One of best friends had a baby this week. She’s beautiful and healthy and the whole family is overjoyed! For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call them Jason and Julie. I introduced Jason and Julie about ten years ago. To this day, they are my only successful set up, but, hey, I’ll take it! They fell in love and got married on a beautiful beach. They suit each other so well, they are a wonderful couple. Jason was a little older and so they decided to try to have kids right away, but it didn’t work. Julie didn’t get pregnant, so they started the doctors visits to figure out what was going on. I won’t get into the all the details, but if you know anyone who has dealt with infertility then you know the story. So many visits to the doctor, so many procedures, and so much money. They did eventually go down the IVF route. After one miscarriage about a year ago, they were on to their last viable embryo. And has the gods would have it, this one worked! She got pregnant, carried to term and just delivered an amazing little girl.
This whole process took place over the course of about six years. And while they have a happy ending, their journey was not an easy one. Over the course of those six years, I’ve had countless conversations with one or both of them about the process, journey etc. I’ve been thinking back to a conversation we had about a year or two into this process. Someone in the group asked Julie, “what about adopting?”, and her response threw me for a huge loop. She instantly said “no way, I could never adopt. I know that I would never love that child as much as I would love my own kid.” I was, to be completely forthright, horrified. I couldn’t believe that she said it and more so, I couldn’t believe that she felt that way. My husband and I hadn’t started our own adoption process yet, so I didn’t feel personally attacked or insulted, I was just so completely floored at her response. It bothered me for a really long time.
A few weeks later, I was with another friend who had been present for that conversation. I told her how upset it made me and how I just couldn’t believe that she could say something like that. My friend said to me “Thank God she knows how she feels about it.” “What do you mean?” I asked her back. She told me that she was thankful that Julie knew how she felt about the situation. She told me that many people may feel that way but don’t have the courage to say so out loud. She helped me see that knowing how you feel about your own journey into parenthood is so important. She asked me to imagine what it would be like if Jason and Julie had adopted a child, only then to figure out that she couldn’t love that child as much as she could her own. What if that child only represented what Julie perceived as a failure to create her biological children? I was immediately struck by how selfish and closed minded I had been to Julie and Jason. I saw adoption as an amazing opportunity, they saw it as a sign of failure. Neither of us is right or wrong. Furthermore, Julie’s ability to be honest with herself about her feelings was so important to be sure that they did not take on a life that they could not commit to loving 110%.
This story has stayed with me and reminded me to honor everyone’s journey, whether they choose to have children or not! The best thing we can do is be honest about what we really want and have the courage to make that choice. If you are struggling with adoption, infertility or anything else having to do with being a parent and want to talk to someone who is going through it, please reach out to me. I would love to help you get through the emotions that come with parenthood.