I finished my new read, Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother. All I can say is "wow." Jana Wolff writes with such genuine and raw emotion. I quickly found a common friend within the first paragraphs. She wrote:
"Barren. It's a word that sounds barren. My self-image was filled with nasty adjectives, but barren was not one of them...I thought of myself as fairly well adjusted and very healthy--filled with energy, nearly vegetarian, passionately in love--the most unbarren person around...I was way too happy to be barren. The only thing I was incapable of conceiving was the fact that I was incapable of conceiving. It never occurred to me that I could be healthy, active, successful, happy, and infertile...They never did find out why we couldn't conceive...Without a concrete physiological reason for our infertility, I was quick to fill in with emotional explanations: maybe we didn't want a baby enough, maybe we weren't meant to be parents, maybe we were being punished...We had long since lost our sense of humor about this and were losing hope...I was getting weepy; we were getting boring. We kept putting our lives on hold...Our O.B.'s advice was, 'Take a break. You'd be amazed at how many women get pregnant when they stop trying so hard.' That rubbed me the wrong way. I never bought into the theory of the "Type A" uterus--If you only relax you'll get pregnant. Why was it, then, that thousands of stressed-out, drugged-out, strung-out women had kids? In spite of our obstetrician, we decided to stop trying to make our bodies do what they didn't seem to want to do. We were not so much running toward adoption as running away from the conception roller coaster."
Reading my story in between the lines of someone else's writing is jolting to say the least. There is something so lonely about barrenness, that even those that love you most cannot completely comprehend. For months I felt like a snail holing up in my shell bracing against the emotion that came in floods--wishing, hoping, begging that someone would join me in the solitude of my own sentiment...but knowing that no one else could fit. Ben was the best confidant I could ask for, knowing when to speak and when to hold...but even our bond left me alone at times, as I tried to interpret my feelings and work out my anger.
Reading Jana's testimony was similar to an experience I had earlier this year. Around the new year I began searching out adoption agencies and reading through multiple websites. Most agencies have a testimonial section where adoptive mothers write about their experiences. One Saturday afternoon I spent hours glued to my laptop as I read over 30 adoption stories. I was baffled at how many women were just like me. (In our large circle of friends and acquaintances I only know 2 women that struggled with infertility. However, both came to have children and had a difficult time remembering their pre-kid struggle.) After reading story upon story of infertility struggles, for the first time, I didn't feel alone.
"They" say that misery loves company...but truthfully...who doesn't love company? Knowing that there is someone else in your boat helps make rowing a little easier. I am encouraged to read Jana's story that so much parallels mine. And the best part? She has a happy ending. It all seems more like a blur than reality right now. I've imagined and dreamed of a baby for so long that it doesn't even seem possible anymore, even in the midst of the adoption process. Part of me feels like my life will always be marked with empty arms and fleeting hope. I know that sounds pessimistic, but over the last 4 years every hope led to disappointment.
Today, I am excited, but anxious. Hopeful, but cautious. Ready, but questioning.