Like most parents, I think my son is wonderful. He’s two, so life with him isn’t always wonderful. Actually, it can be down right frustrating, but the little person he is, is wonderful. He loves to dance, laugh, snuggle, read books, chase the dog, run around in circles, make farm animal noises, pretend to be a dinosaur, splash in the bath, give his stuffed animals kisses…he’s wonderful.
Unlike most parents, I have known my son for only four months (he has been living with us for almost three months).
Like most new parents, my husband and I have been showered with cards, toys, games, clothes, hand-me-downs, gift-cards, and general excited well wishes.
Unlike most new parents, my son did not gestate to full term in my body, nor did I give birth to him (natural or otherwise).
Most people I have encountered in the brief time I have become a mom, have been very excited and supportive. Most people share their excitement through hugs, laughter, and yes, tears (of joy). I truly believe that all who have shared their joy and excitement have meant well in their jubilation, however there is one expression I have heard several times from well-intentioned individuals that has given me pause: “That was the easiest labor and delivery you ever had.”
Please know that the people who have said this phrase to me are wonderful people and I love them…but I don’t think they thought through their words before sharing in their excitement (which we are all apt to do).
It is true, I did not carry my son to term, I did not go through pregnancy with all its pain that accompanies its joy, my water did not break, and I did not go through hours upon hours of labor…I did not plan a caesarian birth, a water birth, a home birth, or a natural birth…I did not have complications with delivery, end up with an emergency C-section, a premature baby, massive tearing, or infection/illness following delivery…for the record all that shit scares me out of my wits, which is one of the reasons why we chose to adopt.
However, was it an easy labor and delivery?
Ok, so I didn’t go through all the pain and more that I mentioned above, but my husband and I had to attend classes, we had to submit our financial information, we had to divulge all sorts of personal information, we had to have medical evaluations, we had to get background checks and fingerprints, we had interviews, and we had to have a home inspection…all prior to being told we were fit to be parents. (I am not resentful about this process. I fully understand it is place to protect the children that will be placed with prospective parents.) However, was it easy and pain free? Absolutely not. Was it exhausting and very invasive? Most definitely.
So, my labor was not easy…it was filled with more pain and heartache than anyone who has never done will never fully understand.
But there’s more…
Again, I reiterate that I have never given birth to a biological child, but my understanding from most women I have talked to about childbirth is that, though it is a pain beyond pain, it is also a pain that fades when a mother sees her child. However, I have and will carry in my heart a pain for my son that is so deep, so immense, there is nothing that will make it go away, ever.
It is the pain of knowing his past, as short as it was, before he was placed with us. It is the pain of knowing there is nothing I can do to change his past. It is the pain of knowing that at his most vulnerable, he was not taken care of. It is a vast and immeasurable pain that I will forever carry in my heart for my son.
My guess is that most women who have given birth to their children do not meditate regularly on the physical pain of childbirth. I, on the other hand, will forever carry a heartache that will continue to stab me with pain throughout my son’s life.
This does not mean that I dwell on my heartache everyday (although it certainly catches up with me at random and unforeseen times), it also doesn’t eclipse the joy in my heart that I feel for my son on a pretty continuous basis. I am well aware that, like the pain childbirth, the pain in my heart will lessen over time, but I am also aware, it will never fully go away and will be with me always.
So, was it an easy labor and delivery? No, not at all.