Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is This Your First?

Since becoming pregnant I have had an internal struggle. I wanted to enjoy every moment of my long-awaited pregnancy, but I also did not want to ever forget everything I had been through to get there. Most importantly I wanted to be sensitive to all those who have struggled with infertility and who those are still in the trenches.

I have dealt with my fair share of unsurprising comments since revealing our news:

"That's what happens when you adopt."
"I knew it would happen eventually."
"I know so many people who got pregnant after adopting." (and they delve into names of people they know)

I understand that most people don't get it. These comments are untrue and quite insensitive. But people want to focus on the good news, not the bad. They don't want to rehash all that AJ and I went through and the days when we were telling people we didn't know if we would ever have kids.
These comments dismiss infertility and also suggest that adoption is a means to an end.

But, don't worry friends. When I hear these types of things, I make sure the commenter gets a dose of the difficult and sad truth about infertility.

Pregnancy does not happen for everyone- whether they adopt or not. The birth of a baby does not happen for everyone- despite getting pregnant multiple times. I make sure they hear from me that there are thousands and thousands of people who pregnancy will never happen for.

It doesn't always end up this way.

And every time I utter the words, my heart falls in my stomach because I feel the pain of infertility. I will never stop feeling the pain completely if not for myself but for everyone who has to go through it.

On the flip side, I have found one particular question from strangers quite difficult to answer.

There are several questions every pregnant woman hears repeatedly-

How are you feeling?
When is your due date?
Do you know if it's a boy or girl?

Is this your first?

I know what people mean. Do you have any other children? Are you a first-time mom?
But this is such a loaded question for me. Sometimes I pity the person that asks it- an innocent question posed to a stranger or acquaintance just to make conversation.  Uh, do you have a few hours?

I have found myself answering this question differently to different people, however.

"Is this your first?"

"No, my third."

Their reactions have prompted further conversation in some cases.

"Oh, so you've been down this road before! You're an expert on pregnancy."

(thinking to myself)  Well, no this is my first...

See? Confusing.

In some cases, I have proceeded to explain that I have two adopted boys and this pregnancy was not expected to happen. I am a mother but yes, this is my first pregnancy.

Several people have shown emotion when hearing my explanation- tears in their eyes. This has been particularly touching since they were complete strangers or casual acquaintances. It made me feel like they understood how special this baby is. These are the people who failed to come up with an insensitive comment. Thanks goodness for them!

But I have also had to put up with every one's expertise on making babies and how "that's usually the way." 

Once I started showing and it was obvious to the average person that I was expecting, it was nice to have the anonymity of being any old regular pregnant lady. But truthfully it has been difficult for me to sink into that role. When I am in public or I do get a casual question from someone, most of the time I slip by as though this baby happened the way I thought it would when I was 26 - easily. But I am different and I always will be. I have a life experience that has changed me and changed the way I look at pregnancy and parenting.

And even now when I look at myself, I am amazed. For everyone who has supported my husband and I, thank you. For everyone who has pulled for us during this close to 9 year saga, we are so grateful. And to everyone who has read my story and who visits this blog, I hope that you have found peace in your journey or will find peace with your path to parenthood.

I have 10 weeks left in this pregnancy. Baby is due to arrive in 68 days.


Amy said...


Ok, now onto the question.

The dreaded question! Yes, that is always asked and I don't know why it matters. I was asked this nearly every day with my subsequent pregnancy. Every day. At work. It sucked. Sometimes I would just say "no" which would lead to the next question about having other kids, to which I would respond honestly by saying "yes a boy and he would be turning 5". Most people don't catch the "would". Sometimes I would just dismissively say "uh-uh" and try to look very busy. Sometimes I would say in one breath "no my first son died soon after birth so this is a big deal". Some people would leave it alone. Some people would give the insensitive followup comments you have heard. No matter how I answered my heart would beat faster and I would struggle in the moment with out to answer. I wish this question was not so loaded for you or for me. Not sure where I wrote about this on my blog but I did. It's hard.

Wishing you an uneventful 10 weeks of kicks, night tinkles and chocolate eating.

Amy said...

Here you go :

Heather said...

I cringe whenever I hear someone say "oh, see when you decide to adopt you end up pregnant. I knew you would." ARGH. The last thing I want to do is help perpetuate a myth. When I was pregnant with E, I struggled to fit in with all the fertiles around me. This time it is a little easier, probably because chasing around an 18 month old leaves little time for other thoughts. Lol! You look great and April will be here before you know it.

AnotherDreamer said...

I can definitely understand how loaded the questions can be. I can't imagine how I would handle those comments and assumptions (especially the "getting pregnant after adopting" myth, or in my case the "getting pregnant after infertility"- while I'm not there yet, many people assume it will happen like that). Anyway, I am so glad that things are still going smoothly, and I hope that they continue that way.

Lorrie said...

Very well said. You look great!

leahjane8 said...

I am so happy for you. I started following you a long time ago but have only sporadically been reading blogs or writing on my own for the last year or so. I didn't know you were pregnant! And I'm sorry that people say dumb or insensitive things. Every single time someone asks me if my son is my only child I say yes, but I think of the baby that I lost and think "No, he is my second." Infertility and loss are so very complicated. Bravo to you for telling the truth.

luna said...

first that last line -- SO very exciting!!!

with baby Z born at 33 wks, I never got to be that pregnant. still at times I felt like the most welcome stranger in my own body. so surreal.

I get completely what you're saying too, about the comments. as you know I had a very similar experience. love this post. so very happy for you! and interested to read how you will adjust, eventually, as I do.

Kristin said...

That is one of the most beautiful pictures I have seen in a long time. I am so thrilled that you are getting to experience this miracle.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I've been waiting to see such a pic of you :-). Beautiful!

I'm glad you're educating people who say things from a place of not-knowing.


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