July 30, 2015

It Still Sucks

Allowing myself time to process and grieve my infertility, plus moving onto adoption for our family building, has gone a long way towards healing the deep seated anger, frustration, jealousy, and utter sadness I have often felt when hearing that another woman I know is pregnant. I don't have a strong reaction to every big belly I see, anymore. I don't sit in my GYN's waiting room with bitterness for all the in-my-face pregnancies. My cousin announced her pregnancy on Facebook in May and I just kind of rolled my eyes, sighed, and unfollowed her. Small pit in the stomach, nothing I couldn't shake off in a few minutes. It was a little harder when a co-worker confided in me that she was unexpectedly pregnant. It was out of the blue, they weren't trying. Plus, I was in the middle of researching how to advocate for equal parental leave for adoptive parents and very much feeling like a second class future mom. I cried on the way home and sobbed into my husband's shoulder that I really was *so* happy for her and she will be a great mom. It is such an emotionally complicated place to be...

But as complicated as that was, it is nothing compared to the emotional monster that reared his head from the depths of my infertility pain when my best friend of 14 years told me she was pregnant in the first month of trying. Not a gut punch. A BRAIN punch. A full body, forceful slam into a brick wall. And I am right back to the anger, frustration, jealousy, and ever present, aching sadness over my own inability to even comprehend how easy it is to get pregnant when you're not me.

The adoption is not easing my pain so quickly. I'm not an idiot. She will have a baby in 9 months. I will still be waiting. She could conceivably lap me and be working on baby #2 while we continue to wait. She will have all of the normal events which mark the progression of those knowable 9 months: announcement to the family, announcement to the world, gender reveal, viability, baby showers, nesting in those last few precious weeks. We...continue to have to explain to people that no, we probably won't have a baby by the end of the year. Well, we are waiting for a match - no, a match doesn't mean we will get a baby for sure. I wish I could tell you when, but that's not how it works. No, we won't be announcing when we match because it could fall through. Maybe a year, maybe two - yes, it takes that long...There's no universally understood progression of time, marked with socially conforming celebrations and milestones, for adoption. People know we are adopting, but they honestly have no idea what that means as far as what the next year or two of our lives will look like. Neither do I. People know how to talk about pregnancy, our entire female human history is a shared experience of pregnancy. No one I know has adopted. No shared experiences to be had.

Adoption isn't a cure-all for the infertile couple. It is a means of building a family, but it doesn't fix everything, it doesn't give you everything that infertility took away. I knew this, I know this, I don't expect it to be. But I wish there was *something* that would make me forget four and a half years of trying and failing so that I could be happy for my friend who never had to try. I want so badly to be, but all I feel is sad and left behind.

My sister promises that after babyhood is over, all parents are the same, we won't feel so obviously different because our child's milestones will be the same no matter how they came to us. I hope to God that is even only mostly true.

July 15, 2015

Waiting is waiting

We are agency approved! Our adoptive parent profile books have been ordered (after much hand-wringing and editing from me) and will be delivered to the agency by the end of the month. At that point we will officially be waiting for our match!

I am indescribably happy that the first part of our journey has come to a close. I don't even know what to do with myself! We made it, we survived. The road thus far has been at turns terrifying and frustrating and unending. Yet here we are: waiting.

I feel a little like we left the infertility waiting room of unknowing, took a long winding walk, and now find ourselves in another, very similar, waiting room of unknowing.

"Will it be today??" Variations of this question are bound to crowd my brain in the coming months. Logically, I know it is unrealistic to expect that we will match quickly. Not because there is something wrong with us, but simply as a result of the process that we have no control over. There are only so many expectant women looking for families with our agency, and only so many of them will even look at our book based on their situation. These things take time. And yet obviously, the blooming hope and optimism within me is all "But you never know, you *could* match quickly!!" It is difficult to want to stuff that hope down when I lived in despair for so long. Hope is sunny and warm and bubbly - I love that feeling! I just need to temper it with enough reality to not feel disappointed when we haven't matched by the end of the year. We simply have to wait.

I am hopeful that this version of waiting will be easier than the on-again, off-again roller coaster of infertility cycles. I think some people want to be as informed about their profiles views as possible, but I am not one of those people. I don't want to know when a woman is reading our book unless she has chosen us. Because rejection sucks. I'd rather hear about it in detached statistics: "Over the past 4 months, we showed your profile 3 times". That is a kind of rejection I can handle, it is over and done with, no agonizing.

I've been holding off on a few projects because I knew they would be excellent to fill some time while we wait. I want to thoroughly research cloth diapering, I need to get a handle on how much breast-milk I can realistically expect to source on a regular basis, we need to choose a pediatrician. Also we can start researching every major baby device purchase (God there are so many things one needs!) so we know exactly what to get when the time comes. I'm still not comfortable with the idea of buying things (or receiving baby items as gifts), but I think I am going to have to suck it up and learn to be okay. My sister has been saving a LOT of stuff for us from Bear (the 2.5 y/o nephew) and she is sort of begging me to get some of it out of her house so she can re-claim her craft room. Plus, several people have told me they were just waiting for us to be officially waiting before getting us a gift of some kind. I have to figure out how to not be anxious about the existence of baby stuff in my house or I will be committed before we match.

Oh, one other project that will help pass the time: I have drafted a proposal with persuasive arguments for my employer to update their parental leave policy! I'm so political, LOL! I was honestly crushed when I learned that I would get 3 weeks of leave for my adoption, but had I managed to conceive I would have received 6 weeks. It continued to trouble me over the months and I brought it up at a staff open forum last month. I was encouraged to pursue a policy change and next week I present my research, arguments, and proposals to our staff advisory council! I'm really excited about it and I hope I can get their support in lobbying the administration.

What did you do during your wait? I would love ideas and advice!