Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why I'm Not Bitter

I've been feeling the need to blog about this for some time now. But when my sweet friend Jessa posted this, it gave me that final nudge I needed to sit down and type this out.

Once we adopted our lil Nathan, I took a huge step back from the online adoption community. 
One, to simply savor finally being a mother. But also because I felt whole now. 
More on this later. 
Lately I've noticed a lot of non-positive emotions from some of the adoption blogs I follow and that's what originally led me to start mentally writing this blog post. Then my sweet friend Jessa was verbally attacked for complaining about things related to her pregnancy. 
At first I was appalled.
How could someone actually have the audacity to tell someone "be quiet and be thankful"?? 
I felt sad for that person. 
Sad that they are so consumed with their bitterness and longing for a child, that they can't bear to hear anyone complain about their pregnancy. 

Obviously, I can understand their pain. I've been there. 
But I'm sorry, morning sickness and vomiting - 
even coupled with the gratitude of being pregnant - would still suck.

As I've reflected on my reaction to her experience and the attitudes of others I've realized,
I'm not bitter.

Let me rewind to a few years back.
We were still trying to get pregnant.
We were hopeful but seeing that period show up every month was starting to really hurt.
To my surprise, every one of my sister-in-law's got pregnant that year.
I was upset we hadn't,
but my emotions didn't turn to bitterness against them.
One sweet sister felt she needed to tell me privately before telling the whole family.
Until she did that it never occurred to me that anyone would need to do such a thing.
And she still didn't need to do that, though I appreciate her sweet thought in doing so.
It hadn't occurred to me until that moment that others might be anxious of being pregnant around me.
I was surprised. But also now aware.
I didn't want to be one of those people who bitterly attended baby showers.
Or that people avoided inviting altogether.
So even though we were struggling to get pregnant, surrounded by those who were blessed to be so, 
I chose not to take out our struggles on them. 
Fast forward to one Monday evening in April 2009.
Gavin lovingly told me he felt we should adopt.
My very first reaction was that I was crushed.
And I cried.
I honestly had felt like I had failed as a woman right then.
Like I had been given a pink slip for womanhood.
"I'm sorry, you're no good. You can't have babies.You're fired."
Obviously, I knew that was the complete opposite of our situation.
I felt the Spirit calm my heart. 
I felt then that there was a special little someone who needed to come to our family this way.
So I let go of my pride.
But not yet my sadness.
After our decision I had some really short menstrual cycles.
It was crazy enough to get me to a new OB/GYN.
He was awesome and gave us new hope of getting pregnant.
We did more tests. Found some more answers. And got more questions.
At that point, one of the answers we received indicated that we may never be able to get pregnant. 
We were both devastated of course.
Thankfully we came across some literature that told us it was okay to grieve.
To grieve for the special journey of procreation that we may never be able to take part in.
To grieve for the mini-Gavin and mini-Shauna we may never have.
I'm so grateful we took that advice and let ourselves grieve.
It made all the difference.
I personally was able to say to myself,
"Okay self, we may never have an adorable mini-Gavin with red hair running around. Or a mini-you with a head of curls. But we're ok, right?"
And amazingly I was.

Wanna know why?
Because I realized we hadn't been trying to get pregnant for the sake of experiencing pregnancy.
We had been trying to get pregnant to become parents.
And I felt someday, through the blessing of adoption, we would be parents.

Less than a year later we were in the hospital holding our son.
Despite what we all had thought he would look like, he came out looking like Gavin, with red orange hair.
Who knew God cared so much about us to bless us with that miracle? 

One thing he said was "forget not to be happy now". He talked about the children's story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and how all the people were searching for that golden ticket in the chocolate bars.
They became so obsessed with finding the golden ticket that they stopped taking joy in the actual chocolate bar itself.
This sums up perfectly what I feel right now. 
Pregnancy wasn't my golden ticket.
Being a mother was.
And I am one.
Would I like to be able to bear our children?
But instead I take shallow comfort that my hips are the same as they were when I was 18 (except with maybe a little more padding),
that I have a beautiful son I get to play with every day, 
a loving and wonderful husband who happens to be my best friend,
and a home of our own.
And, with the exception of the hips, aren't those the things most important in life? 
They're the things most important to me.
And they're why I feel happy every day.


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