Wednesday, April 20, 2016

my journey into motherhood

You know all those lists and piles I was making?  I checked them twice and was ready as could be.  We got to the temple and unloaded the car....and I forgot her dress. HER DRESS!  Luckily we have an amazing family, all of whom were willing and ready to go retreive it, and Uncle Brock was driving right by our house when we called. Mercy.  It was wonderful.  The little ladies in the youth center were just as my mom described when recalling our sealing.  They reminded me of Fauna. They just fawned (see what I did?) over Avaya and took such good care of her.  
I got my own escort and got to go in the bride's room to get ready!  How luck am I?!  I don't remember the Bride's room clearly from my wedding day, and although we were sealed in a different temple, I was sure to take it all in this time.  Also different, I was calm and confident, whereas on my wedding day I was unsure of procedure and was a bit like, "What am I wearing..?" But this time, as I put on my veil and tied it, I looked in the mirror and took in my reflection.  I saw a bride that God was proud of who had kept her covenants she made ten years ago.  A woman of God who'd endured and had been made stronger. A woman who had been made more. I saw a mother. I hope I never forget that reflection.
Spencer and I got a few minutes alone in a sealing room and again, looked at our reflections in the facing mirrors. Symbolically, our images go on forever, representing our marriage, but now, also our posterity.  That struck Spencer hard. 
Avaya was wonderful and loved looking around at the beautiful room, especially the chandelier.  The sealer said that one couldn't count the rays of light coming from it, and that is how the light of Christ is.  It's capable of reaching everyone, everywhere. That was about all I remembered him saying because I was too focused on my baby girl.  She was so happy.  Everyone who came was so dear to our hearts and there were a lot of hugs and kisses.
Jade and other family met us outside and we celebrated with dinner at Spencer's and my spot in Ogden.
It feels wonderful to be sealed. But it doesn't feel different. We were always forever, it's just official now.  Part of me was expecting it to feel conclusive. Like an end to our journey.  Our journey continues on, and in some ways it is just beginning.
Our adoption journey was painful and hard, its effects still lingering. But today, I was thinking about my motherhood journey. I'm doing some things I never imagined myself doing as a young girl.  I'm making my own yogurt and having my infant go on the potty, for hell sakes. (If you'd like info on either, comment and I'll post about it.) There are many different versions of "good moms," but in my version, I'm being really successful. (Famous last words.) She ate broccoli without gagging the other night and I almost cried with joy.  She's happy, she's healthy, she's smart, and I'm fulfilled in my job as her mother.  
It wasn't always that way though.  Having to wait so long had its benefits. I had a lot of time to prepare and study and plan.  I knew about post-adoption depression and even discussed it with Spencer before Avaya was born, knowing I had a tendency to become depressed.  This quote from adoption advocate Terra Cooper explains it well:
I think my hardest time was after placement. I didn’t see the guilt and depression that was to come.No one had told me about it and I thought that I was a horrible mom and person for not immediately bonding with my daughter and feeling like an instant mom. I became really close to her birth mom and to see her in pain was really, really hard for me and still is. I try to do anything I can to help ease their pain. My heart was broken the day of placement and has slowly mended...
I knew what was going on, so I wasn't rocked by it, but it was still hard. I felt like I was babysitting for a long time.  I had sooooooo much guilt. "I took another woman's baby" was a phrase that went through my head over and over and over.  Every time I looked at her I saw Jade, and my heart would crumble instead of do backflips.
People asked me if placement day was the "best day ever." It wasn't.  It probably is one of my top ten worst days ever.  There's only one moment that was the best. Jade's mom came into our room and told us that Nate and Jade didn't want to say goodbye and so they were just going to leave.  I understood but I was really sad. A few minutes later they came into our room and Jade and I ran to each other and gave each other the tightest, longest hug.  (They have become a special thing between us, especially on hard days.) I tearfully told her, "Thank you," and she whispered it back.
Bringing Vaya home was so bittersweet.
Spencer was more worried about my depression than I was. I knew I just needed time to work through my feelings. And I did. I prayed a lot, I meditated every night, and as Jade healed, I was able to see Avaya as my own daughter too.
I didn't feel like a horrible mom, again, because I knew what was going on with me and that I just needed time. But I did feel like a horrible person. I had guilt not only stemming from my love for Jade, but also for my tribe. I'd spent so many years in solidarity with my infertile friends. I'd even created a blog support group. (If anyone other than my SIL reads this and is interested in that, please lmk) I felt extremely guilty to be on the other side, now. I felt guilty for being a mom, for my dream coming true. I cringed when Spencer thought we should announce her arrival on FB. I stick to IG so that my friends can choose to follow me knowing that it'll be 95% baby pics and I'm not rubbing it in their faces. And good heavens, I will NEVER EVER complain. Ever. There's still a little guilt there, but by the grace of God, ALL of my infertility friends are becoming mommies! But I still want to be an advocate somehow. Even if it's only to pass the torch to another who has a woe of her womb. 
As for me and baby girl, Spencer went back to work and we immediately settled into our groove of eat, play, sleep, repeat. Everything is fun. I love rocking her to sleep, I love making her baby food and feeding her new things and her little faces, I love seeing her learn about her body and teaching her new things and going on adventures. I love tub time when we both get in and splash around. I love when the house is quiet and we rock in her chair in her room...her little oasis that has become mine.  Just us, and the joy in my heart.
Around two months, I told Spencer she was my best friend, and he was jealous, but said it was his only wish he'd had for me.  Luckily, I have a ton of best friends. But there's nothing like mother-daughter besties.

1 comment:

Jessica Lasater said...

I love this. Avaya is one lucky baby to have a mommy like you ❤