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.