Monday, August 11, 2014

Secret Thoughts of a "Pre-Adoptive" Mother

I am currently reading, "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother", by Jana Wolff. Can you tell where I got this post's title from? ;)

We are preparing to re-start our home-study. As the reality of a future adoption sinks in, I've been feeling apprehensive. I couldn't quite put my finger on the cause of this anxiety until a recent infertility support group meeting.

As I was sharing about our hopes to adopt, I realized that I'm afraid I won't be a good mom, especially to a newborn. Yet, I really want the experience of mothering our children as newborns.

With my nephew and newest niece.
Let me explain.

I've wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. Growing up I dreamed of a big family and dreamed of how to incorporate faith and traditions into our family life. I've always wanted to be a mom, but I've never been a "newborn" or "baby" person.

Weird, I know.

I remember coffee and donuts after Mass when I was in middle school. My friends would take turns holding the newest babies of our moms' friends as we munched on donuts. I was never interested in the baby holding. I'm the oldest of seven, and never minded holding or caring for my little siblings, but I viewed coffee and donuts as social time, and a break from being a helpful big sister.

As a teenager I started babysitting. When babysitting a baby, it seemed like the minutes would i-n-c-h by. I felt trapped and anxious. Eventually I just stopped babysitting, unless it was for older kids.

During our infertility group a few weeks ago, one gal shared that she really enjoys holding newborns. Since infertility I've become even less interested in holding babies (am I a horrible person?).

Let me say that I do LOVE toddlers and older kiddos! For example, when my nieces and nephews start talking I really bond with them. We have lots of fun playing dolls, blowing bubbles, or gathering pine cones.

Gathering pine cones with my niece and nephew...a very important job!

Mike blowing bubbles with our super cute goddaughter.
I've had these fears on my mind for awhile. In my 20s, before we even started trying to conceive, I voiced these concerns to friends and family. They always assured me that it would be different "When I have my 'own'". I don't doubt them.

But....when we adopt, the little one won't be our "own" in the sense that he or she will have grown in my belly for nine months. I know for sure that I will love them, and that they will be our son or daughter, but I think it may take awhile for our adopted child to feel like our "own". Being a mom is one of the most important vocations I will have in life and I know it is not easy. There are lots of mundane days, sleepless nights, and challenging moments. I'm fearful that when we bring our baby home I won't be a good mom, or won't be able to bond with our newborn.

Thankfully my hubby is A-Mazing with babies. Much more of a pro than me. It makes me wonder, maybe he should be a stay-at-home dad for the first few years? Yet, I know mothers play a very important role in nurturing and loving their children, and I've always wanted to be home to care for them. I just wish I didn't feel so inadequate and overwhelmed when it comes to parenting a newborn.

I haven't quite resolved all of this. It might have to work itself out when our little one comes home. In the meantime I'm praying for grace, peace, and guidance as adoption gets closer.

God bless your week! Thanks for stopping by!

21 comments:

  1. I had the same anxieties and fears about adoption ... being a good mom ... feeling like a mom ... bonding ... I was scared. It is easy to say and hard to do, but don't be scared! Yes, initially, it will be "weird" that you will have a baby in your arms and your total care that first day, but after leaving the hospital and taking baby home, it becomes easier. You can enjoy being a family in the presence of your own home ... just the three of you. And your bond with baby will grow. And love will grow. I *know* you will be an amazing mom!!!
    I think for me, the first 4-6 weeks being at home with the baby are important. It is so neat to see their little personalities as they grow. Plus, they are adorable - that always helps the love and bonding process. <3
    My DH has stayed at home with my son these last 1.5 years. He is doing great! I wish I could be at home, but with jobs as they are, I'm in the workforce. I know your DH will be a great stay at home dad if he decides to stay home! It is a hard decision to make.

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    1. Thank you so so so much for your insights and words of encouragement. I'm glad to hear you bonded over the first 4-6 weeks. I hope that is the case for us, even though I am not a "newborn" person. I didn't realize you were working and hubby at home. That might be the case for us too, especially for the first year or so, so I'm glad to hear it is working for your family. It makes me feel a little better. How long did you take off? I am thinking 6 weeks, but not sure if that will be enough.

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  3. I pop over here from JBTC from time to time. If it makes you feel any better at all, I didn't think I was a baby person and I had "one of my own." And I still sat around the second week (my first week by myself) and thought "now what?" Babies are not as much fun as toddlers. But through the mundane there are bright moments and when you can settle the baby down because you know how they prefer to be held/burped/etc it's a pretty awesome ego boost. Truthfully, these fears cannot be relieved until you're in the thick of it, but I do believe that even for non-baby people they at least find a happy medium with their own however the journey that brought them there.

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    2. Thanks for much for saying "hi" and for stopping by!!! I'm glad to hear that you had an adjustment period with your baby. That is beautiful to think that a little baby will one day prefer to be held by me...wow. ...I'm going to focus on and look forward to that experience. This is probably just something that I will have to adjust to in the moment. Thanks for your insights.

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  4. I did a lot of babysitting when I was a tween/teen. I loved the babies. I remember this one baby that just screamed and screamed when his mother left. I would cry too because it was relentless. I then would just try to get his attention diverted...with his sisters or with some kind of toy. One day I screamed back and cried with him...he laughed and didn't scream again. There. He just had horrible separation issues going on. My dh did admit that he really doesn't have experience with newborns...I loved holding my newborn nieces and nephews or friends babies. I had no issues with that. I just don't connect well with teens...my dh is better in that area. So, we'll find each others strengths when or if we do adopt.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts.

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    1. That is an awesome story!!!! It made me smile, and feel encouraged. Thank you for sharing. It does feel like of weird, because my DH is more of a baby person than me. I'm glad that he likes babies though, it is so cute to see him with them.

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  5. For most of my life I wasn't much of a baby person, either; I vastly preferred baby sitting for older children and mostly specialized in toddlers and school aged kids. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "It might have to work itself out when our little one comes home. In the meantime I'm praying for grace, peace, and guidance as adoption gets closer."

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    1. I think it will end up being "sink or swim" when baby comes home. I'm glad i'm not the only one who preferred toddlers and school aged kids.

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  6. Aww, this is precious! I love the pics! Praying for you!

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  7. Have you been reading my mind?! =) I have so many of these same fears. I'm not a "baby person" either and frankly was terrified of babies until after college! Seriously - a college professor asked me to babysit his four young kids once and I must have turned white because he immediately said, "it's okay - you don't have to!"

    I worry about the pressure of being an adoptive mother, which maybe is related. Like you went to all this effort to adopt a child and now you better do it right/perfectly! Don't know if you've ever had the same thought.

    My hunch is there are lots of moms - bio and adoptive - who go through a big learning curve when they are caring for their infant. I'm sure there's tons to learn and I'm sure all moms make a lot of mistakes, but thank God infancy doesn't last forever! I find toddlers easier to connect with, although I have matured since college and can now enjoy time with infants too =)

    Anyway - for me, I just remember that if the time comes and I actually become a mother, there will be lots of help from friends & family and lots of growth in humility and learning how to love in a new way! You can do it!!!

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    1. I"m so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I think there is a lot of pressure on adoptive moms, but it's probably mostly self-inflicted pressure. Also, I am pretty sure that bio moms are way too tough on themselves too. You are so right, thankfully our family and friends will be there for us. I never thought of it as a way to grow in humility, but how true. And, what a blessing to have our hearts and minds and bodies stretched to love in a new way. It is both scary and exciting.

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  8. I'm excited for you that you're moving forward with your home study. And I'm sure it's normal to have fears like you mentioned, but not everyone has a network of other moms-to-be and moms who've already walked down this road reading your blog ready to reassure you and answer your questions. You're not alone. :) You can do this!! And I think you'll make a wonderful mom. :)

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    1. you are so right, I'm so blessed.what an amazing gift to have the support of other women through the blogging community.

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  9. I don't think I have any good advice here, but I'm soooo happy you shared your secret thoughts with us! Looks like you got some great feedback AND it seems you're not the only one with these secret thoughts. :) I just know you two are going to be amazing parents. I can't wait to see where this journey takes you!

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  10. I felt the same about my bio children...maybe for some women attachment to babies is a process...it was for me! Also never really thought of myself as a baby person. God bless you guys!

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    1. Jen, you are such a great mom!!!! it's encouraging to hear that you felt the same way too.

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