December 31, 2004

Why This is All a Very, Very Bad Idea

I love my mom, really I do. But we’ve always clashed, and even now as two adults our relationship is often a bit strained.

I’ve come to understand over the years – though I haven’t quite reached the point of acceptance yet – that no matter what I do, I’m never going to make her happy. It’s just not going to happen. She’s always going to find fault with something about me; that’s just her way. Even when it comes to how R and I start our family. Or, more accurately in her mind’s eye, how R and I go about producing her grandchildren.

There’s a 40-year age difference between us. My mom grew up in an age when daughters didn’t move out of their parents’ home when they got married, they just moved to the duplex upstairs. Young ladies didn’t go to college, unless it was for the purpose of finding a mate. And then when they married, it certainly wasn’t their place to go off to work outside the home every day.

So the idea that I would want to go to college to actually (gasp!) get an education and start a career was just something she could not understand. And what my mom does not understand is, in her opinion, fair game for ridicule and criticism.

Mostly I just try to ignore the barbs and put downs, but the ones about how we’re trying to start our family drive me a little nutty lately.

When we first began the infertility rollercoaster, we sat down and explained to her that we were having problems conceiving because we didn’t want to continue dealing with questions about when the grandchildren would be popping out.

I explained that I’d be taking Clomid. She shook her head and said in her most sanctimonious tone (it’s usually the tone that irritates me the most), “Oh, I don’t know about that. I mean, you don’t know what kind of effects a drug like that will have. I don’t think that’s smart.”

We moved on to injectibles, and the tsk-tsking continued. “You’re giving yourself shots? You know, I talked to someone at work and they said those shots will make you have six or seven kids at once and then you’ll die of cancer. She read that someplace. You really should look into that further. You haven’t taken the time to consider this.”

Yes, of course, her one friend who read a single article in some a newsstand magazine is an expert on this! Why didn’t I realize that sooner??

I shouldn’t have spent all those hundreds of hours online researching fertility drugs, treatment options, risks, doctors and clinics. No siree, instead, I should have just turned to the “expert” who spent 10 minutes reading a magazine that probably cited 30-year-old studies and quotes from other “experts” who spout off as if they know everything about infertility even though their own children were conceived faster than most people can blink. (Bonus points to anyone who figures out which magazine I’m referring to.)

Injectibles failed, we got pregnant anyway, we lost the baby. We decided to move on to adoption.

Can anyone guess what could be wrong about this option, as my mother sees it? Come on, surely you can guess one or two – she’s got a long list. There are the usual concerns most couples have when they’re considering adoption – possible drug or alcohol use on the mother’s part, whether the baby is getting prenatal care, the birth parents’ family medical and mental health history.

I can’t really fault her for having those concerns, but what annoys me about them is that she acts as if they’ve never crossed our minds. As if we’re simply rushing into this with a blind eye turned to all those issues. (Because if you know me, you know how often I tend to rush into things without carefully considering the ramifications of all possible courses of action - crazy, impulsive, free spirit that I am…)

But I’ve saved the best for last. My all-time favorite on my mom’s list of “Why Adoption is a Bad Idea and You Should Reconsider It”: The birthmother could have a big gap between her front teeth. Yep, it’s on there. Toward the top of the list, I might add. And no, I’m not making this up.

She said to me recently, “What if you meet a birthmom and you don’t like the way she looks? What if she has a big gap between her front teeth? Can you back out?”

Well, gee, let’s see. What if she does have a big gap between her teeth? I suppose we’ll wait and see if our baby inherits her birthmother’s dental pattern. And if s/he does, we’ll do what my mom did when I inherited hers, complete with a big, toothy gap that was wide enough to accommodate a third tooth.

Can anyone say “braces?”

December 27, 2004

I May Be Nuts...

...but I'm considering the idea of going shopping for a few baby things. And what's even more insane is that I'm thinking about doing it in the next few days, on our wedding anniversary.

Since the beginning of this process, I've insisted that we will absolutely NOT. BUY. ANYTHING. until we're matched, the baby arrives and TPR papers are signed. And maybe not even for a few more days past that point, just for good measure.

I planned on borrowing a car seat from friends to get the baby home from the hospital, and sending out other friends to get the bare necessities if the hospital doesn't send us home with enough to get us through the time until papers are signed. It's not a superstition thing, it's an "I don't want to deal with the pain of knowing we have these things but no baby to use them" thing.

But we had a situation come up last week. It didn’t work out, but it made me realize how unprepared we would be if a situation did arise with a quick placement. I've always been a person who likes to be prepared for things, so the idea of being completely unprepared is a bit bothersome.

At dinner tonight, R and I were discussing it. He's all for getting some things, packing them in a bag and just putting the bag in a closet so that it's not a constant reminder. (We do also have a couple of cribs and other things friends gave us before we began the IF/adoption rollercoaster that are kept behind closed doors.)

Now I'm wavering. We have a tradition with our anniversary that rather than buying each other gifts, we both take the day off work and do something together. One time it was cross-country skiing, a couple of times we've done weekends away, once we shopped for our first house which we were moving into a few weeks after the anniversary.

So I'm thinking of maybe doing the baby shopping thing this time. It definitely would be a sign of faith on my part, which is something I've been struggling with lately.

But on the other hand, I'm afraid next year's anniversary will come around and the bag will still be in the closet and it will be an anniversary in more ways than one...