When I imagined getting pregnant, I thought of people taking extra care of me, watching out for me because I was carrying a growing child. I thought of all the cute maternity clothes I would buy and how I would get compliments about how beautiful I looked. I have no way of knowing exactly how "cute" I would look, but I know I would have fun putting on my first maternity pants (yea, no buttons) and shirt.
I imagined my husband doting on me, getting out of some house work, and having my mom take me out shopping to buy newborn outfits and booties. We would put the sonogram picture on the fridge and get one of those little kits for imprinting the newborn's hands and feet.
As I was around more and more pregnant women, unable to get pregnant myself, these images of attention on the mommy-to-be, the coddling became real. I have no idea if pregnant women really like the spotlight they're under for 10 months, but when you cannot have it, it looks quite appealing.
During the really tough years I just could not force myself to ask a pregnant woman questions about her pregnancy- names, nursery decor, her feelings on being pregnant. I could not stick around for the answers because a lump would form in my throat as soon as I sucked myself into the conversation. I may have seemed cold to some people. To this day I have a hard time holding newborns and young babies. First it does not come naturally to me, but it is also painful to see the brilliance of their being. Their very first days and weeks in this life are miraculous and I am left to wonder what that must feel like as a parent.
As the notion of pregnancy for me faded into a fuzzy image, unreal and unattainable, one of the hardest things was the fact that I would never feel special the way an expectant mother through pregnancy feels. This is before we decided to adopt. This is before I learned the joys of expectancy through adoption.
I dreamed of the day we would surprise everyone with the news of our long awaited pregnancy. I envisioned screeches of joy and being enveloped in suffocating hugs. I saw little wrapped boxes ending up on our doorstep as news of the pregnancy we had waited so long for reached friends and family.
After making the decision to halt medical intervention to conceive all of these dreams piled on top of one another and pushed me into a black hole. The hope I would muster up before each procedure, after each surgery, and each negative pregnancy test ended up deflating like a vacuum sucking the air out of balloon. I had no energy to keep refilling those balloons only to continue to watch them float away.
Infertility levelled the playing field between husband and wife. We were in this pregnancy thing together. After we decided to adopt the steps we needed to take had to be done together. There were no ultrasounds or watching my belly grow, making sure I did not lift heavy things. We signed papers, filled out forms, and figured out financing. My body did not hold any secrets that my husband could not experience. I couldn't feel the first kick and call him at work.
But I was able to call him when I received the phone call we would be having a boy. We cried over together finally feeling like our dreams would be fulfilled.
Waiting for our son to come off the plane to be together as a family, we stood side by side taking in all the sounds and sights of the bussling airport. Equally we were 2 people ready to enter the realm of parenthood, and even though we were probably thinking different thoughts and feeling different emotions, I am positive we felt extremely happy, a little nervous and love- lots of love.
Experiencing infertility and then adoption forced us to investigate parenthood with a magnifying glass. We each had to deal with big questions about becoming a parent. We had to come to terms with our personal challenges and ultimately come together on those thoughts and feelings.
Waiting for our son to come home allowed my husband and I to feel special together and equally. Together we planned for our new life as parents to a beautiful little boy. We did receive those little boxes and bags with tokens of love inside for us and our son. What I had been imagining all those years may not have looked exactly the same, but the gifts we received through adoption were and are more than I could have ever dreamed.