The Things Inside Me

So. My therapist (and some others) wants me to think of myself as a mother. While I can, intellectually, concede that it might be a good idea…it’s so hard. But I’ve started to try. My first move was to ask Ruth for permission. I think that on some level I was hoping that she’d say “You know, I’m just not comfortable with that”—it would have given me an excuse to stay safe. But in fact she wrote a long and thoughtful email to me affirming my motherhood: If you need to hear a blessing you have it, we think of you that way and have all along, I hope we’ve made that clear, and I regret it if not. My first impulse was to feel guilty about her response: Oh God, I’ve made them feel bad! Not appropriate! And then I slowly eased myself toward her point. They think of me as one of his mothers. Now, young lady, you need to act like it.

The morning after the visit, I took a pregnancy test—I do that regularly these days, so I’ve started getting the really cheap ones in bulk. I’m not pregnant, of course, and my period isn’t even due for another few days—but I keep feeling this desire to test. Part of this, I assume, is because now I know that an unplanned pregnancy really can happen to me (something that I’d never believed before Cricket. Because I’m not the kind of person who has babies). But I think that another part of it is a desire to have my role clarified: to be a mother, full stop. Of course, it will probably be years before I get pregnant, if I can at all—and even then I will be a birthmother.

Please bear with me. I’m sort of figuring things out as I go in this post. Last night in the bath, I was reading a parenting memoir-y book, and I felt pregnant. That’s the term my brain threw up, anyway, and when I stopped to examine it, I realized that what I felt really was a deep and boundless love: the love I felt for Cricket when he was mine. I’m letting it in, and it’s coming back. Not that I haven’t loved him all year, but it’s been much the way I loved the kids I babysat as a teenager—this, though, is mother love.

What do I do with this feeling?

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5 thoughts on “The Things Inside Me

  1. You ARE a mother whether you think of yourself that way or not. All of my kids former foster parents are their mothers as are their biological mothers. Just because I share the title doesn’t make me any less of their Mom. My sister is a birthmother as well as a mother to an older child, and she is every bit of her son’s mom as his adoptive mom is.

    I like to think of adoption as more of a marriage of families instead of reproduction and procreation. A child needs a community of people and who’s to say that he only gets one mother or one father? Non-traditional families are just as effective at raising healthy children as traditional ones.

    That includes you!

  2. This is going to sound pretty wacky, I fear, but do you think that in some way you are still metaphorically pregnant with Cricket until you’re able to clarify some of what the relationship between you is as he grows and so does the open adoption relationship? I mean, you’ve sort of got the potential of being a mother to this child growing inside you still since you haven’t given yourself permission to feel it yet. As I said, perhaps excessive.

    I’d say what you do with that feeling is live with it and blog about it and tug it around a bit to see what you can make of it, but also make sure you acknowledge and appreciate and nurture the love that you feel. You write so beautifully about all this complexity.

    • I’ve been sitting with this since you wrote it–you took my rambling and turned it into something beautiful and thought provoking. Thank you.

  3. My god, Thorn is smart!!! You are one of the people I am owing an email but I wanted to thank you for the pics. I love that third pic especially because I can see both of you in him!! In the other picture it’s all you. I love family resemblances and I tell you from all you’ve said about Ruth, she loves to see you in him, too. Seeing Pennie in Madison is as gratifying to me as seeing Brett in Noah. I think it must be an instinctive thing to look for that? But I do love how much Madison looks like Pennie and I love when she turns a certain way and I can see Pennie’s mom in her profile. I bet Ruth feels the same way.

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