Our decision to switch to adoption has meant coming to terms with the fact that I may never have a pregnancy. I may never feel a child kick inside me, never grow a life in my body, never give birth. I don’t get to wear that “I’m about to have a baby” badge that comes with a pregnant belly. I’ll never get that excitement from strangers who know just from looking at you what’s coming in your life. I won’t wear cute maternity clothes that show off my bump, or have any of the myriad of other experiences that pregnancy brings. And nothing epitomizes all that to me more than the baby shower.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to go to a baby shower since our last miscarriage. I love my friends, and want nothing more than to support them. But in many ways the baby shower has come to represent to me everything I don’t get to have. That excitement, that joy of everyone gathered around a pregnant woman, gushing over her, giving her advice, anticipating the baby to come. It’s not the same in an adoption. the uncertainty means you can’t let your excitement get too high until that baby is in your arms and the papers are signed. You don’t get to anticipate in nearly the same way.
My boss, who I love, is 8 months pregnant. Her official shower was a couple of months ago, one of the aforementioned showers that I could not bring myself to attend. She completely understood. Today there was an informal luncheon for her at work. It was in our main conference room, just a few yards from my desk. I tried, but as soon as the conversation turned to seasoned parents advising the mom-to-be I felt myself start to break down. I took a walk instead.
As I strolled the trails outside the office I realized the other factor that made this particular shower so difficult. My boss was 3 weeks further along than me, or rather than I was. I should have been in the chair next to her, rubbing my bump absent mindedly as well. There should have been a companion office pool on when my water will break. Everyone should have been commenting on how tough it was going to be for me with twins. That luncheon should have been for me as well.
Instead, I’m walking a different path. Maybe years from now, when I’m watching my child sleep, this will all seem so insignificant. Maybe I’ll go to baby showers and be one of the experienced parents advising the novice pregnant woman. Or maybe I will remain unable to attend. Perhaps it will forever be a reminder of pregnancies lost, a symbol that I may one day become a mother, but I may never carry a child.