My stepdaughter is 5 months pregnant at the moment, due to give birth to my grandson in January. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous in any way shape or form. That feeling left me a while ago. But it just got me to thinking about how different life is when you are pregnant as opposed to going through the adoption process.
These are the obvious ones for when you are pregnant:
- You get to surprise your husband
Ultimately when you are pregnant you are the first to know and you get that magical moment of telling your partner that you are going to have a child together (or surprise them if it un-planned). When you adopt you have to agree on when/if this is right for you both and therefore it can never be unplanned! There is no surprise for the spouse….
2. You have to stop drinking
Obviously, when you adopt this is a positive, but I’m sure none of us would have complained about it if we were naturally pregnant. For us, having been trained in the side effects of drugs, alcohol in particular, in our adoption training, we are much more aware of it now than if we would have been if we had been pregnant, when ‘just a small glass wouldn’t hurt’. I have lost count of the times in recent years when I have been disgusted to see a pregnant woman with a wine glass in her hand…..
3. You put on weight
I know this goes without saying, but the number of pregnant women who moan about this! I wouldn’t have minded having an excuse to eat more cake and chocolate and be praised on the size of my waistline. No one complimented me on my figure when I simply ate cake and chocolate to deal with the pressures of the adoption process…..
4. You can find out the sex at 20 weeks or have a surprise
We have all had to choose! No surprises for us. No big black balloon like my stepdaughter had filled with coloured paper when you pop it to tell you what you are having…..
None of us got to see pictures of our children developing in womb, or hear it’s heartbeat to know it is alive. I got to see 3 different photos which were in the Be My Parent Magazine before we met them in the flesh…..
6. Familiarity with voices
We weren’t able to talk or sing to our child to allow it to become familiar with our voices while it was growing in the womb. The first word I said to my children was ‘Hello’ when they were 2 and 5 years old
7. Shopping months in advance
My step-daughter seems to be already fully equipped for the arrival of my grandson in January. We had 2 weeks from knowing we were having the girls to meeting them – not a lot of time to decorate 2 rooms and ensure they are full of toys etc….
8. Praying it’s healthy/True Bonding
Most of us expected to have problems with our children for numerous reasons. We either knew they had health issues to deal with or we knew bonding would take some considerable time. For many of us our children were able to express their feelings straight away and could make it very clear if they were worried, concerned, unhappy. Most birth mothers have no idea what health issues they may face (or don’t expect to face any) and assume that they will bond instantly. We often have to deal with issues that arise from the lack of bonding, or the illness/health issues that arise from drinking while pregnant, taking drugs etc….
9. Too easy
Having a baby is quite an easy process. For us, we had to have a panel of strangers give us permission to be parents and then we had to have another panel make the decision about whether the children we had ‘chosen’ were the right ones for us. Natural parents don’t have to discuss there childhood, have a medical, have previous partners interviewed, have current children interviewed etc before they are given permission to become parents……
10. It will be a blank canvass
Our children all came with baggage…..
11. Automatic acceptance by family and friends
If only this was the case. We have to prove we have a support network before we approved, but so many of our friends and family fall upon the wayside when a little well behaved baby that coos and behaves doesn’t appear. Also you aren’t guaranteed any form of baby shower, gender party etc if you adopt. Presents for us were very few and far between, whereas they are flowing in for my stepdaughter….
12. Will it look like Mummy or Daddy?
Oddly my 2 daughter’s, especially the younger one, do look similar to my step-children in many ways, but they are more like me and my husband in mannerisms than in looks. they are definitely mini me’s in that respect…..
13. Money is important, but isn’t a factor in determining being a parent
Whereas we had to prove we were financially stable and had enough room in the house…..
There are another 100 differences, so watch out for a sequel. For now my wine is calling me!