Monday, January 19, 2009

Emotional day!

Today I had a lot going on emotionally.
First there was an appointment with a fertility doctor to see what's up and plan for the future. That went fine. No plans for right now, I've got enough on my plate.

Then I went to Babies R' Us with my pregnant friend, and I parked in the expectant mother spot! Ha!

While walking around the store and looking at so much STUFF, I started to feel anxious and panicky. I don't even know if I need a crib, or what size bed, or clothes and there are 4 sizes of bottles, how am I supposed to know what size to get?

Adoptive mothers.... HELP!

Can you tell me how you PLANNED this? I have no idea when I'm picking her up. How big she'll be. What size car seat to get. Bottles. What kind, there are about 40 different kinds. SIPPY CUPS? No, probably not yet, right?

Also, adoptive moms... please answer this question: When did you start feeling like "a mom"? Was it right when you signed the agency contract? Right after your referral? After the judge said you were a mom? I'm not sure I'm feeling what I'm supposed to be feeling. I look at her picture about 20 times a day. Here are my feelings, you tell me if something is missing: excited, obsessive, scared, worried, relieved her medical seems good, but nothing very maternal yet. I don't feel like I could lift a car, stop a train, lay down my life for her anymore than I would for any infant (I would try for any infant of course). When do THOSE feelings come? Is there something wrong with me? I don't feel the innate connection. It's been two days since I got her picture. How long did it take you adoptive moms?

Then of course in "The Curious Life of Benjamin Button" this afternoon, I saw a little black infant being nursed and immediately felt that "Aww..." and breath catch. The movie was great, but a bit of a tear jerker in a good way. On the way home, I finished up the sad last chapters of an audio book I've been listening to, "The Girls", about conjoined twins who die at age 30. Sniff. Roller coaster of an emotional day! I highly recommend Benjamin Button though, it was really good.

I thought the attachment on my side of things would be instant. But I really don't know what it feels like to "be a mom" yet. I asked my pregnant friend if she already felt maternal towards her baby in utero... I figured if the baby's inside the attachment must be automatic. She said that she felt more like a mom to her dog than to her baby presently, but expects that to change. That was a relief to hear. I didn't feel so deficient then. If she feels that way and her baby is in her stomach 24/7 and has been for 4 months, than maybe I'm expecting too much after 2 days when I've never even met my girl yet and she's 7000 miles away.

Moms, I'd really like to hear from you.

PS. Funny thing since I've been thinking about and reading a lot about trans racial adoption: in Benjamin Button, he is a white baby adopted by a black couple. His bio dad thought he was a monster and wanted to throw him away. Then the black couple find him and she says "He's still a child of God" and they keep him and raise him as their own.


angela said...

Well, I'm not an adoptive parent yet, but I'm relieved you are having these feelings because I have the same concerns. I wondered if I would fall in love with the referral photo. If you want to check it out, I have a post with a couple of comments from adoptive moms from Saturday.

From my inquiry, attachment seems to vary from person to person. Some people feel "it" upon the referral while others don't. I've even read this is sometime the case even after everyone is home. It's normal either way.

Shopping for an adoptive child is overwhelming because I agree, you don't know what to buy. Just the thought of it sends me into a frenzy. Maybe you should wait until you get a court date to purchase age specific items. If you're getting a younger infant, then a crib, car seat, and nursery essentials are safe and appropriate bets. it.

If you're like me, you want to get everything done. During my pregnancy I purchased everything for my newborn in advance but I knew I was having a newborn. This is very different.

Actually, your friend is still early into her pregancy and her feelings at this stage are normal as well. Both of you will probably grow to feel like mommy's along the same time.



When I first saw my daughter’s picture it was “love at first sight,” naturally because she’s a beautiful child but I did not have an instant maternal connection with her. In hindsight, what I needed to connect to her was actually touching her, holding her in my arms, and hearing her breath.

From the moment my daughter was placed in my arms in Ethiopia is when I truly felt like a mother. I guess the same way you feel after you give birth and the nurse places your baby in your arms. I would have to say that it’s comparable to that. And, of course, as time progressed I felt more and more like a mother. Learning my daughter’s personality, taking care of her when she’s sick, holding her in the middle of the night when she cries, and telling her that you love her and she saying it back. These are ALL the things that make me feel maternal.

Don’t worry Michelle, it’s not unusual that you don’t “automatically” feel this earth shattering connection yet, but TRUST me, it will come.


Calmil2 said...

Hi Michelle-I totally agree with the posts above. I am not an adoptive parent yet, but I experienced delayed attachment with my second son. Even when they placed him in my arms I knew he had come out of my body and that he was a cute baby that I had to take care of, but that was it. It wasn't until his personality started to develop and the first time he got sick and I was so worried that I started to attach. I wouldn't be surprised if some women even experience post adoption depression after the "Honeymoon" is over because there is so much excitement leading up to the day your child is placed in your arms. Anyway, I just wanted you to know how "normal" you are, okay I actually don't know you well enough to know if you are "normal", but your feelings are, ha, ha. Ride that roller coaster and hang on tight and be easy on yourself! Harmony

Rebecca said...

Ok, first of all I just saw that you got your referral! Congratulations!

I had a few showers after we received our referral and got quite a bit of stuff for our baby boy; however, since it took us 9 months to get through court (argh!) I didn't get to use a lot of the stuff. During our wait, our periodically went shopping, but Eli outgrew stuff before he even came home! I know that my wait is definitely not the norm, surely you'll go see your daughter very soon! Believe me, you'll have more than enough to take care of your sweet girl! I pretty much went shopping after we made it through court successfully. I bought pretty much everything at that point! :) Don't worry, you'll figure out what you need! How old is your girl now?

When do you feel like a mom? I definitely felt like Eli's mom before we traveled to Ethiopia. But, I know some moms who felt a little indifferent until they brought their baby home. Whatever you feel, it's ok! Everyone has different emotions that they experience at different times.

I can't wait for you to bring your daughter home. Children are definitely a blessing. Eli has brought so much joy into our world!

Good Luck!

J-momma said...

uh, yeah, i didn't feel like a mom until a couple months after getting my son. i'm sort of slow, i guess. mostly i felt like a long-term babysitter. it will happen eventually. even if you're a "late bloomer".

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone. It took awhile for me to bond with my kids. Right after birth I expected to be overwhelmed with feeling, and I was: thank god they're out of there! As someone said, they were adorable and snuggly, but it takes time to feel as if you'd kill for them. (oops did I say kill?). I wonder if it's nature's way of protecting you since not all children used to make it past the first few days, months, years......(though you would think nature would make you bond extra tight for that reason, so you would try to keep them alive). Anyway, for what it's worth. Dani

Kiki said...

Hey, now I’m reading your post about going to Babie’s R Us and wondering when you’re going to feel like a Mom. That’s such a hard thing to say. I don’t know that you can define that feeling. It’s like trying to describe love. It’s different for everyone. I don’t think I felt like a Mom right when Matthew was born. It was more like just a feeling of responsibility, and love of course, but is that technically a “Mom” feeling. What the heck is a Mom feeling? Crying when they do their first school performance or when you get that first scribbled picture to hang on the fridge? I don’t know. That’s such a tough question. Don’t expect to know the answer or feel anything right away. I think it just sneaks up on you and you don’t even realize when it happened.