I’ve started holding babies again.
It may not sound like anything peculiar but since J was born I haven’t wanted to hold small, new babies. Once they get to six months or so I’ll deal with them but new babies made me shut down emotionally. I wanted nothing to do with them. I’ve been really working on being more open, more vulnerable, more emotionally accessible; one of the byproducts of this work is that I like babies.
I’ve started thinking about being a mother.
I wasn’t sure about parenting before I became pregnant with J but I loved kids and knew it was possible I’d one day be a parent. After J I thought I was doing him some kind of favor by remaining a mess, keeping my life a disaster so that he would look at me and be grateful that I didn’t parent him. I told myself for 18 years that I didn’t want to be a parent. I told myself I’d be a lousy parent. Part of this process of breaking myself open brought up questions of parenting. I fully realize I told myself lies about my ability to parent. I’m a good, kind, loving person who understands boundaries and can provide monetarily and wholeheartedly.
I’ve become open to the idea of being pregnant.
It wouldn’t be easy considering my age, relationship, and work. It would be risky for the child and it would bring up a lot of emotions from being pregnant with J. The mere act of thinking about pregnancy makes my throat clench closed, protecting me from the feeling that my heart may explode through my mouth. That very feeling has caused me to swallow my heart for many years, pushing it further and further down in my chest and denying the thoughts and desires of being someone’s Mom.
I’ve waited too long to become a natural parent.
I started losing weight 2 years ago. I lost 60 lbs and was working on the last 20 when I started having “female trouble.” I’ll spare you the details. The resolution was to put me on birth control twice daily. I started gaining weight. My doctor installed an IUD, which is a lower dose of hormones and is regulated throughout the day. I’m still gaining weight. Inexplicably. I work out more and eat better. Still I gain weight. I’ve looked at every other option and all my tests and blood work shows I’m remarkably healthy. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the weight gain is from the hormones. The only way to keep the “female troubles” from coming back and stop the weight gain is to remove my uterus. I await confirmation next week that this is what I will have to do.
I am not devastated, or destroyed by this news. I am sad. I’m sad that I waited this long to make these decisions. I’m sad I waited this long to open myself up to living for me and not him…I’m sad that I won’t have a uterus. I’m sad that much of my 30’s was spent achieving and working and not really delving in to the person I want to be. I DID…now I want to BE. I’d like to soothe the young pregnant girl and change my idea of what pregnancy is like. I’d like to experience that with a partner who cares for and loves me in a healthy way. I’d like to keep my parts inside my body.
I’m willing to let go
I’m willing to lose my uterus. I am willing to let go of the shame I carry because I placed a child for adoption. I’m willing to let go of the shame I feel for not being a Mom. I’m willing to let go of the shame I feel for prioritizing work and career over parenting. I’m willing to let go of the belief that I have to be a mess for him to be happy. I’m willing to allow J to be disappointed in me or angry with me if I have to choose between his approval and living my life authentically. I’m willing to let go of the shame I feel because I am happy.
I’m ready to let adoption come full circle in my life
I don’t know if I will adopt or not. I have not decided. I realize I need to have some discussions with family and with J before starting any process…but I accept that it will mean changing the structure of my life. I see such beauty in allowing myself to grow in such a way that I validate the young birthmother inside me by becoming an adoptive mother. I’m ready to complete that cycle of self-acceptance and removal of shame by becoming the other side of the mother coin.
I’m ready to redefine myself
I don’t mind the term “birthmother.” It’s been a clear word that helped me understand my role. Now it doesn’t feel broad enough. It doesn’t feel like it fits who I am. It leaves me feeling stuck in my old messy self. It has such a negative connotation for so many others in my shoes that I hate to throw it around as much as I do. I don’t yet know what other word to use for this part of my life but I am ready to explore and expand my understanding of what kind of mother I am and could be. “Birthmother McGee” is the nickname J’s family calls me and I don’t mind that – but outside the nickname I think it is time for me to use different words for myself.