Maybe I Don’t Want to Hear This

Because we have adopted, people talk to me about adoption. Because we have been through infertility, the adoption topic sometimes goes on into the infertility topic. Sometimes people I don’t even know talk to me about adoption and/or infertility. In almost all cases, this is not a bad thing.

Apart from the fact that we still have not actually got Mrini and Tara’s adoption decree from Pondicherry, the fact that they are adopted makes not the slightest impact on our lives together, or the way we feel or behave with them. We love them, we get irritated with them, we scold them, we sometimes need to get away from them, and then we miss them just the same as we would if they had come to us the “usual” way. The way they came to us really makes no difference now.

Let me repeat this, because it is really important that it should be absolutely clear to anyone reading this: The way they came to us *really* makes no difference now.

What I’m going to say next is going to seem like a flat-out contradiction. The fact that I was never pregnant and never had my own pregnancy and labor-room experience to cherish and share… still pinches, still hurts, just a little.

The reason this is not a contradiction with what I said earlier is that, these are actually two separate things altogether. They exist in watertight compartments. That they happen to share a cause-and-effect relationship is largely incidental. I still have a  slight, niggling regret that I never experienced pregnancy, will never experience pregnancy, but it has nothing to do with the joy, pride and satisfaction I have in my family, now whole, now the way it was meant to be.

Years ago, when we were TTC (trying to conceive), watching, meeting, talking about, even thinking or reading about pregnancy could and often did reduce me to tears. Those days are long gone. These days, I can face all of that without feeling a thing.

*Almost* without feeling a thing.

I don’t grudge people the happiness and expectancy of pregnancy (any more). I don’t blanch at the sight of pregnant women. Why should I – I have my babies already. I don’t have to wonder (any more) when it’s ever going to work out for me, or if, or how; I don’t have to go home and cry – I can just go home and hug my kids and try to tell them how much I love them.

And yet… you can’t take this peace, this equanimity for granted. If you rub my nose in it, it still hurts, just a little. I know that pregnancy is not something I’m going to experience ever in this lifetime, and I have made my peace with that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt at all. If you pick an old wound hard enough, if you scratch it deep enough, you still can draw a drop or two of blood from it. It’s not completely gone yet.

I think I’m not alone. Many women have a story, a sad, private experience of uncooperative partners, unwilling bodies, unfulfilled desires. We are not the majority, of course; the majority, I hope, are all you lucky women with easy, happy, stories. But when you gather around in a group and start discussing all the joys and pains of pregnancy and labor, just remember that other women have faced different kinds of pain. And if I hear the gory details of your pregnancy and labor-room experiences in graphic detail and instead of responding with sympathy I respond with a tinge of envy; or if I visit you in the maternity ward to congratulate you on your own little bawling bundle of joy and the word “lucky” slips out… understand that I’m not making light of your experience, I’m sure it was really hard for you. It’s just a slight but deep expression of regret for something that I’ll never have.

Talk to me about adoption all you want – it’s my happy story. Talk to me about infertility, if you want – I’ve been there and I’ve survived. But when you talk to me about pregnancy, tread lightly – there’s a tiny corner in my heart where a little bit of pain still lives.

——————

Having said all this, I also don’t want people to start walking on eggshells around me when it comes to pregnancy. Remember, I said I’m almost entirely ok about it? I am. All I want is for you to think, when you start recounting your labor-room story in excruciating detail, just to think whether this is something the other person really wants to hear. Chances are, it’s ok; but more often than you realise, it might not be ok. So just think about it, that’s all.

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10 Responses to Maybe I Don’t Want to Hear This

  1. Christina says:

    That I guess is as honest as it gets… And you know what, had no idea you felt that way about it…

  2. supriya says:

    To tell you the truth it has been a bit tough for me. To talk about it or not. But if something has been occupying most of your year, it does tend to be a part of all conversation. And it is mostly complaining – it is such a phase. However, I have been very conscious of the fact that it must be hurtful for you sometimes. And I am sorry if hearing me crib and carp has made you think that I don’t know what it feels like to not feel all this.
    Having said that, should I finish my big post about the delivery or should I let it go? 🙂

  3. supriya says:

    And a very honest and from the heart post. You are quite brave.

  4. Vyom says:

    Great post. I think the best ever. Good that you could share it.

  5. poupee97 says:

    Chris: I did a good job of hiding it, I guess. Which is why I realised, it’s time to talk about it. There must be other women in the “hiding” stage and you’d never know.

    Vyom: Interesting that, of all I have written, you would vote this one the best ever. 🙂

  6. poupee97 says:

    Supriya: I had no idea you were in a quandry about it. There was no conversation with you that went too deep – there was another conversation with someone else that sparked this.

    Yes, please finish your blog post; not for me, but for yourself. The great thing about blogs is, the reader can choose to read or not to read. And also, when, where, and how much to read.

    And finally, what I think: blogging is for yourself, to say what you want to say. If you start thinking about this particular person or that particular person reading it, and what will they think, you practically can’t write anything honest or relevant. My boss, my mother, one of Amit’s cousins and various erstwhile colleagues read this blog – that I know of. I can’t see myself saying some of these things to any of them. But when I write, it’s for myself. Read at your own risk! If you go with that philosophy, then go ahead and write your pregnancy/delivery post – for yourself.

  7. Prakash says:

    Very well written blog and I must say that having a cognition of all these different types of feeling which are entangled is amazing… It shows good self awareness and clarity to write about it.

    From what I can see from my observation is that you are very natural with your kids and if you had not told us that they were adopted, we would not have known!

  8. Arun says:

    even this very little bit of uncomfortness sitting inside you might as well be meaningless! Bcz, i have read your opinion abt IVF in your TTC days. There are many different IVF prodedures being conducted these days and i am in the assumption from your posts that you are staying away from IVF! If that is the case, being not pregnant is your own conscious choice and not a fate to be worried! //you can throw a stone if my assumption is wrong!//

  9. poupee97 says:

    Arun: You are right – I chose to not opt for IVF. It didn’t seem like the right thing to me. So I chose to not attempt that route to pregnancy. I don’t regret that choice at all. That doesn’t mean I can’t regret not having ever been pregnant.

    If you see a beautiful bike – say Harley Davidson, which now costs 35 Lakh in India – and you have to do something which you don’t want to do to own that bike – say, you have to steal money from your best friend – then you might decide this is not something you will do for the sake of that thing which you very much want. So you choose to walk away from that beautiful bike. And you don’t regret that decision – it was the right thing for you to do, that much you are sure of. That doesn’t mean you won’t regret not having that bike.

    It’s like that.

  10. Arun says:

    ok..i understand that..i was just trying to say you have these little angels + you have your own options open as well..clearly sitting in a commanding place than anybody else!

    on the later part..abt harley.. well, its really not an impressive option! If i have to steal money, i would do it for a quick moving, zig zagging and peg-scraping stuff! If i steal for harley, i will be get caught very badly! 😀

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