Oh, man, you know when you read a blog post and you didn't realize you had so much to say until you read that post? I love when this happens; I love a good spring board.
I just read Production not Reproduction 's post about things "I don't have to think about".
A few really hit home:
Today I don't have to think about how to answer the question "How many children do you have?" Ugh. I have gone through so many phases of comfort with this question. Way before I had Jeb, I was so new in my birthmotherhood that I proudly shouted that I had a child. I told anyone and everyone about open adoption, and about my son. Then, still before I had Jeb, I got a little more private, and would still talk about my experience when the conversation turned to birth (because I just couldn't deny the fact that I'd given birth), and used words/phrases like "not parenting", and "placed in an open adoption", and "future birth siblings", ect. Then, it got harder when I was pregnant with Jeb. Is this your first? "Um, kind of..." was the true-est answer I could come up with. Sometimes I would just say "yes, this is my first", and feel guilty, but you know what? The lady in the grocery store doesn't want to know the whole story. And she shouldn't have to be understanding of the fact that every flipping pregnant woman coming through her line might be sensitive to such a question! I always struggled with whether or not giving the "easy" answer would hurt Colin. I can handle most of the schmudge that is adoption, but I never wanted to "deny" him, my son, my blood, my love. And now--now that I don't have to 'fess up during talks of pregnancy and birth, since everyone I talk to knows I'm parenting Jeb, it's gotten slightly easier. But I'm still more private than I was back in those early days. Just this week Colin came up in conversation with someone who didn't know (it's so hard to remember who knows what, and I'm so comfortable with all of it that I occasionally reference Colin in conversation with people who don't know my story), and I had to explain. I struggled. Well, I didn't struggle in the typical sense, but sometimes I just want to stick a thumbdrive into people so they can get caught up and I don't have to answer the same stupid questions over and over and over; or smile and nod as they tell me how brave and wonderful I was. (And? When I realize someone is just learning that I am a birthmom, all I can think is "oh, here we go, dammit I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut!" Not because I don't want to talk about it, but most people are just so damned ANNOYING about it and DON'T GET IT. An I'm over the education part of this journey. For now, anyway.) This turned into a serious ramble, but the real answer is that it is always tricky to tell people how many kids I have. I want to maintain our collective privacy, without being dishonest, and without denying my son. /end rant.
Today I don't have to think about a professional treating me differently when I answer their questions about pregnancies and number of children at home. Yes, yes, yes. Remember when I had that ridiculous cyst on my forehead? I accidentally got into an awkward convo with the friggin' dermatologist about my medical history. He was just taking a general history, and Jeb was on my lap, and he asked a very benign question "one child?", (see above), and I answered that no, I've had 2 sons, the other is 12 but I don't parent him. Um, DUH? The derm doesn't really need to know about my reproductive history, and more?!?!?! I didn't have to even bring up that I wasn't parenting!! I could have said that I also have a 12 year old, so as to stay honest on the medical front, but left it at that since he could have just been in school! I was so caught off guard, and for the rest of the appt, I felt weird. "not parenting" could also mean I was an asshole and my parents had to step in and take my kid because I wasn't doing a good job. Blah. This stuff happens more often than you'd think. Colin exists, I gave birth to him, it happened, so when someone asks something that brings him up in my mind, I don't/can't lie. It's not calculated, it's just what happens when someone asks you about something that's real.
Today I don't have to think about people using one of the most painful decisions of my life as ammunition in their debate over abortion. Holy shit, YES. I can't fucking stand the pro-lifers' argument "How about ADOPTION!!" Barf. I can understand many many of the arguments from the pro-life side. But telling women that adoption is such a fantastic, and easy thing to do? And you'll be an angel of life! And there are wonderfully attractive and morally upstanding and infertile couples out there! Don't you just want to make their dreams come true! They even have a nursery all.ready.to.go!!!! You are denying "good" couples from being parents if you abort!----Disgusting. I have zero regret. I am happy with my choice to carry a pregnancy and then place my baby. But that has nothing to do with ANYONE ELSE'S DECISION. I can't tell you how many people have used my decision to argue their pro life stance. And I'm pro choice!! I don't want to be anyone's poster child. Just because adoption was right for me doesn't mean it's right for anyone else. It's hard. And it sucks sometimes. Being pregnant knowing I wasn't going to parent s.u.c.k.e.d. I wouldn't suggest placing to anyone; it's got to come from within.
So, I'd like to close with a few of my own statements, in the same vein as Production's post, but from a different perspective.
Today I don't have to think about how Jeb's first mother is feeling.
Today I don't have to wonder from whom he got his big brown eyes.
Today I don't have to hear stupid remarks about who is Jeb's "real" mother.
Today I don't have to think about money, or time, or another woman, when I think about growing my family.
To this day, I have never had a Social Worker. I've never had to prove anything to anyone in order to be a mom.
Today, when Jeb had a fit, it didn't cross my mind that it could be something deeper. Whenever he has a hard time in the future I won't have to wonder if there is a sense of loss driving his behavior.
I know this has gotten long, but it was so terrific to see my perspective understood by another member of the triad. My goal is to understand, as much as possible, other members of the triad. Not only to help me understand Colin better, which is obviously my huge goal, but to understand his parents better and my husband's place in it all better, and Jeb's place in it better, and the list goes on.