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Tuesday, December 30

shell shocked ~ {updated}


shell shocked boho, self portrait

I was going through my plethora of photos from Christmas and when I stumbled upon this one, I laughed out loud. The concept of laughing out loud when you're alone has always been curious to me...because it must be REALLY funny or trigger something deep for you to laugh when no one can share it with you.

The day I took this photo I was feeling all mixed up inside...and it shows. Not only in the dark circles under my eyes (hello...no touch ups here) but also in the expression on my face. I thought I gave a slight smile when I took this but in reality, I just couldn't find the energy to even smile for myself in the mirror.

On this day I was consumed with guilt because I was struggling with how I felt the night before. Boho baby has had some digestion issues (that I think this week we have finally figured out) and it has kept us up at night, all night. I know some people that can be woken up out of a deep slumber and be fully conscious (and dare I say joyous) and I am learning that I am not one of them. Although, my husband comes from this planet (which worsens the guilt for me that I don't). I am a total day person. Even without much sleep, once I wake up, I am AWAKE and energetic and present but I have never been a night person (ask my night owl sisters and mother that can chat until 3am when we get together and I head to bed at 11am). So my struggle about this topic is that when I hear him crying at night, I want to hand him to my husband, so I can crawl under the covers and get my sleep. I didn't expect to feel this way. I thought since we struggled for over four years to conceive that once I finally had our dream baby, I'd leap around the house joyful at 3am in the morning to give him a breast or bottle (okay, that's pushing it but youknowwhatimean). I also never thought I'd be brave enough to write about this struggle. Because I know that beautiful souls out there that read my blog read it because they resonate with our journey to conceive...and are longing for a baby and the LAST thing they want to hear is that I am struggling to wake up in the middle of the night to feed mine. I know this because I have read those posts from friends or strangers in the past and it made me want to strangle them (well, not really but almost).

I guess I am sharing this because I always want to keep it real and I am also trusting that my readers know my heart enough to know how very much I love my baby and appreciate every morsel of him and that my struggle has nothing to do with that.

In sharing all this, I want to be sensitive to my beautiful soul readers that are still on that roller coaster journey to conceive the way I needed people in my life to be sensitive to me. I came home from adopting our child just assuming (or more so hoping) that since I didn't carry him in my womb for nine months and birth him, that it would be easier for you to read stories and see photos of my baby. I was hoping the fact that I adopted him would give you hope and not cause you pain and longing like it would if I was pregnant with him.

But the night before this photo above was taken, another thing happened that shook me back into a space that I thought had left me five weeks ago before Cedar came into my life. And this space has created an awareness of those tender souls reading my blog and how they are effected by what I write...even though he is adopted.

I was curled up on our hotel room bed on Christmas night. Cedar was sleeping near me. Boho boy and Boho brother were at the table chatting. I opened up my laptop and decided I needed some comic relief and when I need that, I go to Dooce...our founding Mother of blogging. I scrolled down her page to see a photo of her with her shirt tucked above her belly with a teeny tiny bulge (and I mean teeny tiny) with the subject "14 weeks". My first initial reaction was joy because I know she had openly written about her miscarriage last year and I was thrilled that she felt confident and safe to share this current pregnancy with her readers. But that annoying feeling of something punching me in the gut followed suit. That familiar, deep center-shaking feeling that I will most likely never know what it feels like to have a little being grow inside of me. It totally freaked me out that I felt this way. I was shell shocked. I had felt healed from this since Cedar came into my life. What the heck?

It was then that I looked over at Cedar, touched him, hoping that his soft skinned, baby smelling, yummy self would heal the wound that just surfaced but what happened was that I ached because I never felt him grow in my womb and I have NEVER wanted to admit that. But here I am...admitting it. Sometimes when I stare at him, that reality is hard and it comes with a myriad of complex emotions. For the most part, it quickly fades when I think about how outrageously miraculous our story to finding him is and how grateful we are to K and T for gifting us with our son.

But this night the punch in my gut didn't fade and I knew that meant I just needed to get it out, let it flow, call a friend and cry, so that I could move through it. Boho boy came over to me, noticing I looked a bit shaken and when I told him about Dooce, he was gentle and loving and not surprised. He gets it. He feels it too. Thankfully, a bit later the boys had to run a few errands, so I could lay on the bed and move through these not so pretty emotions with no one watching.

A few hours later, I felt lighter and more forgiving of self and more in love with my son than ever. So, I want to say to my readers that still long for their baby while they read my sharings of new motherhood, that I will never forget the longing you feel. I may be healing and eventually healed but I will never forget what you are feeling and I promise to always live my life sensitive to how my story touches others going through the same journey. I am sure when Dooce wrote that post, she too was thinking of people like me that would stumble upon her words and how it would bring to surface and trigger emotions.

In regards to night feedings I mentioned earlier, last night I sat in bed with my husband and admitted to him for the first time that I really struggle with them. I got all negative head spacey on him and he just listened. Once again, I was consumed with guilt for feeling these things because of my journey to conceive. Although, rather than push them down, I let it out and then laid my head on the pillow feeling like a big jerk but also feeling that release.

Then something interesting happened. The next time Cedar woke up in the wee hours of the morning, I felt more patience. Boho boy reached to get him and I did it instead. I felt more awake and better. I felt better! Perhaps part of that had to do with me beginning to forgive myself and work through the shame.

All this to say that when I speak my truth and let it out, it always helps to shift things. To keep it real. To be honest about motherhood, even though they may not be the prettiest thoughts or feelings. I plan to do that on my blog because we all know its not perfect, these paths to our babies. Whether on a journey to conceive them or a journey to know, love and understand them, it can be hard...but hard is okay...hard teaches us to be better, wiser, more patient beings.

So, watch as I continue to be shell shocked A LOT and figure my way around this maze.

{i am grateful for your comments, sweet and tender souls. you have enveloped me in acceptance and understanding, without judgment. your stories have given me strength and more patience and energy and appreciation for this gift of motherhood i have been miraculously given...both the challenging and the awesome bits. please keep sharing your own struggles here. this is a safe space. a cushy space of truth and empowerment and a circle of empathy. thank you...i will continue to come to your comments for this reminder. none of us are alone. the tribe of motherhood is a deep and wide one full of kindred spirits. }

58 Comments:

Blogger Bria said...

I admire you.

December 30, 2008 at 8:40:00 PM PST  
Anonymous stef said...

i second that...i admire you and i thank you for being so honest and telling it as you feel it. i truly honor you.

xoxo

December 30, 2008 at 8:42:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh the mommy guilt! You just found out you're not perfect? It doesn't matter HOW your baby came to be yours, you're still a mother just like anyone else. And it's a job. An exhaustingly relentless job. Just remember that you are only human. You will find your path (and lose it again plenty in the next 18 years) but you'll get there, and Cedar will be none the worse for wear. You can't be everything to everyone all the time. It's not possible. Just know that if you are doing the best you can, that's enough. And you, my dear, are most definitely enough.

Nashay

December 30, 2008 at 9:15:00 PM PST  
Blogger Puanani said...

Please know, my babies grew in me and I still struggled to wake up in the night. I too am a morning/day person. I depended on their father a lot to bring them to me. Your honesty is beautiful and you are not alone...

December 30, 2008 at 9:18:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Annie said...

I am so happy that you're working your way through these complex emotions. It just goes to show you are a normal wonderful Mum.

You are completely normal. Wanting desperately to cling to sleep in the middle of the night is very normal, especially around this time.

I continue to admire your sensitivity to those still on the journey.

Peace be with you

December 30, 2008 at 9:18:00 PM PST  
Anonymous joanne said...

i had done a pretty good job at convincing myself my own wounds had healed...and then one day i clicked through your blog and went into a lot of overwhelming feelings that needed to have the freedom to just be...

i think to be honest with ourselves...with those we love...and also with one another we realize how much stronger we are for having shared...

the hardest part for me is to do away with guilt over being emotional...and actually welcome every feeling as it comes and let it wash over me for what it can bring me in any given moment...it is why i still read here even when it hurts...the hurt has something to show me...

thank you for being so open and honest and so caring...it is with an open heart that you have received your amazing gift of love...he is so very blessed to have you as his mom...

December 30, 2008 at 9:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for always keeping it real. It is a rare and beautiful thing and I wish more people could just be honest. Especially women who become mothers and feel they must wear a facade to all the world and even themselves that every moment is rainbows and sunshine. Everything in life is yin and yang, including parenthood.
-Susie

December 30, 2008 at 9:40:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kate Courageous said...

You are so beautiful. I honor you for telling your truth.

December 30, 2008 at 10:43:00 PM PST  
Blogger Stacy said...

thank you love for always being so eloquent and tender in your words. the way you write is real, raw, honest and from the heart. always. and you are still beautiful, even when you feel mixed up.

i strive for this but the posts i would write about being shell shocked always sounded to me as if i were just bitching about not having showered in four days, or what a mess my home was, or how i would be a sobbing mess at 4:00 am many nights, or how i was sometimes jealous that my husband was able to leave for 12 hours a day many days.

i didn't want to sound ungrateful for the beautiful gift i had so i would end up not publishing them because i also remember reading those posts from others when i was still searching for my daughter and i noticed i would begin to censor myself too much which upset me. so, i chose to say nothing at times because these days, i don't know how to express myself with words it seems. my brain is officially mush most every moment of the day. i understand the guilt attached to this, so much.

of course the road to parenthood isn't all sweetness and light, and it's crazy to think it would be, no matter how long the road is for each of us to arrive here.

but i digress.

the best part of you continuing to share everything in your heart is that cedar will always know to do the same himself because he will learn by beautiful example.

i love you

p.s. what hotel were you at? it looks cool.... and we'll need one soon. ; )

December 30, 2008 at 10:53:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Kea said...

I just had to post a comment, I just wanted to let you know that those feelings you are feeling is normal. I don't care whether you had your baby or adopted him, i felt the same way and i had my baby. I wanted a baby so bad that it hurt me so bad when someone around me or on the internet got pregnant. I cried so many times in the shower when no one was around. But i felt those feelings when i had my daughter. You wanted to be honest to your readers so i want to be honest with you, i have only told my husband this, but i was almost to the point where i just wanted to walk out the door. I wanted to just leave her at my parents and just walk away. I loved her but all the emotions and responsibility that come with having a baby, it is very over whelming. I'm a night owl but i didn't even take those every 2-2 1/2 hr feedings very well all through the night. My husband works at night so i was right by myself and i had to have a c-section. But I still never expected to feel that way. I cried and begged him not to go to work at night. But somehow i got over those feelings i made it through. It gets easier, i promise. People told me that and i couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel but you will make it. It gets better. I felt soo ashamed to have the feelings that i had, i felt like a bad person. I felt like i could not even tell my husband but i had too. And he understood and talked to me and told me that we was going to be alright that we was a team. He was right, i could not imagine my life without her.

And another thing that i wanted to say is that i went through infertility. It took us YEARS to get pregnant and we lost a baby last year just 7 months before i got pg with my baby girl. It was an ectopic pregnancy. I was angry and didn't understand how that could happen. I was depressed and i still think about that all the time. It still bothers me when i hear about people getting pg soo easy even though i have a beautiful baby girl that is 4 1/2 months old, infertility never goes away. These little miracles that are in our lives makes it easier but it never goes away. I have to remind myself that i have my baby girl that i got my miracle. But we are human. You are not alone with everything that you are feeling. I just wanted to share my story with you and let you know to hang in there.

December 30, 2008 at 10:59:00 PM PST  
Blogger pERiWinKle said...

Teehee! :-) big smiles for you...looking into your eyes, speechless...with an expression that says...'i understand'...until the wee hours of the night...

the thing is...when they are crying and crancky...you as the mama, actually forget that you are happy! :0)

I love you my Journey Sister!
I love you so very much!!! xx

December 30, 2008 at 11:01:00 PM PST  
Anonymous debbie said...

beautiful. brave. boho.

December 30, 2008 at 11:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger Carol said...

I so don't miss those first two months of sleepless nights... there was one morning when I awoke with my son and I was just so drained, so exhausted that I picked him up and carried him in to my Mum. I felt such a terrible sense of guilt and shame for that for a long time. Now I recognise that I was so very, very, very tired and it was important for me at that moment to sleep, so that I could be fully replenished.

We are only human, and sometimes we place such harsh expectations upon ourselves.

Peace

December 31, 2008 at 12:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger Julia said...

You're not unique, and I mean that in a very good way! The first months (or until that baby starts sleeping through the entire night) are the most difficult by far. You absolutely have to set aside the guilt. Take it, put it in a box, save it for another occasion. Make an agreeement with BohoBoy that every 2nd or 3rd night you sleep in a separate room or you DON'T reach for Cedar (why are you both up and about??) and get at least one good nights sleep. That in itself will make a world of difference.

I think the other feelings you have are perfectly normal too.

Hugs!

December 31, 2008 at 1:50:00 AM PST  
Blogger Alicia said...

I am an adoptive Mom.... and I feel your pain at missing out on carrying him inside of you. And I thank you for your realness....it helps heal us all.

December 31, 2008 at 2:34:00 AM PST  
Blogger Julianne said...

What a beautiful and painfully honest post. Maybe it will help to know that I gave birth to my children, but did not love waking all night to feed them. Just remember that this is not permanent. In the scheme of things this is a very short time. It will pass. Just take it one night at a time and know that it won't last forever. I am so happy for you all.

December 31, 2008 at 5:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mama V said...

The Mommy Guilt is SO HARD! Thanks for your honesty, Denise. I think it takes so much courage to share these things.

I'm like you -- I need my sleep (9 hours, at least!), always have, always will. The first year with my son was shocking mostly because of that. I'm convinced that 90% of parenting woes in the first years are directly due to this torture of sleep deprivation!

Way to be honest with yourself and with Boho Boy and with Cedar!

-Vanessa

December 31, 2008 at 5:25:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also an adoptive mom and I also feel that I have healed. That said, this past month, I have founds out that four of my friends are pregnant, and yes, that punch in the gut came back.

The thing is, healing does not erase the pain we have felt. When we physically heal a broken bone or open wound, we don't go back to perfection - we have scars, our bones now have imperfections. Grief fades, but there is a residual hurt. I lost both my parents during my five years of infertility - I am so happy now, but I am still angry and hurt that I had to go through so much pain, though it has changed how I am for the better.

Karen

December 31, 2008 at 5:26:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Susan said...

I love reading your stories and that you're so real and genuine in your thoughts and words. It's okay and natural to feel these things...it's what moms do. Especially new ones.

I have a 3 year old son and I think one of the biggest kept secrets out there is that this is a very hard job. No one tells you about it during the journey (before baby comes into your life) and if you might hear something along those lines, well you dismiss it or say it won't be that way for you or maybe they're just bitter people. (It's funny b/c I decided to see "Marley and Me" yesterday as I needed to escape for a little me time and Jennifer Anniston's character says this very thing in the movie. It's just so true and again, I feel like no one prepares or teaches us about it. Just like when you mentioned the sleep deprivation. How does one prepare for that!) :)

Becoming a mother has taught me so much. I think the biggest lesson for me was learning not to judge the way other mothers/parents raise their children. I remember reading a post on Andrea (Schers) blog about Ben wanting to watch Elmo and that she never thought that she and her husband would be the kind of parents to let their child watch something like that. But it made Ben so happy that they let him watch it. It's the gentleness and just letting go of preconceived notions about what you thought motherhood/parenting should be like. With this comes an exhale...which is liberating.

I think you're so brave and lovely. You and Boho Boy are going to be the best parents. Cedar is very blessed to have you

December 31, 2008 at 6:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger QuackMeHard said...

I went through a phase when my daughter (that did grow inside me) was about 2 months old... I don't know how to put it to words, but it was like I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I was SO beyond tired and SO beyond stressed that I asked my husband to stay home a few days so that I could rest and so that I could recuperate. And then right after that I would get all giddy whenever she woke up and LOVE it to tears... And then I didn't want to deal with it... it's a cycle. To this day I don't know how I'm going to feel. It doesn't mean you don't love them. You have no reasons to feel guilty.

None. At. All.

And you're lucky to have such a supportive husband. I know you know that :-)

Anyhow, my advice is to just keep doing what you're doing. Let the good, bad and the ugly come out. The stuff that you find is hard to admit is probably something that someone else has experienced.

December 31, 2008 at 6:17:00 AM PST  
Blogger Carmen said...

What a
beautiful,
brave,
courage,
tender,
compassionate,
empathetic,
real,
honest,
authentic post,
written as only a gentle,
patient, understanding,
mother could write.

Cedar is blessed to have you and Boho Boy as parents.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2009 and beyond.

Namasté,
Carmen

December 31, 2008 at 6:27:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I´ve been working hard lately so I had no time to visit your blog and when I came to it this morning, I found your glorious baby. I´m so happy for you and your husband!. I´ve been reading your blog for more than a year now, I´ve read about your feelings and struggles and finally you get what you were looking for. Your son is precious and your photos are wonderful, as usual... even this one ;)

Now you are begining the life you wished and it is fantastic. But sometimes we kept too many expectations about what things should be and we forget to love what it is. But when we start to stay true, we learn to accept and appreciate our own process and this allows us to be centered. You´re doing it, you´re very brave.

Enjoy your son and cherish every moment. I wish you all the best. Much Love. Xena xxxx

December 31, 2008 at 6:58:00 AM PST  
Blogger Leslie said...

You are such a beautiful soul. Welcome to genuine motherhood!! Frustration and guilt are now part of daily life! Don't expect that to go away anytime soon . . . they'll just manifest themselves in different ways over the years! ;-) That said, be gentle on yourself when those feelings arise. Frustration compounded by lack of sleep is natural and expected at this stage of the game. And you shouldn't feel extra guilt because you're experiencing these things even though you had wanted a baby for so long . . . your gratitude shines through, even amidst those sleep deprived moments of frustration. Getting those feelings out of your head and heart are a good way of letting them go and moving on. You're lucky to have Boho Boy and a wonderful group of friends -- their shoulders will be most valuable to you as you start your journey as a parent! Peace, Momma.

Leslie

December 31, 2008 at 7:03:00 AM PST  
Blogger jon-erik said...

Hey Boho Sister......:-)....a wise woman once realized and shared with the rest of the circle....."We are healed of a suffering ONLY by expressing it to the fullest!"
We love you for your energy of honesty!
Namaste Jon-Erik

December 31, 2008 at 7:22:00 AM PST  
Blogger Jenn said...

Hi... thought I would come out of the shadows and finally post. I found my way to your blog through Heather at Beautythatmoves. I am a fellow adoptive mama blogger and I wanted to thank you for putting into words what so many of us struggle to do. I admire your honesty - I agree that feelings aren't always pretty on the outside, but they're real and big lessons can be learned by agreeing to let them flow.

happy new year - to you and your family.

peace,

J

December 31, 2008 at 7:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger The Accidental Blogger said...

i am writing this not to diminish or one-up your struggle, but simply in solidarity:
for the first 5 months of ruby's life, she woke overnight only for feedings. she woke next to me in bed, i rolled over sleepily, she ate without really waking, and we both were backs asleep relatively soon. at 6 months, she started waking up more frequently -- just to be rocked back to sleep. for 3 1/2 months, until she was 9 1/2months old, she woke every hour. EVERY HOUR. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. she also decided that naps were useless. for 3 1/2 months -- after the first 5 months of "normal" sleep deprivation -- i never slept more than an hour at a time. AND she had rabid separation anxiety, so only i could settle her. oh yeah. let me tell you: i was -- literally, not figuratively -- insane. sleep deprivation will intensify so many negative emotions which otherwise are gentle and fleeting. it will render the most patient person intolerant. it will, in plain english, make you effing crazy. and i am a night person! those months were so challenging. and they were made no less challenging by the fact that i had a perfect, beautiful, healthy daughter whom i carried after 2 decades of being told i never would.
all to say: i am glad you are giving yourself the space to feel what you do. as you said in an earlier post, there is NO way -- NO WAY -- to prepare for that type of sleep deprivation. no matter who you are, no matter what the circumstances. so i say to you, with big, open, empathetic and sympathetic arms: welcome, momma!

December 31, 2008 at 7:58:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rowena said...

Your honesty is inspiring.

When you talk of your frustration with getting up at night, to me, I see it as just part of the new journey of being a mom, although I understand your feeling like you shouldn't feel that way after your struggle.

But there is nothing simple about becoming or being a mother. It is hard, heartbreaking and wonderful too. You can exist in the heartbreak while still knowing how grateful you are for the gift.

I am almost afraid to say what goes through my mind sometimes when I read your stories, and I hope you don't take it the wrong way or feel that "strangle you" urge.

I think, sometimes, "she's lucky she doesn't have to deal with PPD or antepartum depression." And I don't mean that to take away from the struggle that you did go through, but I went through three years of depression with my kids before I stopped breastfeeding and the hormones disappeared. I didn't even know it was what it was until I came out the other end, I just knew I was wrong. And I was actually glad you didn't have to deal with any of that on top of your fertility struggle, because I can't imagine how hard it would be to have both of those to go through. It was hard enough with an easy physical pregnancy.

So why do I say this now, when I know people are reading who are struggling with fertility?

Maybe because I just want all of us to remember that we never know the struggles that will be given us. And it isn't that one person is better or worse or more deserving or WRONG to struggle with whatever it is that is placed before them. Even if people would die for the chance to have that struggle, it doesn't make it any easier to go through it when you are in the middle of it.

I go on too long.

All I can say is that I hope we all grow and get stronger after making it through our dark times.

December 31, 2008 at 8:33:00 AM PST  
Blogger Busymomma66 said...

Thank you so much for sharing, it was brave and true.

Mommy guilt sucks. Unfortunately, it won't be the last time you feel it. My theory has become: They're going to end up in counseling blaming me anyway...so, do the best I can and get over it all. I'm trying, sometimes it's hard. Wishing you much happiness in this new year.

December 31, 2008 at 9:10:00 AM PST  
Blogger Kristine said...

You are such a beautiful soul--you are exactly what your little boho baby needs. If only all children could have a mother as obviously honest, tender, and loving as you are. I have three children that I gave birth to myself, and I'm not a night person either. With my first child I made myself and my husband miserable by not letting anyone help. I had twins in July and have been forced to let others, especially my husband, help, particularly with nighttime feedings. I feel guilty, too, but I am so much happier! Be happy that your husband is a night owl and that you thrive during the day! It's the perfect combination for your little Cedar! Value your strengths, and try to let go of your perceived weaknesses. Your little Cedar is such a lucky boy to have such a sensitive, loving mommy. He won't care if you don't tend to him at night; he'll remember all the wonderful, sensitive moments you spend with him during the day. And in a few months, you'll likely not have to do so much nighttime parenting. Let the guilt go, and enjoy the beautiful family that you are!

Kristine

December 31, 2008 at 9:37:00 AM PST  
Anonymous jennifer said...

denise...that was a beautiful post. thank you for your honesty. thank you for sharing your stories. i am still trying to conceive and now on a daily injection that the doctor says should help with implantation failure...i love your blog. it helps me sooo much! xoxo

December 31, 2008 at 9:48:00 AM PST  
Blogger Beka said...

You are so brave...and your raw honesty is inspiring and comforting. I love reading your blog. Happy New Year.

Mahalo,

~Beka

December 31, 2008 at 10:42:00 AM PST  
Blogger kadfoto said...

You are so lovely. So brave. Full of inspiring courage. Wishes for a happy new year, to you, your man and little Cedar.

December 31, 2008 at 10:49:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Maria said...

You are such an inspiration...
Happy New Year, Boho family (direct & indirect)!
All the best for you all, family and friends.
Maria, in Lisbon.

December 31, 2008 at 11:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger pakosta said...

i admire you too. your honesty is greatly appreciated! you are an awesome mother! i went years with no sleep at night and let me tell you, it's NOT fun! we all need our sleep so we can give of ourselves during the day hours....hugs! thanks for being real!
tara

December 31, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous lindsey said...

Denise, you are so brave, and your posts mean so much to me. Your journey gives me more hope and a better understanding of my own path.

December 31, 2008 at 1:20:00 PM PST  
Blogger Starrymedgirl said...

I want to echo the others who have said how normal these feelings are. After I had my daughter, I thought the bond would be immediate and wondered why it wasn't as strong as I thought it would be. I dreaded nighttime feedings and would get anxious at bedtime wondering what the night would bring. But then I started sleeping and life started to look recognizable again. I loved her more and more as time passed until, finally, I recognized the insane 'i'm so in love with this child' feeling I'd heard so much about. I think it had less to do with genetics and more to do with months of serving her (and the love that is so often borne of giving) and watching her grow. Thanks for your honesty--it is refreshing. :)

December 31, 2008 at 2:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger Megan said...

If I had to sum up why you are my inspiration it would be your total honesty about how you feel. You are so brave to share with us, and brave-ness (sp?) is not something I have anymore.

It's so easy to sit here and think "if only I had _____" THEN I would be happy. What people don't realize sometimes, especially me, is that just because you get frustrated or blue, doesn't mean you DON'T have happiness.. it just means you're alive.

I've wondered if I'm old enough now that when I do get my miracle baby, will I be adaptable? I am blessed with the ability to sleep whenever and freedom to roam, would I miss those things? My knee jerk reaction is NO! I want a baby more than I want to BREATHE, but I would. I know I would. But missing those things doens't mean you don't love your baby. It's natural to mourn what you had at the same time you are joyous about what you have...

and even though the point of this post is that you KNOW you're allowed to feel this... I'm still going to say: You are allowed to feel frustrated. Just wait till he flushes your cell phone down the toilet!! LOL

December 31, 2008 at 2:13:00 PM PST  
Anonymous satori17@yahoo.com said...

i wouldn't be even a bit surprised if you find yourself pregnant in 2009 with another little boy!

cedar is a beauty and be gentle with your soul.
but motherhood is not easy journey.
it is filled with so much yummy goodness, love and hope. but one needs much patience and forgiveness for ones self.

i am constantly getting books to help me on this journey, "how to be a positive mother, zen and the art of parenting, buddhism for mothers".
i know that there is not one woman on this blog or out there who hasn't screamed at night when she is awoken by a screaming baby.

my kids still kick me out of bed, granted ours in full size! but i have been up since 4:30am and it sucks. last night when i awoke i was trying to tell my 4 year old that he must PLEASE stop this, mommy needs rest. truly, he doesn't even realize it, he just wants love and his mommy.

i think we all just get use to less sleep, learn through trial and error how to cope and make every day the best that we can.

and in a nutshell, that is motherhood.

before babies we are all enamored with how it will be and that image is not how it really is but that is ok. love is all you need and it will all be ok!

may the universe bless you with a good nights sleep! lucky you. cedar is adorable.

peace love & light

December 31, 2008 at 2:44:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so brave to admit to these ambivalent feelings, Denise. When I had my daughter, I wanted to run screaming from the exact same thoughts. I was certain that I was a bad mother because I didn't want to get up four times a night to tend to my baby. She's six months old now, and still waking up several times each night to nurse and/or be comforted, but you know what? I read somewhere that a mother gradually adopts her baby's sleeping patterns, and that has been true in my case. I now wake up moments before she does every time, and it's so much easier.
I hope the same for you. :) Every mother finds her own path, and your honesty in doing so is inspiring.

December 31, 2008 at 2:46:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last trimester of my first and only pregnancy had taken a turn for the worse, and my labor and delivery were difficult and painful (emotionally and physically), and yet, born from all of it was a wonderful son. The likelihood of me having another pregnancy is quite slim, and at times I feel that "sock in the gut" you mentioned especially when I hear of people who have had such "easy pregnancies" and live to have many more after the first. We've been considering adoption, because quite simply, we still have room in our hearts and lives for another child. And while it opens wounds in me that I might never have the chance to do pregnancy all over, in the ridiculous wish that I could do things better the second time around or avoid all the difficulties from the first one, I believe, that the gift of another child in our lives would be welcome and cherished even if I could not bear him/her myself. Reading your thoughts about your journey has allowed me to explore adoption vicariously, and it's quite beautiful to read about the special and unique bond that can and does exist between you and your son, regardless of the way he came into your lives, or perhaps, because of the way he came into your lives.

It isn't always easy to be honest in motherhood, and yet, without the kind of honesty you've written here, we could never experience and more importantly receive the kind of compassion we so need as mothers, as humans.

Thank you, fellow mama.

-just me

December 31, 2008 at 3:12:00 PM PST  
Anonymous amy said...

thank you for your lovely honesty. i haven't shared the same experiences you describe but the power of your words (for me) is in the reminder to be open to the winding nature of our pathways.

December 31, 2008 at 3:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love you so....
jen gray

December 31, 2008 at 3:23:00 PM PST  
Blogger .E. said...

while I am not an adoptive mother.. I do understand your struggles.. I struggle every day raising 4 children wondering if my failures are hurting them? and knowing that its ok to not be perfect... it happens.. none of are.. we are all struggling through this mommy maze.. you will find your way.. You are strong and courageous and honest and that will only make you an even better mom and a stronger person..and you just watch.. it will make your dear sweet Cedar an even stronger person in his own right.. He is just as blessed to have you as his mom as you do to have him. Enjoy all these moments, every single one.. because they will fly past with a speed in which you will not be able to fathom.

Wishing you and your family a peaceful and happy 2009.

December 31, 2008 at 3:43:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Liza said...

You are truly brave to share this story as there could be many judgments made. But we all our allowed to feel and have a roller coaster of emotions.
It is so interesting that although you are feeling bad that you didn't conceive your child you are going through what I identify as post partum. However this may not be the case. But the way you describe feeling right now I felt right after I had my own son, now 9 and 1/2 months. I got over it after he turned 2 months, and after that regretted that I didn't live in the moment with him. I still regret it to this day but have decided since then that each waking minute now would be embraced.

Your child is beautiful!

December 31, 2008 at 9:58:00 PM PST  
Blogger mames said...

denise, i have read here for some time and rarely comment because i have my own and always felt a little weird when i would read of your longing and was deeply in the throes of post partum after delivering twins. i sometimes thought you had no idea what you were asking for. mind you, this was in the earlier days when i was a wreck. (oddly enough, comment leaving interrupted by them waking up crying after a long flight home and a long time away from their beds and learning to talk and just plain bad sleep for a few days).

i remember my guilt at wishing for something different while i struggled to take care of these two healthy beautiful twins we were given. i remember thinking i didn't even ask for this.

now,at 20 months, the joy surrounds and abounds. be kind to yourself. it is a hard time, the early days, whether from your womb or your gift(ed) child , learning mamahood is trial by fire. you are doing beautifully.

this new year holds wonders you cannot imagine, just hold on and embrace the time, it goes away and then you embrace another (like muttering baby boys that nightly chortle and say choo choo from the comfort of the crib where they sleep contentedly (sometimes) without you).

wishing you a new year, a new time, and your new family's growth.

December 31, 2008 at 11:30:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lil said...

denise, staying real here and in your world is best definitely...smothering those feelings and trying to "be perfect" and "do perfect" is too damn hard...and futile. i always wondered why other mothers didn't tell me how hard this job was going to be when i go pregnant, but you now know that you don't have to be part of the myth, be part of the truth, because there is so much more strength in the truth.

Keep writing from your heart truthfully, there's really no other way to be.

peace,
lil

January 1, 2009 at 6:15:00 AM PST  
Blogger laundrygirl said...

Happy New Year to you!
Thank you for being so real and true and honest. You encourage me and inspire me in ways you may never fully understand.
I think without the struggles and acknowledgment of the hardships the depth of happiness could not be so deep and wide and wonderful. I think with everything there is both excitement and disappointment. Sometimes we just hide the shortcomings and put on a happy face when that is NOT being real. And yet we do this because there's a pressure to do so when in reality, if we shared in the ways that you have over the years, we'd see that there are others who share in our struggle. So thank you for your open honesty for you make it possible for others to be open and to know they are not alone.

January 1, 2009 at 9:46:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bohemian Single Mom said...

Boho~
Your brave and poignant writing is always such a gift to read.
You are such a beautiful girl (even with those bags under your eyes). Your soul runs deep and your ability to speak your truth is so admirable. Give yourself a pat on the back. Every day!

Ideally, a woman has 9 months for her body, emotions, and hormones to adjust and prepare her for motherhood.
You had somewhat of a "crash course" on the changes motherhood can bring, practically overnight!

AND YOU'RE DOING FANTASTIC!!!

You are right on schedule with all the self-doubt, weepy exhaustion, and second guessing yourself.
Just take it one day at a time,
cherish it all, and learn from Cedar as much as he's learning from you.

P.S. Take good care of yourself. I predict you will conceive a little sibling for Cedar this year...happens all the time.

All the best to your blessed family in 2009!

January 1, 2009 at 2:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger Jackie said...

Bohogirl, Thank you for saying and understanding exactly what I have felt since we adopted our son at two days old. And don't worry, the the little guy will start sleeping through the night soon, mine did at 10 weeks old., thankfully it was the week before I had to return to my full time job. I do believe that even adopted mommies suffer from some form of PPD, I know I did. I went from no baby one day to a baby the next and then was basically home all day 5 days a week while my husband was at work for almost 3 months, I started getting depressed. Sometime around week 5 or 6 he wouldn't stop crying, and it seemed like I was so tired and that there were days that I didn't even get out of my pj's, but then I got a hold of things, and he started sleeping longer and it got better. And I realized that I was normal and my feelings were normal. You are so amazing and I just love you and admire you so much! I love love to read your posts, they make me think and make me feel better!

Peace and love!
Jackie

January 1, 2009 at 5:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

I love you

January 2, 2009 at 6:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger mountain.mama said...

Time to de-lurk.

I love your blog and have relished reading about the entire process of wanting a baby and then blessedly receiving a baby. I think we all have fantasies about motherhood and then there's the reality. It's all good as well as confusing, frustrating, heartbreaking, and on and on. Just as you start to believe you have mastered parenting, then the child changes again and you're off to the races or shell shocked or proud. It's life in all its muddled glory.

I was left breathless by your honesty.

January 2, 2009 at 9:13:00 AM PST  
Anonymous amy j said...

This is what it is...new motherhood, just with a twist on very normal feelings in the first blurry days on this road.

And it is OK. It is fine. It is totally understandable and, for women who are truthful with themselves and others, justified.

This new role will require you to give of yourself like you never have. And that doesn't come without anxiety, frustration, misery and exasperation...and even, gasp, at times, resentment. And it is NORMAL.

Even for adoptive moms and dads.

You will feel this sort of feeling a million times over between now and when Cedar heads off into adulthood...and even after that. You will not always love being his mother or even like him at times (sorry, there will those moments too). And just because you didn't carry him don't you fool yourself for one second that moms who've birthed a child don't feel the EXACT same way.

Motherhood is the unique mix of the most amazing thing you'll every experience and the hardest thing you'll ever do. It will shock you to your core the extremes on both ends...every day, sometimes every hour, LOL.

But you can feel yourself grow in your soul during each second of experiencing it. I carried my children, but I didn't become their mother until I had them here with me and had to give of myself outside of my womb. That is just a tiny part of what being a mother is, believe me. Pregnancy is wonderful, but years after it you only have a glimmer of the memory of it. What you do remember...and feel...is the daily existence as the caretaker of a child. And that is made, in each and every one of us, birth mom or not.

Carrying a child does not make a mother, love does.

You got it in spades lady and that child is yours every much as mine, who I carried are. I've often said to moms who have new babies, welcome to this very exclusive club. You will never belong to such a group again in your life. The only ones who can understand mothering are other mothers. And we welcome each new member in with open arms because we just KNOW.

Once you become a mother, you often times feel as if you're mother to every child you meet. And since I think most moms understand what I mean by that...that mothering is just instinctive and natural, no matter if the child is technically yours biologically or not, we all feel strongly that, in time, you will see what we mean by Cedar being yours. One day, you will think...pregnancy is overrated (and it is, lol). I got to get this wonderful prize and avoid the nausea, swollen ankles and sciatica and still end up with my wonderful son.

I can't wait to follow you on this journey.

You are definitely not alone, mama.

Oh, and btw, he's really coming close to the golden time of babyhood! Around three months things improve DRASTICALLY on the staying up at night thing and you will feel like a new person.

Quick bit of advice (sorry I can't resist). Try to resist the urge to over indulge him at night by letting him sleep with you. A schedule and him in his own room will make a world of difference in the coming months. Trust me.

January 2, 2009 at 9:38:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Motherhood is truely a test of your strength, patience, fortitude, and capacity to love. There are wonderous times, trying times, times of hope, happiness, sadness, and again enormous love. Remember that wether your baby grows in you or out of you, the experiences you have will be uniquely yours. I have 9 and 12 year olds and I had my own wishes that did not come true and pleasures that i did not know i should wish for. Be yourself and be proud and happy with the experience you have been given, nothing else really matters.

January 2, 2009 at 10:32:00 AM PST  
Anonymous elisa said...

I haven't read through all your comments, I am sure there is a wealth of advice there but I just wanted to offer you one more bit of support.

What you are feeling is so normal for a new mama, bio or not. When I had my first son I was absolutely shocked with how much I didn't bond right away, hated waking up at night, and felt that I now came with "baggage" if my husband and I were ever to split up.

I would NEVER have admitted that at the time, I was not as brave as you. Being a Mama is such hard work and such a life changing experience. I was shocked. It took me a long time to find my groove.

And now here I am, three kiddos later and expecting our 4th- this time through adoption. I can honestly say that the waiting for this child feels no different than waiting for my bio kiddos.

Well that's a lie. It has been better. I have wine with dinner, sex with my husband, I can wear my skinny jeans, and I am not dreading another c-section.

I am so totally excited.

Don't be afraid to speak how you feel, you are an inspiration to the rest of us that are sometimes too afraid to say how we feel.

January 2, 2009 at 3:40:00 PM PST  
Blogger jenica said...

oh beautiful boho.

thank you for your honesty. thank you for being so very open. life definently doesn't stop or even move on perfectly once the baby comes. in fact the pain is still there but mama guilt overcomes us. we're not good enough, we're not happy enough, we're not kind enough...

you are a good mama.

my word verification is: guityl which is far too close to plain ole guilty.

January 2, 2009 at 5:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger jon-erik said...

.....and a circle of wise women holding hands linked in a circle....experienced together and shared together, the stories from the walk through the "Earth Mother Door".....wise women ahead on the path sending back to the initiation mothers.....the lessons...picking you up when you stumble....The power of "Feminine" linked by open hands in a circle....the oldest of LOVE.... the strongest of life forces.........and while all of you are gathering here, around this pixilated fire......telling each's sacred story.....while wearing your warm cloaks with motherHoods...beaded with....stars from the midnight skys!
You are all carriers of the sacred water....tears of love!
Namaste J-E

January 3, 2009 at 8:34:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Marisa and Creative Thursday said...

Lovely Denise ~ you are the best! as always thank you for your open and honest heart that you so generously and graciously share with all of us. happy new year to you~

January 5, 2009 at 6:43:00 PM PST  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

The best gift you'll ever give your baby is a mom who is aware of her emotions and who takes the time to process and honor them.

Good for you, and good for Cedar.

And kudos to good men, who get it.

January 5, 2009 at 7:19:00 PM PST  

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