Monday, December 8, 2008

Split Personality

Here I am, thrilled that our homestudy is underway and looking forward to the real possibility of a child in our lives in the next year, and yet I'm still feeling rocked by the second pregnancy announcement at work. I'm trying really hard to reconcile my conflicting emotions. I wrote a few weeks ago about the first of my four ttcing coworkers announcing her pregnancy to the staff. She's due in May. Well, I just found out today that #2 is pregnant. She's due on August 5. This is the one who was concerned that it was taking so long (4 months) so she went ahead with some basic fertility testing-bloodwork, a semen analysis, and an HSG. The test results came back fine, and lo and behold she got pregnant on her next cycle. She hasn't officially announced her pregnancy yet, but she confided her news to my closest friend at work and swore her to secrecy. Luckily, my friend decided my emotional well-being was more important that keeping a secret. She gave me a heads up so I wouldn't be caught off guard at the next staff meeting. I won't spill the beans and I am soooo grateful to my friend. There's nothing like an unexpected pregnancy announcement to bring an IFer to tears. And tears typically don't go over well at work.

In the next breath, my friend said, "So you're OK with T being pregnant." I'm sorry to say that I went off on her a bit. I said (a little too angrily since it's not her fault and she's a good friend), "No, I'm not OK with it. Why would you think I'm OK with it?! It f-king sucks. It hurts. It's going to be one hell of a sucky year, surrounded by pregnant women. But there's nothing I can do about it. So I'll deal." And I will deal because what else is there to do? Especially since all the women with whom I work have good hearts, including the pregnant ones. I'll smile and wish her well. I'll listen to her students tell everyone their teacher is going to have a baby, because that's what little kids do. They take on their teacher's happy news as their own. And I'll listen to my students ask me when I'm going to have a baby, because that's what little kids do. They expect you to give them a piece of the action. I'll listen to the cheerful voices wishing her congratulations (OMG, how wonderful! You must be thrilled!!!) and compare them to the voices consoling us when I shared that we're adopting (Oh, well, that's nice. I bet you'll get pregnant for sure now.). I'll listen to her plan for her paid maternity leave, knowing that, because I'm not giving birth, DH and I have to scrimp and save now for my unpaid adoption leave.

The thing is that I'm still excited about adopting. It seems more and more real every day and I feel more and more certain that it's actually going to happen. We are going to be parents. I'm thinking about furniture and painting the room and potty training and preschool. But it's like those happy adoption thoughts and emotions are on a completely different side of my brain than the "Shoot me, so I don't have to hear another pregnancy announcement" thoughts and emotions. They are separate from each other. One one side, I rage against the unfairness of it all and on the other I am deeply grateful for the chance to be a mom through adoption. I feel like I have a split personality.


Torina said...

Karen, it has been almost eight years since we started our infertility nightmare. I haven't wanted a baby in at least 4 years yet I STILL get a pang when I hear or see someone I know is pregnant. My former adoption worker said it perfectly, "There will always be a hole in my heart where my biological baby was supposed to be." And even though I love my kids (all adopted for your other readers who don't know me) more than words could ever describe, I still wonder what that kid would have been like. I have no regrets but I still get pangs and wonderings...

Me said...

Forgive my unorginality and repetitiveness.

Ahem, to quote Steph:

"It is an entirely different thing to accept your own infertility than to accept others fertility."

Yeah. That. I'm sorry darlin.

P.S. Where are my d*mn pictures?!? I soooo wanna see!!! ;)

Natalie said...

Ugh, I'm sorry. It's so hard.

You don't get any paid time for adopting???? I thought for sure that here at least family leave includes adopting a child. If you don't get any... that's just SO not right!!

Karen said...

Natalie, family leave time, under FMLA, does cover adoption but FMLA time is unpaid. In my district, women can use up to 8 weeks of sick days for maternity leave. This is paid leave. Adoption leave is unpaid since you can't use sick time. It's just an unpaid leave. The premise is that women who give birth need 8 weeks to recover so maternity leave is really a medical leave. Women who adopt don't fall under that. Personally I think it blows.

Karen said...

Torina, thanks for your comment. Lately, I've been feeling like I'm supposed to be over this infertility thing since we're adopting. Knowing that feeling this way won't make me a bad mom is comforting.

Taina, I appreciate the reminder. I know Steph's words are right on. It is different. Photos are coming at the end of the week. ;)

Lost in Space said...

It sounds spot on to be excited about adopting, but still feel grief over not experiencing pregnancy or that biological connection. I often think IF would be so much easier to deal with if we didn't have the fertiles to contend with. Many hugs. I know this year isn't going to be easy.