Monday, November 30, 2009

A Much Awaited Event

Yay! On the way home from my mother's (a 6 hour trip) my son fell asleep in his car seat all by himself for the first time ever. He was just sitting there playing with his starfish toy and then...ZONK!...asleep. Usually there is a lot of crying and singing and pacifier and bottle struggles but not this time. It was awesome and I feel it is a glimpse into the future. Hooray Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Adoption Depression

I started reading Post Partum Progress a long time ago when I was preparing for the birth of my child. I wanted to know all I could about PPD in case I ended up having it so I could treat it as soon as possible. Luckily, I did not experience anything past the expected few days of minor "baby blues" but I've kept with the blog as much as I can because I think it is really interesting. Recently, she took up the subject of Post Adoption Depression which I had never heard of, but which is apparently more common than most people realize.

Katherine (PPP's writer) invited Elizabeth Elias to write about her experience with PAD. These are the parts I found particularly salient.
I felt no bond with her and I was overwhelmed by her needs. I wanted to love her, desperately and immediately. But bonds are not always instant and need to be nurtured. I grew overwhelmed. My guilt over not having instant love for her was huge. She called my name with every breath she took: Momma, momma, momma, momma. I couldn't find my footing. I craved my own space. I knew she needed and deserved for me to step up. This poor child had never had a mother to love her. I wanted to be that person but I failed. I failed daily for a year.

My guilt turned to anger. Rage. Because of her I was proving to be a bad mother. I felt very much alone. I loathed my existence. The guilt was everything I breathed, thought and did. I regretted the adoption. I felt trapped.

The truth is 65% of adoptive mothers go through post-adoption depression. That is a lot of women suffering in silence. The secrecy and the guilt kept me chained much longer in that dark negative space than I needed to be. Now I know that it was nothing that I asked for or deserved, nothing that I had done wrong. The blame did not lay with me either. It was simply a dark experience I was going through. There was nothing to be ashamed about. Nothing to hide.

In the times that I had negative feelings about my birth experience (which alternated with positive feelings) "trapped" was the most accurate description I could have given you for how I felt, closely followed by guilt. I didn't regret having my child at any point, but I had serious doubts about whether I should have had him because I didn't feel like I could possibly be the mother that he needed and deserved. It is lonely, and if I hadn't had an excellent support system to back me up, I think the loneliness could have easily become overwhelming. I think most mothers have a lot of guilt surrounding these types of feelings because we're generally taught that motherhood means an instant and blissful bond and a joyful feeling of family completion. To be sure, I was thrilled that my son was here, but there were lonely difficult times too that the world at large never really tells you about. I'm really glad there are sites like this that let women know that it's okay to have these feelings and to share them and if needed to seek out treatment. I think the shame and the hiding is a big part of what leads to the tragedies.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Speaking of Complaints and Good Stuff


I am sick of busting my ass just to have certain individuals fall all over themselves to let me know that my parenting style is crazy/over-protective/unnecessary.

1) I pick up my child everytime he cries as long as I am physically able to do so because that feels right to me. Think that will "spoil" him? Tough. I don't. Not what you did/do with your children? Fine. It IS what I do. Get over it.

2) I am still nursing and plan to continue to do so until... Whenever the hell we both feel like stopping. Period. No one outside the nursing relationship is entitled any feelings on the matter. So suck on that! (ha!)

3) I make my child's baby food. It is cheaper, more nutritious, and I can be reasonably sure it's done correctly and hygenically. It is just practical for me to do this. It is not in any way excessive.

End Complaints

Good Stuff:

My baby has shown me that having a soft squishy belly is awesome. He loves to knead it and squish it and zerbert it and it is so funny to watch. For the first time in my life I love my belly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Opting In

Disclaimer: Posts won't always be like this, but I think it makes a good intro.

My life is currently in a place that I never expected it to be. I never planned to get married. I just didn't see any real upside and firmly believed that love didn't really exist. I planned on adopting a child or children at some point, but not until I was firmly established in a career.

Now in my twenties I'm married (to a man I love very much) and I'm a stay at home mom to a 6 month old infant. I like my life, but there are times when it's a little hard to get my head around what's happened and not feel like I've given up or something. I'm not accustomed to being supported financially so I feel like a burden to my husband even though he makes it clear that he does not feel this way. I'm pretty isolated because we've recently moved to a new area, and actually I was already kind of isolated because none of my friends from before we moved have kids so they don't really get the stress I'm under.

And I'm under a lot of stress which is why I need to talk to someone. Even if no one ever reads this and I'm just typing out into the ether. I need a release. I love my son and I'd do anything for him. I'm glad I don't have to miss all these moments as he grows and develops, but it is a lot to handle and no one I interact with seems to understand that. I'm on 24/7. I'm always mommy. I haven't done a single thing just for myself (until right now I guess) in 6 months, and I have to do this very late at night when I really should be sleeping.

But I've realized something today. I'm not giving up. I'm opting into a new future and a new adventure. So while there will be complaints along the way, and there will be conflicts between me and society's image of motherhood, and there will be moments of self-doubt, I've decided not to take this opportunity for granted. I'm hoping this blog will help me do that. And maybe sometimes I'll even have time to be coherent and interesting, but that would just be icing.