Wednesday Wisdom 2/12/2015

“If the standard route for creating a family had worked for me, I wouldn’t have met this child. I needed to know her. I needed to be her mother. She is, in every way, my daughter. “

Nia Vardalos

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Wednesday Wisdom 26/11/2014

“Adoption doesn’t cure the pain of my infertility. But because of adoption, infertility also hasn’t taken from me of the overwhelming joy of motherhood. And that’s beautiful.”

http://www.adoption.com

Infertility After Adoption

Continuing on the topic of infertility and adoption I read this article recently. Although I really feel that my issues with infertility subsided a lot after adopting our first child, it is true that infertility remains a life-long burden to carry. I found this post very insightful and encouraging.

Infertility After Adoption – When Infertility Fights Back

Adoption will always be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It made me a mother. It made my husband a father. It brought us our son.

However, no matter how amazing, how magical, and how healed I feel because of adoption, the fact that I will forever be sterile and forever face the feelings of infertility, remains. My feelings from infertility have calmed as I have grown, experienced adoption, and become a mother, but there are some days where it is too much for my little heart to handle. It’s just plain hard.

I think that a lot of adoptive moms think they can’t feel this way anymore–that because they have become a mother and have a child, that some how those feelings are supposed to disappear. I knew that not all of my feelings and struggles with infertility would be washed away, but I didn’t expect to have such bitter days after I became a mother. These emotions came back in earnest when my husband and I decided to adopt a second child. As we are in the finding process, the longer we wait, the more hope I lose.

I see friends and family growing their families. I see their only children become brothers and sisters, something my 5-year-old son asks about daily. When we are out, he sees other families and counts the number of children. He then questions me, saying, “Mama, why do they have three kids and we only have me?” I do my best not to burst into inappropriate sobs, as all the people in that same Target isle as me would probably think I was crazy, and quietly explain to Harley that mama was sick and her body isn’t able to make babies anymore. Most of the time, luckily, this answer suffices his curiosity. There are days, though, when he demands more of an explanation, and asks, “When do I get a baby, Mama?” I can’t answer him. I can’t answer him, and it breaks my soul into pieces.

Infertility is a lifelong thing. The emotions ebb and flow through the different experiences we face. I wish I could tell every single person who struggles with infertility that eventually they won’t have any issues with it, but I can’t. Infertility and sterility bleeds into every single aspect of life. There is no corner that goes untouched. What I CAN tell you, though, is that you aren’t alone. That there are amazing people on your side to stick with you through this. I CAN tell you that it gets better, and the feelings that infertility evokes will become more tolerable. I CAN tell you that this wont break you.

It will not break you.

This post was first published on Adoption.com

A Letter to Her Daughter’s Birth Mom

In this post the writer shares a letter that she has written to her daughter’s birth mom 7 years ago. It really brought me to tears. We were also in the very fortunate positioned to have met and spend some time with both our children’s birth mothers. They will always be part of our family and I love seeing and recognising their features in my children. Both birth mothers are very brave women who I admire for their selfless act of love and the gift they have given us in entrusting their children in our care.

The Letter She Wrote to Her Daughter’s Birth Mother

 

The Random Moments When Love Happens

This post is real and beautiful. I love her honesty in sharing her emotions.

The random moments when love happens – by Martina Dahlmanns

Martina Dalmas kidsI often remember the moment, when I first held you in my arms: my heart beating a thousand beats a minute, my mind spinning with the many new emotions of this one moment, which would change my life forever; in that first second, when I tried to take you in all at once, searching your tiny, sleeping face for something familiar, that would spark off the firework of love that I had anticipated so many times in the days and weeks waiting for your arrival, in that split second I realised, everything was different from what I had thought it would be.

And as I was forced to drop all my expectations, judgements and assumptions, I started to understand that my love for you – like any force of nature – would make its appearance on its own terms. I could not build or model it on any previous experience and literally had to start from scratch together with you.

The wiser part of me knew without a doubt that it was there and as much a part of me as my breath and my heartbeat – but sitting on that sofa with a whole new life in my arms, not feeling what I had expected to feel, I simply panicked.

The panic did not leave me over the next few days. It got company instead: A strange sadness took hold of me, something primal with no words and no pictures to describe or explain it, just waves and waves of feeling washing over me. Feelings of fear and separation coming from a place and a time, when I had no speech and no understanding.

I don’t know who cried more during these first days we had together, you or I! In the few moments between holding you, feeding you, bathing you and trying to put you to sleep, I walked around in previously familiar rooms like a survivor of my own personal tsunami, feeling disoriented, sifting through the debris trying to identify familiar pieces of myself.

Leah and KalaThen, slowly and almost unnoticeable at first, like a sunrise on a misty winter day, everything changed again, and the first beams of love reached me, totally new and unexpected! I knew then that I could do this, I could begin my journey as your mother, stepping into the unknown and simply trust what you in your wisdom had known all along: that we were both exactly where we were meant to be.

Of course, being my own life long prophet of doom, I managed to slip back a couple of times, and there were – and sometimes still are – moments of deep insecurity when I feel, I am not the mother you deserve.

But mostly I stopped expecting of myself to be and feel a certain way and – for the first time since I can remember – I allowed my feelings to reveal themselves to me, instead of trying to anticipate or control them.

Since then, there is a moment in every day, when I think of you or look at you and my whole being simply dissolves into love. It is the most basic and joyful experience of my life – and I don’t have to do anything in order to earn or deserve it.

What you taught me is that simple: Love can’t be planned or controlled or willed into existence or even anticipated. It just is. And it is in all those random moments that make our life together. It is there, in the perfect curve of your mouth smiling, in the shadow your eyelashes trace on your cheeks, when you are asleep. It spills over in your giggles from the back of my car, when you sing silly songs with your sister and it lives in the corner of your room, where you set up a picnic for your dolls this morning. It is new every day and it teaches me to be curious again.

So from the deepest, wisest part of me, where all that love patiently waited for me to catch up, I thank you for being my child today and teaching me every day how to simply be.

Your Mother

* The post was originally posted on the Cape Town Adoption Support website. You can read it here.

To: Infertile Me

This post I came across on Adoption.com is a wonderful encouraging letter from someone suffering with infertility to herself 6 years previously, while she was at her lowest with her struggle with infertility. It rings so true, in my own life as well.

 

Dear Infertile Me,

I remember you very well. I remember how you are feeling right now like it was yesterday.  I do not miss the time of my life that you are going through right now.

I remember wondering, “If I’m can’t be a mother, what am I?” I remember seeing so many others getting pregnant so easily and wondering what I did wrong in my life to deserve such a challenge. I remember feeling like nothing could be worse in the world than this trial. I remember feelings of guilt that my body was the problem, that my husband made a mistake marrying me, and that maybe I wouldn’t be a good mother anyway.

My Wedding Day

Well self, I have to tell you a few things.

Someday, you will wake up in the morning and the first thing you do will not be taking your temperature to see if you are ovulating. And when you go to bed at night, the last thought you have will have nothing to do with fertility.

Someday, this pain that you feel right now will feel like a pin prick that comes and goes instead of a giant hammer. Time is a great healer.

You will be a mother, and it will be even better than you can imagine.  You will be a better mother for going through this experience than you would have been otherwise.  You will be so in love with your children that you think your heart will burst sometimes.
With Grant

You will also find that being a mother is harder than you ever could have imagined.  And all those things you swore YOU would never do as a mother . . . you will do every one of them at some point.
Trying to get a good picture with the kids

Right now you think that this is the hardest part of your life, and that if you can just have a baby, than no other trial will ever be able to touch you. But that is not true. Other challenges will come and they will hurt too. This experience will make you stronger, though, and more able to face other challenges in your life.

Right now it is hard to be near your best friend who just found out that she is surprisingly pregnant with twins. Keep planning her baby shower and let the feelings of happiness you have for her outweigh the feelings of jealousy. Stay close to her as she will be one of your biggest supports in building your own family. Don’t shut out your wonderful friends and family even though it feels like the easiest and safest option.

Me with my good friends

You will make it through this.  You will be happy again.  And if you look around you, you’ll realize you are happy now too, despite this pain. Ignore those who tell you to “just go on vacation and you’ll get pregnant.” Stay close to those who support you.  Hang on to your husband and see how you become closer through this hard time.
Mike and me at Disneyland

The positives will outweigh the negatives and you will come out on top. Just don’t give up. You will find your children, but it will take a lot of work, tears, money, and frankly, a very open mind.

It is 100% worth it.  I promise.
me with Jossy

Moving Beyond Infertility

This short post sums up so much of the emotional complexity when dealing with infertility and making decision to refocus your energy on adoption.

Part of this process is to make peace with the fact that you most probably will never conceive your own biological children. As one sentence in this post says: “You have to mourn the children you will never have in order to heal completely.”  

I was emotionally raw after every round of infertility treatment, and unsure how I will ever be able to come to terms with the fact that I might never conceive, never experience the wonder of having a baby grow in my womb, never look into a child’s face and recognising my own or my husband’s features.

Our journey with the fertility treatments ended not necessarily by our own choice, but we were advised by our specialist that it is probably futile to pursue IVF further. So we were forced to redirect our efforts and focus on adoption.  During this time we read a book “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore which helped tremendously.

I was  initially worried whether I would have to carry the burden and pain of infertility for the rest of my life, but our Lord was and is faithful! I always tell people that God did a miracle in my heart once we started the adoption process. The moment we decided to move on, I felt as if a dead weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free! For the first time in so many years I could see pregnant women and not feel as if I wanted to break down and sob. I could attend friends’s baby showers without feeling resentful and pitying myself. I could start looking at baby clothes in the shops and not despair that I will never experience the joy of buying clothes for my little babies. What a blessing! What a miracle!

Mamma en Siya

It is 5 years now since our last effort to fall pregnant, and my heart is filled with gratefulness and joy! Grateful that I could experience the miracle of adoption. Grateful that I am blessed with two beautiful children. Grateful that I could learn so much from our Heavenly Father about how He adopted us into His family. Grateful that I can be a mommy!  I am filled with joy when I see my husband playing with our kids. I am overwhelmed with joy when my little girl throws her arms around me and tells me: “I love you to bits!!” .

Pappa en Nina

There are definitely still days that I wonder what it would have felt like to experience pregnancy. There are times that I wonder what our biological children would have looked like, or how their personalities would have been. But when these emotions come and linger a little bit longer than I want them to, I choose to rejoice and praise our Lord God and thank Him for this blessing!

Read the post “Are You Done Trying? On mourning, healing and accepting infertility” here.

 

I’m Their Second Mother

I recently came across a piece by Sara Hagerty on the Better Mom website. This paragraph stood out in particular for me:

I share them with women whose secret moments of love, whose hidden outpourings of sacrifice, will never be “liked” or tagged or even remembered, by anyone on this side of heaven. I share them with women whose bodies formed and sustained my children and whose ears heard that groggy infant-cry that broke the air outside the womb.

It is beautifully written and ends with a reminder that we are stewards of all the children God gives us and that ultimately they belong to Him.

You can read the whole post here.

What makes a Joyful home? 10 Reflections

I came across this inspiring blog post on Tim Challies’s blog.

The writer gives 10 reflections from her journey as a mother and how a joyful attitude changes the whole atmosphere in a home.

Here are her 10 main points:

1. Fill the home with laughter

2. Realize a mother’s power in her home

3.  Remember that work is a good gift

4.  Read God’s Word as a family every day

5. Show affection continually

6. Celebrate ordinary days

7. Play

8. Remember that joy is a moment by moment choice

9. Love one another

10. Pursue the One who gives joy

Nr 8 is especially challenging to me to realise that to be joyful remains a choice we make, and even if the day started out very bad we can still choose to be joyful!

I encourage you to read the whole blog here.