I’ve rewritten this post at least four times. I keep searching for the perfect words to convey my emotions. I want to hit the right notes, the right balance between your right to share your birth and baby experiences and my pain at constantly hearing them. Even now I can tell I’m not saying this right, but I need to say it. I need someone, anyone to understand this and tell me I’m not alone.
I always knew I wanted to have kids. I looked forward to getting pregnant, feeling my body change, making a birth plan (and possibly watching it fall apart in the face of reality). I looked forward to holding my tiny offspring in my arms. I wanted to make my own decisions about feeding and nurturing that new life. It hurt like hell to accept that I’d never get any of that.
It hurt like hell, but I moved on. I built new dreams and made new decisions, and I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. I wasn’t there for their births; I never saw their first steps or heard their first words. But I took them to their first days of school and helped them build their first dioramas. I’ve cleaned vomit and shit and quelled nightmares. I’ve read bedtime stories and made dinners and watched My Little Pony a hundred times. But once in a while, people still slip and ask about my kids’ “real” parents. I still get left out of all that parental bonding. All because I missed a couple years at the beginning. Like the rest of my kids’ lives (the rest of my life) doesn’t matter.
Get enough moms together and they start to share birth stories. It was amazing, it was terrible, it was life-altering, it was the Most Important Experience Ever! Let me tell you about all the changes my body went through! And then come the baby stories. Feeding, sleeping, diapering, carrying . . . it’s an endless comparing of notes and sharing of insights on the first few months of life. For me, it’s an endless reminder of what I missed out on.
Ever since I joined this site I’ve had an endless stream of baby chat delivered straight to my inbox. The first couple of weeks were so bad I almost quit before my first post went up. No one meant to leave me out–no one ever means to leave me out. No one meant to imply that birth and the first few months of life are the MOST IMPORTANT part of parenthood. It just sort of happened.
And that’s why I feel so awkward bringing it up. No one’s talking about babies just to make me feel bad; people aren’t trying to rub their birth experiences in my face or tell me adoption makes me a second-class parent. I don’t blame people for sharing these experiences and there’s nothing wrong with using them to bond yourselves as a group. It’s not even the individual stories that bother me–it’s the weight of story after story, day after day that’s getting to me.
Ultimately, I don’t want to rain on the baby parade. I don’t want people to feel guilty or self-conscious talking about things that are obviously important to them. I just need people to know that I’m a parent too. I exist, I’m important, I’m not the only one with this problem. If all you can do is say “wow, I can see how that would suck for you,” that would be great. I promise not to be such a downer next time.