A little grey blankie

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.

blankieSo, 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.


13 thoughts on “A little grey blankie

  1. I think that sounds like a healthy, forward-moving step. I can relate to all the mental ‘what-ifs’ and hypotheticals…it can be maddening. We haven’t discussed adoption (although I think we would both be open to that if it came to that), but I think we are both thinking that we will play this natural conception on our own out, and then, if not, adoption. I wish with adoption, someone would just make it easy and put a baby on your doorstep! I love the idea of a reminder. My friend said I should start ‘nesting’ and slowly get things ready around here. Don’t know if I’m quite ready for that step of faith, but a blankie sounds like a good one!

  2. I don’t think it’s self torture. I think it’s healthy to be optimistic. It reminds me of when I used to buy stuff for my house when I was in college (a house I didn’t own and had no idea of when I’d ever own one). I always thought I’d get a house so I just started buying stuff. It made me excited to think about the ‘some day’. Hmmm.. now you have me thinking.. why not?

  3. I did the same thing last Spring when baby shower shopping for a friend. I was worried about “jinxing” something by buying it, but I think it was actually comforting to have that in my closet, waiting.
    I feel similarly to you about adoption. I know I would do it, but I don’t wanna “share” my child with his/her birth family. And I know that would be best for the child, so I would, but it seems like a hard thing to feel OK with.
    I think it’s great that you bought the blanket. Being optimistic and looking forward with a positive attitude can only help!

  4. You know, there is actually a beleif in russian culture that if you buy yourself a baby gift, you will soon be pregnant! 😉 So who knows? Maybe its true! Wishing you to use this gift you got very soon!


  5. It’s hard to put into words without sounding awful, but my thoughts about adoption go something like this: Just because I cannot have a biological child doesn’t mean that I am automatically willing and able to take on the enormous responsibility of being an adoptive mother—one does not equal the other, although the world seems to think it does. Oh, you can’t have biological children? Just adopt! So what if a vast majority of adoptees are special needs children—you should be able to adapt to that because you are infertile (this really is the logic). So what if you have to include the birth family in your future family plans—no big deal, you are infertile, so you automatically have special powers that enable you to adapt to that, too. Long way of saying, no judgment—I get it. It’s huge scary territory, and those who have been through what we’ve been through are tired—just thinking of the energy it would take to contact an agency right now makes me tired. I also understand your fears that the blanket will mock you—I have a children’s book right now that is mocking me. But all we can do is make these small acts of faith. I think it is ultimately a good thing to do, buy the blanket, keep the maternity blouse, keep the path open. I’m with you on that path, peering down, toward what might be light.

    • It’s so true, there’s nothing ‘just’ about adoption. The only thing scarier for me than adoption at this point is the idea of never having kids at all, so I guess it’s a step forward to remember that as hard and unfair as adoption feels, at least I’d have a child at the end. I need to know that the plan B is there, even though I’m so not ready to deal with it yet.

      • I was just talking to a friend about exactly that tonight—even though adoption seems nearly impossible right now, have to believe it is possible, have to remember there are other options, have to work on feeling not trapped. It really is a step forward and you are brave for having made it, and if you get to that path, you’ll have the resources you need to get through it, you show them every day. And I’ve been thinking about your blankie in a kind of awe—that was brave, too. I thought I could do something similar this holiday season, buy some baby things, but I just don’t know if I’ll have the strength. But it sounds so healthy and optimistic. The act of someone who is not willing to give in to helplessness, or give up her dreams.

  6. First I want to say how sorry I am that it has taken me this long to come over and comment on your blog. I thought I had put your link into my blogger feed, but I guess I didn’t. Fixed that problem! You have always left such kind and thoughtful comments on my blog, and I can’t believe I’ve been such a poor blogger friend. But onto the important things–I love the idea of letting yourself buy things for your future child(ren). That blanket looks so soft and snuggly. And I love reminding yourself that you WILL be parents one day. I also think letting yourself buy a few baby items is a healing step, a tangible way of allowing yourself to dream a little. I bought some nursery wallpaper after my early loss in March, and even though it does make me sad some days to see it in a box, I don’t regret buying it. One day we will put these things to good use.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and yes, I sure hope your wallpaper gets used soon as well. I’ve always really enjoyed reading your blog, I’m glad to count you as a blogger-friend :).

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