10 Weeks of Real Life


Sometimes I need a picture to know that this is real. To know that I am deserving of this gift of motherhood. D has been with us for 10 weeks. Life as we knew it changed in a moment. It hasn’t been easy. Everything changed with no time to process. In fact, motherhood felt less natural this time. My love for D was instant, but “mother” is still taking time. I’m in shock that I have been given this privilege and honor. It really can feel unbelievable.

When we were all in the hospital together, the nurses came in and fussed over D's birth mom; making sure she had everything she needed to feel comfortable, she was, after all, their patient. We were more visitors in her hospital room than anything else during that time. They would breeze in and out, “You good, mom?”, “You need anything, mom?”.

And then she left, choosing to be discharged before D. She walked out of her hospital room, leaving us there. Moments later, the same nurses came in, and without missing a beat, started to refer to me as “mom”.

“Let’s take him down to the nursery mom”, “Do you know the last time he’s eaten mom?”.

While I was so grateful for that kindness and sensitivity, it was a word that didn’t feel like it belonged to me yet. It didn’t feel real.

My motherhood is based on another mother’s choice to say goodbye to her child. This is an extremely difficult pill to swallow.

A child belongs with his or her mother. Both of my children belonged with their first mothers until those women made a life altering, unimaginable and deeply painful decision to place their child. Only then did I become a mother. My children are my greatest joy, and yet I wish adoption plans didn’t have to be made, no matter how ethical and open.

I tiptoed into motherhood with R’s birth mom, experimenting with what it felt like to experience my motherhood with another mother as the first part of the story.

This time, I walk more boldly with D’s birth mom by my side. I’m not scared when she shows up in my thoughts and heart. I welcome her into my experiences more freely.

During the match period with both boys, I worried that I didn’t “just know”. That there was no feeling of “this is my child” when we were chosen by their expectant mothers. I read about some prospective adoptive moms feeling this way. I thought this meant that something was going to go horribly wrong. I thought it was a sign that the adoption plan would be disrupted. Now, having gone through the process twice I believe not having the, “this is my child” feeling during the match period (albeit 3 months or 20 hours) was a positive thing. I think I knew on some level that these baby boys were not my children until their first mother made that decision. Yes, they were mine to daydream about and love and hope for, but they were not my sons.

After loving my first born and becoming a mother, I understood a mothers love in a way that I didn’t prior to having a child. So, when D came along, the realization that one woman would relinquish her legal rights to be a mother felt far more devastating than it had with R. Driving to the hospital in Buffalo, I felt sick. I didn’t think it would happen.

I had felt a mother’s love. I knew what she would be sacrificing by placing D in my arms. I wanted to ask her: How were you brave enough, strong enough?

How did you do it? And why me? Why? Why? Why?

She knew us from a Shutterfly book.

And now D is my child. He is my joy.

He is my chill, gentle, easy going Doodle.A perfect blend with my fiery, passionate, sparkler boy R.

To see my motherhood in a photograph is helpful for me. It helps make it real.

Are you his real mother?

Where is his real mother?

Are they real brothers?

Real.

That word has become something I need to defend and stand up for; the realness of me. The realness of my love. The realness of my relationship with my child. The realness of my sons’ relationship to one another. The realness of their birth families. All of this, I assure you, is real. This is very real.

Except, somehow it feels like a dream. Pinch me. Ten times over. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is SO HARD. I am so tired, and we’re broke, and two kids is a lot. And yet, I don’t know what we did to deserve this gorgeous family. Xx