I am giddy when I get to say that I am a proud and emotionally overwhelmed mommy to the most beautiful and content five-month old baby boy! As many of you know, my path to motherhood was a long and arduous one. Apparently it was so long, and likely so physically taxing, that I was asked the other day by someone if I was my baby’s grandmother. Sweet mother of all that is good and pure!! REALLY!?!? I guess it’s time to start buying Miss Clariol in bulk and saving up for Botox! I mean, I know biologically it’s possible that I could be his grandmother, but talk about repeatedly stabbing my big, over-sized ego in its tender heart with a dull steak knife. I may never fully recover.
OK Attention Deficit Disorder, let’s focus on the topic at hand…back to the thing about the road to motherhood.
I’ve been so fortunate during the last few years of this journey to be a part of an online group of adoptive parents and parents-in-waiting. Joining that group was the first time I ever used social media in what I feel is a truly meaningful and profound way. The group is highly interactive and wonderfully supportive. I’ve never met any of these women (and a few guys) face-to-face, but I feel such an incredible connection to each of them and their stories. We share our heartaches and triumphs, and our fears, frustrations, and worries. We console, lift up, and virtually hug each other. I find myself perusing the Group’s Facebook newsfeed daily to see updates, and check-in with those whose stories have made me cry–both with sorrow and joy.
Recently though, I notice a new emotion creeping in, and up, and mixing into all the other emotions that I readily find myself experiencing as I interact in the group. Ready? It’s GUILT!!! I swear, I must be the most emotionally jacked up human being on the planet. Yes. I sometimes find myself feeling guilty that I am a mother. It’s akin to running away and abandoning comrades on a battle field. I used to have such a sense of commiseration with the other moms-in-waiting. We were out there on the battle field together–like Pat Benatar sang, “heartache to heartache we stand!” We watched each other’s backs while hunkering down in the trenches. We shared our pains and struggles and frustrations. We collectively shook our fists at the sky. I found comfort in knowing that I wasn’t the only one waiting–there were others who truly (and I mean, like, FOR REALS, YO!) appreciated the unique, yet not so unique, position I was in.
Huh….just noticed that it’s Veteran’s Day week and I’m totally making military analogies. That’s quite a co-ink-ee-dink. Anyway…
And now I’m a mom!! Hallelujah! I survived the battle. I fought the good fight. I win!!! Right?? Not so fast there, bucko! Now I struggle with this weird guilt that I should still be back in the trenches. I feel sad for leaving the others behind. I wonder how I got so lucky to find a safe haven off the battle field. I want to tell those still fighting to believe me– everything will be ok. But, I’ll tell you a secret… it’s not the same when you leave. It’s just not. The hindsight and clarity that comes with surviving the fight is nothing short of a miracle. A lifted weight. An emotional release. You shout to your comrades that their time is coming, to learn from and believe in your experience and struggle and persistence…YOUR CLARITY! But I know from my own lengthy tour of duty, well, it’s not always easy to believe those words when you’re so consumed and engaged in the fight itself. You feel like you just might die out there in battle.
It certainly wasn’t an emotion I was expecting to feel, but there it is. It’s real. I can’t completely ignore it, so I’m giving it its due (DAMN YOU, GUILT!!!). I shall speak the truth and shame the devil!!! The guilt will not defeat me. I will acknowledge it and take its power! I will not allow it to steal the joy that I share with my baby. I will not let it discourage me from sharing what I know to be true with the others who follow me, along with countless other mommies, on the path to parenthood. I will continue to advocate for adoption, for mommies-in-waiting, for never giving up on the dream of parenthood.
No matter what…Guilt will not win.
That is all.