When I was still on my message board one by one my online friends got pregnant and the birth stories came rolling through. I looked forward to the time when I could write out the birth story of my firstborn. I didn't have any preconceived notion of how it would go (after all, I focused on the getting pregnant part), but at that point I thought that one day I would be writing it.
There's been four births this year among my close circle, and I still have pangs as they tell their stories. It's something that I can't empathize with having never been through it, much as they can't empathize my journey through infertility and adoption. In this regard, we are literally on different planes of reality.
Because adoption is something very different from birthing a baby, my parenting style was not affected by Baby X’s birth, but rather by the entire process. Before we knew about Baby X, I knew that it would be beneficial to practice attachment parenting, and I assembled slings and carriers to help with that. A friend of mine gave birth 8 weeks early, and her son had to spend time in the NICU. Through that experience I learned about kangaroo care. During our education classes taken for the homestudy, we learned that it’s essential that parents don’t allow any other caregivers to hold or feed the baby for 3 weeks after placement. Parenting a baby that we were adopting was different, but we knew that it would be different the day we turned in our application, 2 years prior to placement of Baby X.
Now that Baby X is a super cute, energetic, independent, opinionated toddler, I doubt that my parenting style is different just because he happens to be adopted. I am working hard to parent differently from the way I was raised, and would be doing that regardless of how my child came to me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Baby A’s birth and placement. Given that we were in the hospital hours after his birth, I’d have to say that the way we dealt with the situation was much different. We deferred a lot to D and I didn’t feel like a parent. She did the bulk of the feedings and changing, and he spent 90 percent of the time in her room. I felt like I couldn’t become his parent until the termination papers were signed. Needless to say, it didn’t make it any easier when we had to place him in cradle care 3 days after coming home. In general, it was not a good space to be in, and I would much rather be made a parent after the decision has been made and papers signed. Then, I can parent freely without uncertainty hanging over my head.
One last thing about judgment from others, or feeling judged. I refuse to cowtow to judgment by others. Over the last several years, I’ve learned that those who judge frequently know nothing about the situation. During the recent shutdown, I kept Baby X in daycare because it’s the best thing for both of us. I was asked why I was putting him in daycare when I was home all day. My reply was pretty simple “He’s two”. When her kid is two, maybe she’ll understand, but since she hasn’t even given birth yet, I’m going to go with she doesn’t have a judgey leg to stand on.