baby #2

December 10, 2012 § 12 Comments

The idea of having another baby is really stressful. In so many ways, I think I want to, because once you were born it dawned on me how much I would love being a mother. I may not be naturally good at everything, or even most things. But I’m such a capable person and I never realized it, because of doubt and fear.

I was never a good athlete when I was younger and I was always picked last. I took Lifetime Sports when I was a sophomore and I hated group sports so much that I never went and I managed to get an F in a fucking gym class. But I took a weight training class with football players during my senior year, and I loved challenging my body and that high feeling I got. A few years later I had the self-discipline to regularly go to the gym, and go on hikes and runs, and enjoy it.

I’m not an outgoing, social person, and I hate customers and dealing with their problems. But I’ve always been good with customers. I get how I’m supposed to act, and I do it. I’ve spent years watching and learning from more socially inclined co-workers. I’ve been promoted in every job I’ve ever had. Now I’m a commissioned salesperson, and I’m good at it. Selling is not my strong point, but I’ve found my niche (men’s suits and dress clothes) where I can do it very comfortably. None of it came to me naturally. I’ve just worked hard and learned it.

Even my good taste and sense of style comes from reading fashion blogs and magazines, and studying people who know how to dress.

Hard work can compensate for talent. Hard work can even trump talent. I’ve known people who were a lot more talented than I am, and they didn’t always succeed because they weren’t good at the most basic things, like holding down a job.

All my life, ever since my doula mother scarred me with her home videos of birth, I saw pregnancy and giving birth as repulsive. It was never something I wanted to do, or thought I would do. But when I found out I was six months pregnant, I set my mind to doing it and doing it correctly. It was a desperate attempt to focus on the actual event of birth, and not think about the aftermath of being a mother with no baby. My denial was rather successful, as I never considered once what the “after” would be like. I wish someone had kicked me and told me to think about it.

Anyway, while I was busy denying the reality of a baby, I became very focused on the reality of pregnancy and that I would have to push a baby out. I educated myself on everything. I can’t even tell you how many books and web sites I read. I practiced breathing and relaxation, and I went on walks every day, trying to stay in decent shape. I massaged my stupid perineum. When I felt a living being pummeling me from inside, I began to understand why people thought pregnancy and birth was beautiful. I made a very detailed birth plan, had my baby naturally, and everything went perfect. I can’t say anything negative about the labor and delivery, at all. Of course it was painful, but I dealt with it as if I was running and I felt tired. Just get on with it.

The night I spent in the hospital after signing the TPR, I had the revelation that even though I knew nothing about babies or how to be a parent, I could have devoted myself to learning it, just like I set my sights on having a perfect birth. It makes me so angry still that I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought parenting was this thing that should be carefully thought over and planned. You have to be married. You have to have lots of money and security. You have to be finished with school.

But not everything in life can be planned and controlled, in fact most of it is impossible to control, and it’s not a bad thing, it’s just how it happens. And it doesn’t mean that I’ll always be impoverished or single or I’ll never be able to give you everything you deserve. A lot of mothers have been younger and in worse situations than me, and they made it. If I had to move in with my parents temporarily or ask them for financial support, they wouldn’t have minded. They were not thrilled that I was pregnant, but once they met you, they loved you so much and would’ve done anything for us. If I had figured that out, I would still have you with me. I would be happy. I would be complete and whole.

I know I write the same things over and over here. It’s not meant to be entertaining.

Back to the original point I was trying to make.

In some ways, I want to be a mother now. I think I would enjoy it. I love cooking and cleaning and playing with games and crafts far below my age level and taking care of others. I can totally see myself as a thoroughly domesticated housewife mom. Let me tell you: I would be all about it.

With equal intensity, I can’t stand the thought. I can’t imagine how many painful memories it would bring up if I was ever pregnant again. I would miss you so much. I would be so depressed. The novelty of pregnancy for the first time is over and gone. I can’t have that back. During that time, I had zero support, emotional and otherwise, from the one person I wanted it from, and it was not an experience I’d want to repeat. So I can only imagine how dependent and clingy I would be. I’m half convinced that if I did have another kid, I should do the single mother thing intentionally. And by that I mean, find someone with attractive genes and fuck them while I’m ovulating. It would be so much less to deal with. No worries about my significant other cheating on me or leaving me, or if he’s going to be there for me and love me, because he already has left and he’s clearly not there. And really, how likely is it that anyone could love someone so broken? I don’t think anyone realizes just how broken I am. Even once they knew about the adoption, they wouldn’t understand and be prepared for how it changed me, and dealing with that in the context of a relationship is not something I anticipate.

And once this hypothetical child is actually there, I can’t imagine what kind of mother I’d be and what kind of issues I’d give them. I would be so overprotective. I would never stop worrying about something happening, because I’d shoot myself in the face if I lost two children. It also worries me that I don’t think I could love another, not as much as I love you. You are perfection and everything I could ever want. I know if I’d kept you, I would have been the best mother possible for you. I know you don’t mean as much to your parents as you mean to me. This is the only place I’ll ever say that. C and L would be happy with anyone’s baby. I don’t want another baby, I just want you. I wouldn’t be happy if I had a girl and had to play princesses and Barbies with her. I wouldn’t want to have a baby when my 20s are over, because I wouldn’t have the same energy and drive. Everything would have to be perfect, and I would go crazy if it wasn’t. I think I would love being a mom, but any other offspring would be a replacement. And they would probably know it.

All of this is ridiculous to even think about now. I keep telling myself to cross that bridge when it comes, if it even comes.

I sound like a fucking psycho nutjob.

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§ 12 Responses to baby #2

  • A's Mom says:

    You ARE worth it! You WILL be a good Mom some day. Right now is the time to take care of you. To try and pick up the pieces of your heart so that some day there will be happiness in your life. Having other children is difficult. You will be reminded of your lost child, but the rewards of having more are worth it because you do deserve to be happy again.

  • amy says:

    (((Hugs))) It hurts me to read your words. You’ve proven just how much you are capable of loving another human being, and you can and should love again! I can tell you, after my (birth) daughter was born, there were days I didn’t care if I woke up or not. The pain was, well, you know how it is, don’t you? But I went on to have more children, and although none were “replacements” because it’s not possible to replace one human being with another, each one brings their own joy and light! You need time to heal, which will happen because we are survivors. You deserve to share your love with another child someday, if that’s the choice you make. Time WILL dull this pain. It never goes away, and there are moments even 27 years later when it stabs me, but it changes in intensity and it’s not always “right there” front and center in your mind.

    You will love each subsequent child for who they are, and what they bring to your life! It’s so worth it! Oh, and by the way, I’m a grandma now from my first child following my “given up” daughter. Can’t imagine life without those little guys! They are a promise to me that life, and love, goes on! It will for you too :)

  • maybe says:

    I’m so glad you have thought about your desire to have another child and how adoption is a factor in how you feel about this need. I never had another baby – all my feelings were far too stuffed for me to even consider how adoption was impacting my relationships (or rather, lack of relationships). If you want to have another baby someday DO IT. It’s taken me far too long long to learn that life is not a dress rehearsal and there really is an expiration date on certain desires. Motherhood is one of them.

    • i know you are right. if there is a chance to be happy, you have to be brave and take the risk. it’s a mistake to avoid it, but that doesn’t make the idea less daunting to me. not to mention, unimaginable at this point in my life.

      “It’s taken me far too long long to learn that life is not a dress rehearsal”

      far too long for me, too. when i gave him up, i believe i did think life was just a dress rehearsal, and what i did wouldn’t affect or change anything.

  • maybe says:

    “C and L would be happy with anyone’s baby. I don’t want another baby, I just want you”

    Exactly.

  • cah says:

    I really want to hug you…so if you don’t like being hugged, please accept my apologies, but I really really do want to hug you!

    I can relate to absolutely everything you have said here. I kept saying to myself when I was pregnant, ‘this one is not mine to raise, but I know I am fertile, and I know how to get a baby, and I WILL have more babies!’ But then I knew when I laid eyes on my beautiful son after he was born there would no replacing him, so that thought was completely shot out the window. Having more babies from then on was never about replacing him but just about fulfilling that dream of motherhood.

    My beautiful baby boy is now 20, going on 21, and he is my only child. It is a bitter disappointment now, at age 47, that I didn’t have more kids. But reading this post brings back a lot remembrances of how it felt having my baby boy. And now I think I am seeing what a powerful testament it is as to how extraordinary he really was/is, and, perhaps, subconsciously, that’s why I didn’t just get down and dirty and insist on having those other babies. Perhaps they would have lived under my son’s shadow, after all. Perhaps…

    But, then, you know? There are plenty of kids who grow up with birth mothers, and the reality of the unknown brother and/or sister is just what they grow up knowing, so that’s their normal. Life is full of possibilities, so I hope you don’t rule anything out, especially at age 23 with so much life ahead of you. Motherhood can still be a beautiful experience, and, this will probably sound trite as all get out, but I’m fine with that, so here goes: each child is a precious gift, and special, and unique, and a mother’s heart is made to be big and expand for each child. I believe this with all of my heart, even though I didn’t get to experience it firsthand.

    If you find that you truly don’t want to have other children, then let time do what time does best: unfold the truth, whatever that truly is. If at some point you really want more kids, I hope you give yourself permission to fulfill that dream.

    I love that you are speaking directly to your child. I have thought about doing that with a blog. There are so many things I didn’t get to say that I still want to say to my son. And while your baby is so young, you have all this freedom to express all these lovely, sweet things.that are in your heart.

    You are beautiful. <3

    • hugs are absolutely accepted! always! thank you for writing such a thoughtful response.

      yeah, i told myself the same thing, that i can always have other babies. i didn’t realize when i was pregnant how special and irreplaceable and PERFECT he was. the other lie i told myself, especially once he was born, was “doing this doesn’t negate my motherhood, deep down i know i am still his mother and that’s what matters,” something like that. what a joke! i will never be his mother again, in his eyes or anyone else’s eyes.

      i hope someday i will get to tell him some of the things i’ve written here, and i hope you also get to tell your son the lovely things that have been in YOUR heart.

      from time to time i’ve reflected seriously on the replies i’ve gotten to this blog, and i know deep down that the commenters here are 100% correct that i can still live life and do what i want to do. like i said to someone else, you have to take risks sometimes to be happy. even though i don’t view being happy as a real possibility, no one should stop striving for it.

      • cah says:

        It took me 20 years to realize that I was stuck and that, at least for now, there is no getting unstuck. I tried many different things in pitiful attempts to move on and find happiness and meaning but didn’t allow myself to feel what I was truly feeling because it was just too painful. I was afraid that if I ever let the tears come, really come, that they would never stop and I would drown in them and would be destroyed in the process…it felt like such a very real possibility that it could happen. And then the point finally came when the dam could not be held back any longer, and, land, did the tears come! And they are still coming!!

        I can’t even say I wish that I’d been able to let them come sooner so I could get on the the process grieving then getting on with life because it’s pretty clear to me that the tears needed to come when I was ready to finally let go and let them come. And I wouldn’t be ready for the tears until I finally stopped trying to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just be happy and go on with my life. I finally had to acknowledge it isn’t work that way. I finally had to acknowledge there is a part of my life that got stuck back during the time when I was giving my son to someone else and, at least, for now, there is no getting unstuck. And I had to let myself just be okay with that. Now, it’s not so much about trying to be happy as it’s a matter of blazing that new trail and re-defining what happiness is. The naivete before pregnancy and birth and relinquishment is gone, and it’s not coming back. I am learning to let that be okay too. Happiness, now, comes, little-by-little in the everyday gifts that come with having survived, the very small but beautiful things about being alive that I notice from day-to-day. Chances are, I probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate some of the things I do now had I not had a child and given him up.

        My motherhood was distorted for many years too. First, I didn’t think I deserved my child, then I didn’t deserve to be called his mother. But that’s just a lie. The truth is, the day of my son’s birth was a twofold thing. An exquisite child was born that day, but you know what? A mother was born too. He grew in me and came into this world through me. Nothing can change that. It also took me 20 years to allow myself to just let that sink in. And, so I get to also blaze a new trail of re-defining what motherhood is. If no one else acknowledges the fact that I became a mother the day my son was born then it’s not for anyone else to acknowledge. Truth is truth, and my son is my son, and that is the truth. I am his mother, and that is the truth too. I now refuse to let anyone take that from me – not even me. I had to write it out a few times and let it ruminate, and I can’t actually say I am 100% comfortable in my mother skin yet, but I can say I’m settling in.

        Your son was born, and so were you. It is impossible to bring a child into this world and ever be the same from that day forward. Who you are now has, and will always have, a second birthday as part of what makes you who you truly are. The feelings you feel are maternal. You will look at everything differently from here on because of those maternal feelings. Mothers are nothing more than human beings, beautiful, frail, fallible human beings capable of surprisingly wonderful things – and terrible, tragic mistakes. When I had my son, I knew he was the best thing I’d ever done. And that is still the truth. So the mistake I made in giving him up isn’t all there is to the story.

        And adoption is not all there is to your story. My hope for you is that you don’t let that part, the truth and the beauty of your life with your son, ever be erased or overshadowed by the grief of what cannot be changed and that you never stop hoping, and if you pray, praying, and striving for, and doing whatever you can to not let your son be totally without you in his life. There are many of us fighting for the rights of our adopted children, fighting to change the culture of adoption so that our children no longer have to be placed in the unfair position of having a part of who they are erased. You are a part of who he is every bit as much as he is a part of who you are. We all are having to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask the hard questions that will lead to adoption reform. And if adoption and raising children truly is about the well-being of our children, then we must take a long hard look at the way we’ve been going about it and recognize that it really does take a village, and you are an invaluable and irreplaceable part of that village that your child cannot do without. Every mother and child that has been reunited is a striking testimony of that truth.

  • caits99 says:

    I really agree that not knowing how to mother isn’t a reason to give up you child. I don’t know myself, but I hear lotd of stories of new parents who leave the hospital and are like, what do I do now, ??? They shouldn’t have made you feel like you shouldn’t raise your son because you don’t know how. I don’t think anybody knows how until they do it.

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