Sunday, February 14, 2010
Yesterday Reed turned two months old. My how he has grown! We see him about once a week, and it seems that every time we do he is so different from the last time. This wide eyed, inquisitive little boy is very different from the baby I held just after giving birth. He is holding his head up high and turning it towards what he’s interested in, his legs are becoming strong enough to almost stand (I swear he must be doing squats or something in his spare time), and he has the most adorable smile! It’s so exciting to watch him grow, and to see him turning into the little man he is and will become.
There are so many thoughts I could share and I want to keep up with my thoughts throughout this whole process, but I always struggle with which thoughts out of the millions to write down for this blog. So today I’ve decided to address how I’ve dealt with the absence of Reed in my life.
First of all, let me clarify that Reed is not out of my life by any means, he will always be a part of it. I’m talking about the physical absence from him, and dealing with that as a woman who has gone through the whole physical ordeal of pregnancy and birth, but does not have the physical baby with her. When I was pregnant, I was a slow, waddling woman. People had to wait on me all the time, but they did it with smiles on their faces. I would have total strangers tell me how cute I was with my big huge belly, they would open doors for me, wave for me to pass in parking lots, or rush to pick something up for me if I dropped it. Then I gave birth and became an even slower, waddling woman, but my baby didn’t come home with me. It hurt to walk, sit, bend, I could barely even stand up straight. But no one was rushing to open doors or pick something up for me, and there were only honks for me to hurry up when I was moving at a snails pace across the parking lot. I had to adjust to not being pregnant anymore, not just physically but emotionally. I had all the healing and recovering to do of a woman who has just had a baby, but with no baby to hold or to show for it. In my mind, somehow I wasn’t justified for feeling so weak or in pain. In fact, I almost expected Maura to feel as weak as I did, just because she was the one with the newborn!
When I was pregnant and had decided on adoption, since I wasn’t ashamed of or regretted any of my actions or decisions, I also decided to make a conscious effort be open about the adoption. If it came up in conversation and anyone asked or made comments about my plans for nursing, babysitting, baby clothes or furniture, or anything of that nature, I would tell them about the adoption. Ok, I used discretion; I didn’t feel the need to blab my story to every person I met, but I didn’t want to lie about it or cover it up. After I gave birth, I’ve still had to make that conscious effort. I’ve been going to the YMCA to try to work off the PPP (Post-Partum Pooch) and get back in shape, but when I first started going back, I could barely do most of the leg lift moves in the pilates class. The instructor came over to me to try to correct my form, so I had to tell her during class that I had just had a baby and needed to modify some of the moves. “Oh, how wonderful! Is he in the childcare room now?” she asked. “No, he was adopted.” The whole class turned and looked at me. In another class, I mentioned I had just had a baby, and a woman said, “Well, the key to losing the baby weight is to breast feed. You are obviously breast feeding because you look great, but if you weren’t you wouldn’t stand a chance.” I was kind of taken back at the confidence behind her assumption, so I have to admit I did take a little pleasure in telling her that I wasn’t breastfeeding and why.
Once I tell them, people are generally very curious about it and are very congratulatory and encouraging about the situation. But there are still times where I catch myself feeling that I’m not justified. At the gym I shouldn’t have a PPP, because those are reserved for women who actually have their babies, right? I keep telling myself that I go to the gym to get back into shape and feel healthy again, and that is largely true. I’ve always been in great shape and very strong and active. But if I’m perfectly honest with myself, I think that if I were the one taking care of my baby, the PPP wouldn’t bother me so much. I want to get rid of it because I don’t have my son to justify it. Like I don't have the right to have any pain or weakness related to the pregnancy or birth, or to be out of shape from it.
I’m still completely comfortable with the adoption. There is not any part of me that wishes I had done anything differently. I’ve never had any second thoughts, and I’m assured more and more every day that this has been the most wonderful experience and we have the most incredible situation. But I haven’t been so naïve to think that there would be no emotional results to deal with. And I’m pretty sure that there will continue to be many more issues for me to address for years to come. But I’m not writing this blog to share my answers, just my journey.