“Adoption, Infertility, Miscarriage, IVF, Twins, Oh My” was published on BabyCenter.com!

BabyCenter.com calls itself “The #1 Parenting Resource” with over 40 million visitors per month. Recently, THEY contacted ME and asked me to write a post for them for RESOLVE’s National Infertility Awareness Week. I  was so honored and flattered, but realized I am not used to writing with deadlines, assigned topics, and word counts. I hope I did all right by you all, my loyal readers! They published my post on April 21, 2015 here. I have reprinted the entire post below with their permission.

Adoption, Infertility, Miscarriage, IVF, Twins, Oh My

Have you struggled with infertility? I understand. Have you had miscarriages? I empathize. Have you wanted to run over the “Expectant Mother Parking” signs in parking lots? Me too. Have you gone through IVF? The adoption process? I get it.

After having been infertile for almost a decade, I now finally have three small children, none of whom were created in my own body (one is adopted from someone else’s body; two are from petri dishes).

I can empathize with those of you who are begging for children, and also those of you who are begging for five minutes away from your children (even if you have to hide in the bathroom with that jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter and an US Weekly). I know what it’s like to cry at a poster of a baby in Walmart because you desperately want one yourself, and I know what it’s like to cry because your children won’t stop crying.

After having finally had success with adoption and with IVF (twins!) within the space of two years, I can totally identify with the adoptive moms and the moms of multiples.

I know what it’s like to have black and white children as my three boys are of various races and genetic makeup.

wpid-wp-1430331810741.jpegI know what it’s like to wait years for a baby. I also know what it’s like to bring a baby home all of a sudden, after a birthmother picked me only three days prior. I also know what it’s like to suffer through the endless nine months of torturous twin pregnancy and bed rest, feeling like it will never end.

I know what it feels like to be fingerprinted for an adoption home study, to suffer through painful fertility procedures, and to try to go to sleep one night knowing that the baby inside you has died.

But I also know what it feels like to sniff that newborn’s head and want to eat him. I know what it feels like to get an hour or two of sleep a night for seven months. I know that surge in my heart when my children giggle, or run to me, or hug each other, or turn a single-syllable word into four syllables.

wpid-img_20150426_185249.jpgI understand the pain and the joy of so many of you moms out there. By the bad luck of my own biology, and by the miracles of adoption and modern science, I am all of you.

You know what I don’t know?

I don’t know what it feels like to hold any of my babies on the first day of each of their lives. (Due to adoption paperwork and a near-death childbirth experience, I still have weird misplaced guilt about missing those first days with all three of my children.)

I don’t know what it feels like to go into labor and give birth. (I had a Cesarean section with the twins.)

I don’t know what it feels like to have two children. We went from one to three instantly.

I don’t know what it feels like to have a pregnancy without fear.

I don’t know what it feels like to make a baby for free, or to make a baby in my husband’s arms, or in my own bed.

I don’t know what it feels like to worry about birth control choices, costs, or side effects.

I don’t know what it feels like to carry a single baby to term.

I don’t know why our birthmother chose us.

I don’t know how to teach my black and white sons about race.

You know what? None of it matters. What I know, what I don’t know – maybe it doesn’t really matter. If I could go back to my childless and hurting self, what would I want myself to know? What do I want you to know?

I want you and I to know that we are mothers long before our children arrive. We become mothers the moment we decide we want to be mothers.

I want us to know that it doesn’t matter in what body our children arrive. If their souls are meant to be in our family, they will come.

I want us to know that the pain is only temporary.

I want us to know that someday, although the acute pain of infertility will fade, we will refuse to forget. We are going to remember the hurt, on purpose, so that we might strengthen others who are forced to follow us.

I want us to know that so many women out there understand what we are enduring. I want us to open our hearts to each other and embrace our shared pains and joys and hopes. It’s going to be okay.

I know this because I’m an Okayest Mom!

Inside the Brain of a Gym Newbie During a Workout

As you know, I am new to this whole gym thing. (My carrying-twins-injuries forced my hand.) Sometimes, sweating it out in a perfectly controlled environment gives me the giggles. Here’s what I am thinking while I’m working out:

Workout phrases like “ab cuts” and “ab ripper” need to banned from any place where females have recently had c-sections.

Boredom buster: I like listening to ridiculous 80s pop on my headphones while looking around to see which huge testosterone muscle guys are working out to that girlie beat. If they only knew.

Is it normal to collapse in a fit of giggles when a personal trainer shouts encouraging platitudes like “You do you!”?

Why does everyone under 30 have fluorescent sneakers? The rest of us seem to be sticking to neutral shoes. Note to self: buy fluorescent shoes.

I wish I knew why I am only making my left glute sore. I must be doing working out wrong.

Is my arm too skinny to wear one of those arm-band-phone-holders?

I am so used to yoga that I still feel like I should be gym-ing barefoot. I also never remember water. I was usually semi-upside-down in yoga, so water was always a bad idea. Note to self: Remember water. Remember shoes.

When my husband asked if I get “hit on” at the gym, I remind him that I’m a real catch with a wedding ring on one hand and THREE children’s daycare wristbands on my other hand.

Irony: the place where we go to get healthy is the place that keeps making my kids sick.

While feeling a twinge of modesty, I began to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t wear tight clothes to the gym. That was the day my long shirt got caught on the rowing machine.

Oh, this elliptical counts how many calories I burned? This will be awesome. I bet I have burned like 600 calories by now… or, okay, maybe just 12. I worked so hard to burn off that last sip of my kid’s juice with the backwash in it?

I had a Spinal Tap moment when the elliptical automatically turned my incline up to 11. I really thought it stopped at 10. How high does it go? Vertical? (“PUT IT UP TO 11!” … “Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”)

Whenever I feel weak and stupid, I just look around and think, “None of these perfect people has had twins. How many people in here gained 80 pounds of twins, then sat around on bed rest for months, then almost died in childbirth, and then carried those twins around until her spine bent? Nobody, that’s who!” (Oh, except for the person working out right next to me, my twin momma friend/gym buddy…) Then I can hold my head up a little higher.

I really hope no one saw that one time I got my headphones stuck in a coat hanger.

Once I realized I was SUPPOSED to stick my butt out during squats, things started to improve. (They say it strengthens your lower back to stick that butt out during squats. I think people just want to see butts.) I did ballet as a kid and again in college, and I was trained to tuck that junk IN! If you stuck your butt out in ballet you probably got it smacked with a ruler.

Fake boobs?

I will definitely need more underwear and socks.

The catalog phrase “gusseted crotch for ease of movement” on workout pants is synonymous for NO CAMEL TOE. You’re welcome.

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What can you add, dear readers?