Yesterday G and I decided to try something new. We bought ourselves a gift for our (still imaginary) baby. Does that sound like a totally morbid form of self torture? Jury is still out.
Here’s how it went down. A cousin’s baby shower has been on the horizon for a few months, and we finally hit the point where we couldn’t avoid buying a gift any longer. We aren’t going to the shower (we live pretty far away so thankfully they wouldn’t have expected us to). The dreaded shopping trip was on my mind as soon as I woke up yesterday, and besides all the other obvious reasons why baby shower gift shopping as awful, I just kept thinking how unfair it was that after we’ve purchased so many gifts for other people, we might never be able to buy things for our own child. I’ve been dying to buy baby clothes since I was in high school and worked at a baby/kids clothes store. It kills me a little every time I have to buy something adorable for someone else’s baby, and know that I may never get to do so for myself.
As I was thinking about it though, I started to realize something. This perfectly represents my attitude in general, which is that I can’t plan for, shop for, or even dream about, having a baby, because it might never happen. The thing is, it will happen. I don’t mean this in the optimistic way that I beleive I will get pregnant and keep a baby, because I don’t fully beleive that. In fact, I don’t think its even necessarily healthy to think that, because it’s entirely possible it won’t happen. What I mean is that if we decide to do it, we can and will adopt. Adoption is terrifying and I’ve spent the past four months pushing it out of my mind completely, but if and when we decide to just do it, we will have a child.
A few months ago, during my second chemical pregnancy, G and I got so fed up we finally decided to get serious about adopting. We still felt like we needed ‘one more try’, but we felt so sure it wouldn’t work that we wanted to have everything in place to start the adoption process as soon as another pregnancy failed. It kept me a little bit more sane to know that plan B was in place. We picked an agency, talked about a lot of the decisions we would have to make, and even talked to my family about it. Then, thyroid testing happened, and the possibility that I might have found a fixable problem entered my mind. It was all over for adoption at that point. Even though I’m trying to be realistic about the chance that just taking a thyroid pill is suddenly going to fix my problem (it probably won’t), just letting that little bit of hope in to my mind has been a game-changer. I’ve been actively avoiding thinking about adoption and instead thinking I just have to be able to do this myself.
It’s not that I hate the idea of adoption itself, really. It’s that I hate the idea of the process, and what comes along with it. I want to beleive that when my baby is in my arms, I will not regret a single thing, but the process is just so terrifying/awful/unfair/expensive. Getting to that end point feels practically impossible, and during the whole process I will know that I didn’t have to be doing it. How would we survive the process and spend all that money knowing that we could have just kept trying? I’m worried that during the wait I’ll feel like I made a huge mistake, or feel insanely guilty.
Then there’s the issue of feeling like I have to share my child. Maybe I’m just being super duper selfish, but I want to feel like I’m the only mother my kid has. The thing is, with adoption, it’s not about you, it’s about the child, and knowing about/having a relationship with their birth family is usually what’s best for the child. Granted, when you have a baby yourself it’s also about the child not you, but there’s still no other family out there you have to share with. It feels like a huge responsibility to handle the birth family stuff the right way, and I just plain don’t wanna. It feels so unfair that I’d have to. And then there’s the horrible worry that I might end up feeling like I don’t bond with or connect with an adopted child enough. Rationally I don’t think this is a real concern, it seems like adoptive parents always have fears about this and it doesn’t end up being a problem. But I’m still scared. I play this horrible game where I look at kids on the train or at the grocery store and think, if that were my child would I be able to bond with them? Sometimes the answer is yes, the kid is so completely adorable I want to just grab them and hug them. But more often the answer is not so positive. Even just writing that I feel like a horrible person who probably doesn’t deserve to adopt. These are all awfully complicated things to try to put into a few paragraphs, but the point is, I’m terrified.
What does all this have to do with the little grey blankie though?? Well, the point is, by focusing on how hard and scary adoption is (well actually, ignoring it by pushing it to the back of my mind and not thinking about it as possible at all), I’m putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to be able to do it naturally. The past few months I’ve felt like I’m just not up for all that adoption entails, so I have to be able to do this myself. Every month I’m not pregnant is a reminder that I’m failing, and if I have the attitude that I have to be able to do it myself, then my failure means no baby ever. That leaves me unbelievably depressed and hopeless about the future.
So instead, what if I forced myself to remember that as hard as it might be, adoption is possible? That I will have a baby one day, however it ends up happening? I brought all of this up with G while we were still laying in bed yesterday morning, and I suggested that we try to remind ourselves that we will one day have our baby by buying something for that baby. Something small and gender neutral, that will likely sit in a closet for a ridiculously long time, but will get used eventually. He was not totally convinced, but was willing to play along.
So, when we went to Target to buy the baby shower gift, we picked out this little grey blankie. Cute isn’t it? It’s super soft, and fits perfectly with what I imagine our boy or girl nursery would (will) look like. This is the first, hopefully of many, things we get to buy for our baby. It may be a long long time, but our baby will eventually be wrapped up in it.
Like I said at the beginning, the jury is still out on whether this little experiment is going to work, or blow up in my face. It could be that before long it starts to be a mocking reminder of my failures, like my couple of maternity shirts hiding in the back of my closet. But so far, I think it’s helping. Yesterday after shopping, G and I went for a nice long walk around a beautiful park. We were both in a pretty good mood, and we talked a little about how the shopping trip went and how we were feeling. We both felt like the shopping trip was much easier than the last time we bought someone a baby shower gift. It could just be something about this particular couple, or maybe it helped to know that we were going to be buying something for ourselves too. We also agreed that we were feeling pretty calm and (mostly) at peace with this month’s BFN. In past months it’s taken me much longer than two days to get to this point, so that seems like a good sign as well. As for the future, we will have to see. The little grey blankie is now sitting on the top shelf of my closet, where it will probably sit for a very long time.