during this time we just didn’t want to stop and wait while we waited.

But you cannot put your life on hold (well not any longer, I think we had everything on hold while trying to get pregnant).  You need to keep on living, working and enjoying life.  We were also told to make the most of our couple time while we waited.  And that was because when you become a parent it’s not about you and your husband any more. there’s another individual that takes your time and attention and when that time comes you want to be ready to jump in together!

 

building community …

Along the way as we tried to become parents first on our own and with the assistance of doctors, we found ourselves alone and isolated.  From who you ask?

From friends and family who were well-meaning but did not understand what we were going through … questions once we were married of when will you have a child? after being married for a bit the questions kept coming when will you have a child?  Meanwhile we watched as friends and family were starting their families … so we became invisible, we wanted to hide at family functions or showers hosted for friends having children.  In the end I stopped attending baby showers and even today I cannot bring myself to be part of the shower but I do celebrate my friends and their families just not at a baby birthing centered event it still makes me feel isolated even as a Mom today.

When we made the decision to adopt to be a family we shouted it out to the world!  We came out from hiding and along with that we met others who were either parents already through adoption or who like us were just starting their journey to parenthood.

It was one of the most important things we did for ourselves on this journey to parenthood.  Seeking out others like us who were adopting or had adopted.  We found a common ground with them as some too had had struggles with infertility and like us were coming out as they moved onto this path.

What did building community do for us?  It gave us a group of people who were travelling this same journey and we could share support in the rough and the good times.  What did this do? it created friendships that are still part of our lives today.  And those friendships have created friendships for our children today too!

taking the next step …

The adoption information night gave us hope that we will move forward on our journey to parenthood and that we will become a Mommy & a Daddy.

Why you ask?  Because we could see it happening from what we are learning.  We have talked and decided the best path for us is through domestic open adoption.  Not only did we attend the info night then we went on to sign up and attend an 8-week education support group about adoption.  Again through Resolve.  Through this group we met other families who had adopted and were living in open adoptions with their children and their families.  We met adult adoptees who longed to know their birth families and how important it was/is for them to connect and we met birth parents who had made the choices to place their child for adoption.

It was through these meetings and subsequently working with a well-known facilitator in open adoptions, that we knew this was how we would become a family.

Along the way we were recommended books that we found very helpful to us in our process.  First and foremost we were told we needed to look at ourselves and see where we were with our own grief and loss for not having a genetically tied child.  One of the books recommended to us and that we both read was “Adopting after Infertility” written by Patricia Irwin Johnston.  It helped us find a place to allow our grief to happen but to move forward without forgetting where we came from.

Other books recommended to us and we thoughtfully read were

  • “Dear Birthmother” written by Kathleen Silber
  • “The Open Adoption Experience” written by Sharon Kaplan Roszia
  • “Lifegivers” written by James Gritter
  • “Hospitious Adoption” written by James Gritter
  • “The Children of Open Adoption” written by Kathleen Silber
  • “Attaching in adoption” written by Deborah Gray
  • “The Third Choice” written by Leslie Foge
  • we subscribed to Adoptive Families magazine right away too!

These books unfortunately are not readily available in your local bookstore.  Through Amazon Books and Tapestry Books  we were able to find them and more!

These are books that helped us to develop our sense of what being a family through adoption and having an open adoption might be.

Reading and finding a community of support helped us to feel we were making the right decisions along the way…and so we began moving forward on our journey to parenthood through adoption.