Sometimes I feel like I’m just slamming my head against a wall trying to get some people (okay, mostly adoptive parents – I just hate sounding like I’m picking on one side of the triad, especially when this is NOT to be generalized to mean “all adoptive parents”) to understand the first Mother experience. To understand why some first Mom’s don’t like the term birthmom. To understand the emotions of placing a child. To understand that feelings don’t just shut off with the signing of TPR or some arbitrary timeline elapsing.
Yet I keep coming up short. I keep failing to find the words that give someone their every own lightbulb moment. Despite all of my efforts, I fail.
At some point in this masochistic experience, a tiny little thought creeps into my head. I want to say it, but I don’t want to say it. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to give the low blow. But….maybe, just maybe, there’s something there?
So I’ll hold my breath, squint my eyes shut and prepare myself for the retaliation that might follow…..
Could it be that some people just truly don’t understand because they’ve never carried a child and given birth?
Now that I’ve said it I feel like a total shit again!
I don’t know where else to say these things though….I’d love to be able to have a civil conversation about a topic like this, but I fear that opportunity will never come. It’s just too hot button a topic for me to believe that I could say that publicly and not be completely blasted for it.
I don’t know….I mean, my sister-in-laws get to throw around the fact that I’m not parenting to prove how I don’t understand raising children. I can’t possibly wrap my head around discipline because that’s not something I live with day to day. And it’s not my place to give any kind of feedback, advice, or hell, to even have an opinion to some extent.
So maybe something there goes both ways? Can you truly understand what that must be like? I don’t know….I think some people can….but maybe others can’t? I’m the first to admit that my life changed dramatically after giving birth. In ways that have little to nothing to do with placement. The physical act of carrying another person for nine months, of bringing them into the world, it changed me in more ways than I can articulate.
Just as parenting a child must change you, so too does pregnancy, labor, delivery.
I’m reminded often that I’m not parenting. I get it. I’ve never once felt the need to remind someone else that they were never pregnant. It’s a cruel reminder for too many, and one that I’ve never felt a desire to provide.
That’s not the point.
It’s not about hurting someone else, it’s about understanding our perspectives. Including all of our experiences that got us to where we are.
I’ve never experienced the struggle of trying to get pregnant. I’ve never experienced the heartbreak of losing a child to miscarriage. I try to be there for my friends that have. I want to understand them and be there for them in whatever way it is that they need – and understand that it’s not the same way for every person. But at the end of the day, I can’t understand their experience the way someone else that’s lived it has.
I think that many of us try to understand each other. I think some of us find it so hard to understand that even trying is a struggle. We debate and argue and fight and try to make square pegs fit into round holes. But they don’t. We all need to stop trying to make others lived experiences fit into our preconceptions about what we think there experience should be. We need to understand that my experience is not your experience (and it isn’t necessarily your kid’s first Mom’s experience either!), and vice versa.
Maybe that’s something we just need to accept….
Maybe at some point we need to stop trying so hard to understand someone else’s experience, to make it fit into that box, but rather just accept it.
Lord, I think this community could benefit from a whole lot more acceptance….
And as usual, I’ve veered wildly off course. What started as a desire to have an open and honest and not violent conversation about the unique experience of pregnancy and birth turned into a big picture about acceptance. I think both are important, but as I mentioned before, I fear we’re along ways away from being able to have either.