Friday, October 1, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

Stream of consciousness writing.

I am scared. I know it's normal. I've read enough to know that.
What are we doing? This isn't like 'normal' parenting--anyone who says it is is deluding themselves. Anyone who says that love can conquer all is actually being silly and naive and it's frankly insulting. Do they realize? No, they don't realize. They just want to help. But I don't want it, thankyouverymuch. I know we chose this, right? There's the rub. We chose it. It chose us? I don't know. A few months ago I was more sure. When did this happen--the older I get the less sure I get? Seems a bit unfair...I was supposed to get more self-assured with every candle added to the birthday cake but um, no that isn't happening in this realm. What if we're making a big mistake? White parents/black baby/conservative suburbs? We should move. We have a five year plan. But then we have to get new jobs, new careers...I've worked hard for my career. Is it such a big deal? When I'm there it is, I feel like my job matters. When I'm away from it, maybe notsomuch in the grand scheme of things? Who knows anymore. Does anyone feel like they ever do enough, give enough, say enough, don't say enough, care enough, engage enough, disengage enough? Does anyone? We're all just hurtling through space on this great amazing planet that we're all destroying, bit by bit, some of us faster, some of us slower but we're all still destroying it. And yet did I just let the water run the full two minutes while I was brushing my damn teeth? I did indeed--add another layer of guilt. We tell ourselves by adopting we're doing the right thing, ecologically speaking, not making any more humans to destroy the planet but when did we get so eco-friendly? We chose not to do donor anything because we didn't want to have 'those' talks but come on, didn't we all fear when we were growing up that we were secretly adopted? Did we fear it? Or sometimes wish it was true? Those days we simply could not stand our families, those days that everything they did, said, stood for, looked like, ate, breathed--it was all wrong wrong wrong. I had those days, many of them. I didn't want to be connected to those people in any way shape or form. But no, I never really hoped to find out I was adopted. I have no idea what that would feel like, how can I? So my kid--yeah, she'll know. She can't not know. She'll look too different from us. So there won't be any big moment of announcement, but there will be a moment of realization. Realization, when she's old enough and wise enough and smart enough to know what it all means--and she'll probably hate me for it just a little bit, if not a whole, whole lot. That's going to be a fun time, eh? Yes we chose this. We did in the strictest sense....we didn't choose to have fucked up gametes and to waste four precious years of our lives pursuing mad science-esque treatments and spending all our money and losing our religion and coming apart at the seams only to stitch ourselves back together and come apart yet again but in the stricted sense yes we chose that too. Sometimes I'm ashamed of it, sometimes I'm amazed by it, and sometimes I'm just raw over it. Maybe now I'm just numb to it. We didn't choose donor because I couldn't imagine those moments of realization either. Do people without fertility problems realize realize realize for even a nanosecond how lucky they are that they don't have to contemplate these moments of realization and understanding? I'm told to read--read read read--to prepare but can I just say that I'm tired? Exhausted even? That I am not inclined to read read read anymore. I spent four years read read reading about drug therapy and experimental protocols and egg quality and supplements and gonadatropins (speaking of gonadatropins I keep learning of more people who did multiple IVFs and now have breast cancer and frankly I'm doubting every doctor who told me these drugs were safe and that's one more thing to think about and worry about and what the fuck did I do to myself anyway??) and I'm sick of reading. Except for pleasure that is. But then I feel guilty. Like my child will be harmed because I haven't read enough because God knows I'm smart enough to know love isn't enough. Oh but I'm sick of reading and I'm sick of feeling guilty and really right now all we want to do is enjoy the two of us and not think about the adoption because it's really just too abstract. But I'm anal retentive and don't want to be unprepared or behind. And we're having such a great time right now--that oppressive boulder of endless treatments is lifted off my chest and by God! I can breathe again--and maybe we are making a mistake? Ruining this perfectly good life? If it was just the two of us we could do more for the planet, more for society--we could volunteer more. Selfishly we could travel. We could see things, do things, live an amazing life. Sometimes all I want to do is bake and cook and watch Project Runway and read for pleasure. Would we feel guilty? Would we feel empty the older we got? How do you live a life hedging your bets against future regrets? Seems impossible doesn't it? But yet that's what we're doing in some small way. I think I think too much, but when your life starts running away from you you tend to overthink things.

Man oh man oh man oh man oh man.

I'm going to stop now. It's time to go for a run. I'm going to Glide up, and go for A Very Long Run.


  1. I'm sorry you are having this doubt and confusion, especially since I know this is just a mirror of the doubt you went through during treatment. I hope things are clearer, or at least more contained, after the run.

  2. Usually when I have those moments I either go for a run or do yoga. Nothing else to do. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Every single choice or every single fork in the road comes with this, if you are someone who thinks a lot. Such is life. It is never ever easy. I agree with the ecological guilt and at one time in my life recall saying I never wanted to have kids b/c of how awful it all is and what we are doing to the earth and how hard life is...but there I was, fighting to have kids with every fiber of my being. Then I knew I wanted a sibling and the guilt comes back...but then so does the idea that we are humans and, as such, a form of animal and it is just in our natures to want this. Such is life again. Ugh. I know how hard this is but just remember, no matter what choice you make, you are likely to second guess it or wonder if you will regret it one day (and maybe you will, maybe you won't). You will never ever know what was down that other road (maybe a fatal plane crash occurs while you are doing all that fabulous traveling)...we never get to know what would have happened had we made other decisions. So, go for that run.

  3. It seems to me that the fact that you're wrestling with all of these questions means you're ahead of the game. the emotions are such a jumble - interracial - genetics - guilt - freedom - selfishness - fear - exhaustion. I don't think people who aren't infertile undestand what we go through - the years of defeat, the loss. now throw international adoption into the mix which is like inviting the world to comment on your fertility, all the while congratulating your altruism as through adoption were an act of charity. my dear friend recently miscarried after 13 weeks and i was devastated for her, but in my heart I knew she would get pregnant again (it took her 1 try at age 36...). i will never understand her loss and grief and she will never understand mine. so be it. I think for many women who have chosen so much of our life's path - our careers, our cities/towns, our partners - we cannot comprehend how motherhood can be so damn elusive and unforgiving, even with science and eastern medicine and a thousand books on infertility and ten thousand blogs on infertility at our disposal.

    This is all to say I know where you're coming from - I have my own stockpile of questions and doubts. But just take it one day at a time. And run like hell.

  4. ps I don't know how to show my name instead of my blog name. i'm heather. should I not be 'commenting as Wordpress'?

  5. I have similar thoughts all the time. This path that we 'chose' of donor and international adoption is not easy. I think about thos implications everyday. Most of the time it is just for a second, but sometimes its much longer. At least you are recognizing those fears now and can begin to deal with some of them. Just remember that you will love you baby and be the absolute best mother and she will love you for that.

  6. Hey, you are in stream of consciousness! It's kind of confusing in there, isn't it?

  7. I certainly don't have any answers for you, but I will say that I think whichever path you two choose from here, or for that matter, which path chooses you; you and Mr.LC make an amazing pair, and will excel in whichever realm you find yourselves in.

    Go forth and conquer, my friend. Be that in your careers, in your community, or in parenthood. And in between kicking all that ass, take the time to bake and watch Project Runway.

    Whatever you do, Make It Work.

  8. We brought our daughter home from Korea a few months ago and I still think about all the things you have written every day. It can be overwhelming. I also worry about what life will be like with my daughter as a teenager and the adoption issues, but I also know being a teenager is hard, adopted or not. Parenting is tough, period. I would really encourage you to find other families in your area going through IA so you can support each other and so your child can see other families like her, and to seek out adults that look like your daughter. You can’t erase your child’s losses, but you can acknowledge them, give them a sense of cultural identity and the tools to be a well-adjusted person. I am hopeful that my daughter will recognize my (imperfect) efforts, and see that the circumstances that brought us together is bigger than us all.

    And PS – there is a lot more to raising an adopted child than thinking about this constantly! All the other fun stuff you get raising little kids is still there – milestones, holidays, family inside jokes, Christmas photos, etc…Also, I am personally grateful to my daughter for giving me a link to a culture that I wouldn’t otherwise have and think our family is richer for it. How corny is that?

  9. Loved this post - so raw. You are a good person to think about all these things as many don't. As someone that has moved many times, I get it. My husband's job moves us a lot - but he has some flexibility. I research the areas to find the best places to live. After what we have been through, there is no way I could possibly live in a conservative town where everyone looks the same and prays the same. Those states also don't seem the friendliest towards women's health care issues or non-smoking.

    You say you like your job, but you are in a great field that you are not stuck where you are. This is a very good thing, especially if you are going to feel that people are judging you and not treating you and your family with respect.

    I have learned that there are places I like, and places I don't. But, we have choices if we have careers that give us flexibility. It takes a lot of courage to move, but you may find paradise - like me.


  10. Just sending you love and support Mrs LC. And particular thanks to Sarah B, as a fellow traveler, for her PS. I hope it's reassuring to you. This is a tricky time for you. You're in the ante room to parenthood. While you're not physically pregnant, you are emotionally and it sounds like those hormones are giving you a run for their money. Let yourself off the hook darling. You're doing the very best that you can - and that's pretty damn good. For all your concerns and fears, your baby is going to be a lucky baby. And she will know it too. Love elliej xxx PS: am smiling a little mischievously as I ask: it's great being a Virgo isn't it? As a fellow Virgoan, you have my sympathies xxx

  11. The older I get too the less sure I am. We all have doubts and thoughts like this, but it is thjrough these thoughts that we make good decisions. Hang in there!

  12. Life is an unknown journey and unfortunately, we aren't given a road map to navigate our way. We put off ART for years b/c I was afraid of the drugs and what would they would prove to have done to my body 15, 20 or 30 years from now. Follow your heart. That little girl is already yours, she's in your heart. You carry her heart in your heart.

  13. Go easy on yourself. I think this makes you normal. There is no way to be 100% sure, you are normal to have doubts. I think you just have to do what you think is best and then close your eyes and leap. Hang in there. You are doing the best you can and making the best choices you can.
    P.S. Fertiles do not realize how lucky they are, how could they. All of this is something I could have never imagined until I lived it.
    P.S.S. Thank you so much for all of your support this weeek.

  14. I hope your run helps to quiet those million and one thoughts running around your mind. Sometimes physical labor or exercise is really the only thing that helps to make the brain "shush" for a moment.
    Doubts about bringing an African baby into a very conservative community with "matching" families- yeah, those thoughts are normal- but don't let anyone stop you from pursuing that baby. Screw anyone who says that what you are doing is not "normal" or "why couldn't you adopt a white baby?"
    Although, I have to tell you, the town I grew up in is extremely conservative and white, and my best friend was an Ethiopian adopted by an all white family, and the family said that they never experienced a single rude comment. I pray that when all is said and done that your town accepts and loves you guys just the same. You shouldn't have to move or change your job (especially since you like your career and heck- that is a hard thing to find nowadays!) just to feel comfortable. Ay! I am writing a novel...have a good run!!

  15. You have the most amazing way with words. I could read your writing for hours. To have moments of doubt is so normal. Absolutely, yes, there are going to be some speed bumps along the way for your child; however, you will be well-equipped to handle them because you were born to be her mommy.

    My cousin is Korean and she went through a stage when it bothered her that she didn't look like the rest of her family (which included a younger sister that was her parents' biological child), but she knew how loved she was & she had a very happy childhood.


  16. This is why you will be a good, no make that great mother. You are not going into this blindly, and you are committed to giving it your all. I have no doubt your child will feel the love!

  17. I think it's normal & healthy to have this much doubt and confusion. You are doing the right thing. screw the plant and the ecological are trying to become parents! that's the beautiful thing in all this. This is what you've wanted...screw the neighbors who can't accept a black child in a white family. None of that matters. What matters is the fact that you want to parent a child, and you are going to do just that. Keep your chin up - try to feel excitement over the life changes and challenges instead of anxiety. Easier said than done, but it's what I try to do myself when I get over-anxious about the whole situation.

  18. You'll read the research for your own fertility but now you're too tired to research adoption.
    That's just great.
    No. You should not adopt. Face it. You really don't want to raise someone else's kid. You want your own.
    Adoption for you is the road of the desperate. It will not satisfy you.
    It is obvious this is not what you want.
    Do yourself and that baby a favor and rethink this plan.

  19. I second what elliej said- you're doing the very best that you can- and your best is pretty damn good.

  20. Wow - First of all, I'm so curious about anonymous's background. Has he/she adopted after numerous unsuccessful ivfs? I'm guessing that she MUST have to be such an expert on the complicated emotions of your specific situation. Interesting.

    I echo what many of the above have said. You will be a better mother because of your ability to think critically and realistically. As much as I wanted a baby (by whatever means it happened), I was still very much scared and, at times, uncertain. I've shared this with you before - I even felt this way during my pregnancy sometimes. I'll admit it - I still have my days (few, but still) where I look at Alex and think "What in the hell did we do?". Does that mean we shouldn't have had a child? No way. I know we are good parents providing her a good life. We are just striving for self-awareness and authenticity. And if there is one thing I want my daughter to be, it's authentic.

    Your post illustrates great self-awareness and authenticity.

    You are going to be an awesome mom. And I hope you continue to have fears and be scared along the path of least some days ;-).

  21. I agree with whoever said that these thoughts probably put you AHEAD of the ball game. I think as a parent- bio or adopted- these are all normal thoughts. I know the first week my daughter was home I said to my husband "What have we done?" Anyone who goes in blindly thinking it's going to be a skipping jaunt down a sunshine path is delusional.
    I'm sure there are many days that our teenage daughter will hate us, for numerous reason (some valid and some notsomuch).
    I appreciate your raw honesty and ability to share publicly what you're feeling. I know that many of us look forward to it- and are willing to comment with our identity to back it up. :)
    Enjoy the fall run! Hope the weather is as beautiful there as it is here!

  22. The raw human emotion and confusion you are feeling are so evident in this post and I'm sorry I'm a little late in offering my support. However, as I am coming by after anonymous' post, let me say that:

    1. They're a coward
    2. They're far to judgmental and don't know a whit about you or your situation or the hot coals you have been forced to walk over again and again
    3. Worrying about these things is what will ultimately make you a better mother because you are AWARE of these concerns and issues and are taking steps to explore and resolve them. This anonymous, whoever they are, seem to be the worst kind of know-it-all which makes them UNAWARE of their own ignorance. If they have kids themselves, I feel sorry for them.

  23. I've been following your blog for a year or so, silently, and wanted to offer you some thoughts after reading your post, and the comments. After dealing with infertility for many years I became pregnant four years ago and now have a beautiful three-year-old son who is the light of my life. I also had a failed domestic adoption in which the birth mom changed her mind at the last minute. I don't pretend to know how you feel, but your pain has been evident, as has your desire to be conscientious in making a decision about how to expand your family.

    The thoughts you wrote about are absolutely not reasons not to adopt, nor are they "proof" of any kind that you don't want to adopt; they are raw, real signs that you have and continue to really consider all the things you've dealt with in your quest to become a parent.

    My son is my biological child, and I love him more than I imagined was possible. That said, parenting is the hardest thing I will ever do. The things you wonder about--in a very realistic way--are real. You said one day your child (and you're absolutely right that she will be YOURS) may hate you. So will my son. It's not negotiable, regardless of how your family grows. My son will hate me for a variety of reasons, I'm sure ("sharing" my eyebrow genes, for one), and that's his job. Not being adopted may be one of his reasons, and being adopted may or may not be one of your child's. And I have no doubt that you will manage that with the same thoughtful consideration with which you've approached this whole experience--and your family will be the better for it.

    It's unfortunate that your anonymous commenter hit and run. It certainly doesn't show the dignity you've shown, but I hope you won't let it disturb you too much; I'm sure he or she is on to the next blog by now.

    Hang in there.


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  25. I understand how you feel. I had the same thoughts when we were pursuing adoption in the past, and now that we're considering it again, they're coming back.

    But I keep reminding myself that as a biological parent, you still don't know what you're going to get - there are parents with bio kids who have autism, who have other rare medical conditions, who have common medical conditions that are difficult to deal with even though they're common, they have kids who have big ears or need thick glasses or walk pigeon-toed and get teased for those things, and there are bio kids who have picture-perfect lives and still go through the horrible teen-age phase of hating their parents. Regardless of how someone becomes a parent, none are immune to any of those challenges.

    Anonymous is an ass. Someone who has not been through the hell you've been through has no right to judge you, and anyone who has been through the hell you've been through wouldn't be interested in judging you.

    And I totally hear you about being tired of reading. I'm tired of it, and I'm afraid that reading about it would jinx things. So if we ever reach the point of success, my plan (seriously) is to have a couple of good friends come over to hang out for a couple of weeks and show me what the hell to do.

  26. I think stream of consciousness writing can be incredibly helpful. It's one of the exercises recommended by Mind/Body guru Alice Domar in her book "Conquering Infertility". She recommends (3) 20-minute writing "sessions" 3 days in a row. B/c the 1st "session" gets it out and after the 3rd, you're able to process more? I don't know, but it helped me. I was dealing with some pretty rough stuff and sure enough felt better after the 3rd "outpouring".

    Again, good for you for getting it out. Sometimes that's all we need.

  27. Man, oh man. These are my thoughts exactly. I'm starting to explore adoptions as a means to a 2nd kid and have many of these questions, doubts. Race concerns, as a caucasian raising a child of a different race: will that child feel isolated? will that child need a role model of his/her race? will that child struggle with identity issues and self-perception? Will I love the child if there is something wrong with him/her? I tell myself that even in families with biological children, sometimes despite a parent's best efforts, these children still have self-esteem problems or hate their parents or are born with developmental or physical problems/diseases. It's rough stuff. I keep telling myself that it will make me stronger. As for anonymous, it's an open forum. People say mean things. But, the majority of people on here can identify with your emotions. It's just a trial run for all the challenges we will face in life when people disagree/judge us. Anonymous: go f yourself.

  28. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but just wanted to stop by and echo other commenters in saying that doubts like these are totally normal when you’re about to become a parent… in fact they seem like a mirror image of the doubts that pretty much every woman goes through when she falls pregnant with a biological child.

    I remember one midwife telling me that most people come to their first ante-natal appointment ‘with their head all over the place’, even people who desperately wanted a child and tried long and hard to get pregnant. I too had my ‘oh god what have I done?’ moment, even after 3 years of IF hell, 3 operations and 2 IVF cycles. I love my daughter more than I ever thought possible and she’s the best thing that ever happened to me, but there is just nothing that prepares you for the enormous responsibility and relentless hard work of being a parent. Anyone who is blasé enough to approach parenthood without any moments of worry or self-doubt, probably isn’t fit to be a parent in my opinion.

    I think maybe you’re giving yourself too hard a time over these thoughts, and I wonder if it’s partly because you can’t imagine having doubts like this in relation to a biological child. I know that when I was going through treatments I found it near impossible to imagine that I could ever have any negative thoughts or doubts about pregnancy or becoming a mum. I wanted a baby so much, and it was the holy grail for so long, that I couldn’t really conceive of ever having any doubts about it.

    And yet sure enough the doubts came flooding in, almost the moment I found out I was pregnant. I’m not talking about regrets - I don’t regret any of it for a second and wouldn’t change it for the world. But I think doubts are a normal reaction to the massive responsibility of becoming a parent. Being responsible for shaping and guiding a brand new human life, teaching them right from wrong, teaching them to love, laugh and respect others – who wouldn’t have the odd moment of blind panic at the thought of it?

    How your child turns out is like the ultimate verdict on you as a person, a verdict you can never escape, a verdict that will forever be on display for the whole world to see. And even worse, the child themselves might one day turn around and hold you to account for the mistakes you made. Your daughter may one day turn around and tell you she wishes she was never adopted, but mine may also turn around and say she wishes she had never been born. Either way the message is the same – you messed up and I’m suffering because of it – and that’s going to sting no matter which road you took to parenthood.

    I know that you will have issues to deal with that are unique to adoption, but please know that fears about your kids growing up wishing they had someone else’s parents are most definitely not unique to adoption. And remember that having biological kids is a choice too, just as much (usually) as choosing to adopt, and having a biological connection to your kids doesn’t make you immune from having that choice thrown back in your face 15 years down the line.

    Am glad you’re feeling better now anyway… here’s hoping your days of baby dipping in the creek are not too far away.

  29. Wow! I'm SO glad you found me!! This week, I've actually been looking for new blogs and haven't been able to find any new ones I like - but yours, instantly I liked! I look forward to following you.

    I can soooo relate to this. The reading is driving me CRAZY. All I have are books on infertility, adoption, foster care. I had forgotten what reading fiction was all about.

    And running is my primary outlet to get all my crazy emotions out, especially the angry and bitter ones. Hot yoga (bikram) helps for the sad emotions... and my counselor just told me to journal, so I did yesterday when I was having a particularly hard day when almost all my sentences started with "I hate..." And the thing I hate the most? Is that I'm normally a happy, positive and loving person who barely hates anything! Oh, I want that person back again so badly... which is why I'm feeling the pull for adoption. Like you say, I just want to feel the weight of treatments off of me.

    I look forward to following your journey!

  30. Ok - now I feel silly because I just realized that I got you mixed up with someone else - but now I am very happy to have found YOU! :)