Updated: May 29, 2019
The word mother has so many meanings for each of us. Hundreds of emotions all wrapped up into a two-syllable word. For some it is filled with feelings about our own mothers who we may know or not know. For others it is filled with thoughts of children we raised and to whom we hopefully imparted some wisdom/love. For other mothers it is filled with heartache as we think of our child that we had to say goodbye to, wondering about who they have become.
For me that word brings with it a wide variety of emotions. For the women who raised me, I will forever be grateful for the meaning of the word mother. My heart is filled with hundreds of memories and sentiments as I have gone through many stages in my life. This word also brings a deep longing and a bit of fear as the wait for motherhood seems to be longer than I can bear.
Waiting to have your child in your home is not for the weak of heart. Let me tell you, the wait can feel like an eternity with the speed of time going at what seems a snail’s pace. In adoption the wait to becoming a mother to a child you have possibly only seen in pictures can be one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through. To say there are tips for handing the wait of meeting your child would not be fair. What tip could I honestly give you that would take away the hardships of that wait to becoming a mother for the first, second, or even third time? I can honestly say though, as a woman who has waited through many years of uncertainty, there are things I have learned.
Do what you need to do for your own mental health. I know this seems like an obvious statement, right? But amid those hard days it can be easy to focus on what is not in our control, instead of what is. What is in our control is keeping ourselves healthy. This can mean different things to different people. For me some days it means having a good cry, with a bucket of cookie dough ice cream and a liter of soda. Other times it is leaning on a close trusted friend or professionals to feel heard during the pain. Whatever that may mean to you, do it! The journey to motherhood for some of us is not easy, which means we need to know when to ask for help.
Keep educating yourself. I hear this all the time: ‘You will never have time to read after you become a mother.’ Even though that statement has a little bit of a bitter sting, I also know it is true. Utilize the time while you wait to help prepare you for what is to come. The routine you are in will change drastically, as well as the small amount of free time you may have now. Especially in adoption, your secret weapons are connections you make and education you have. For me it was pushing past the pain of continually reading about something I so desire for the larger picture of deciding that I am going to at least do what I can to prepare for my child.
Make connections but keep them healthy. It is only human nature to feel the need to “keep up with the Jones’s.” In the world of awaiting motherhood that desire does not go away. Just like when you become a mother, we all seem to compare. I have met people who compare their journey to mine, and let me tell you it does not help. All it ends up doing is making me feel more alone and that I am failing before I have even started parenthood. If there is a race to motherhood, I have already lost so why put myself through that. What I do need is to be around those who can sit with me when I need them to, and who understand what I am feeling. The goal is to not to feel so alone. Join a support group, make other waiting mom friends, or spend time with a mother who has been through it. Empathy is being able to sit in a pit with someone and let each of you feel what you need to. Find your pit partners! This journey to motherhood is too hard to do alone.
Keep the focus on what is important and what has been lost. I might understand the pain of waiting for my family to grow, but I don’t understand the pain of having to say goodbye to numerous people who are important to me in such a short period of time. I have great people in my life to remind me to humble myself and realize that I am being honored with the possibility of even being able to be a part of this child’s life. This child had to lose everything to be a part of my world. So I need to keep in perspective what has been lost for everyone on this long road to a family. Understanding that this is just the beginning of the grief process.
Unfortunately, as with many things, this is never a one size fits all scenario. So understand that I don’t know what you may have been through on your journey to motherhood. But know you are not alone. I have had those days that I am not proud of what I have said, done, or thought during this wait to motherhood. But then I ask for forgiveness and try for another day.
We are all just trying to figure out this thing called life, so give grace where you can and lift up those you meet.
From one waiting mother to another.