I thought that when we began the process of adopting, when we made peace with the big IF, when we finished the huge pile of paperwork and readied for our home study, that I would begin to feel more like the “others.” You know, the ones for whom infertility is a remote concept that they feel empathy for but don’t really think too long and hard about.
And then, I was reminded that I will forever, and ever, be the goose. Duck (pregnant), duck (pregnant), goose (clearly not pregnant) and up I spring to chase what I’ll never catch. Welcome to Infant Care Class.
“Now I would like every couple to introduce themselves and if you got blue, yellow, or purple when you walked in tell us what trait you hope that your baby gets from your spouse. If you got red, orange, or green, tell us what unexpected positive thing has come out of your pregnancy.” Oh thank you all things good and great that we got purple. Yet still, how in the world does a clearly not pregnant girl answer that one?
Yes, the world is made for people who form their families through the traditional way. The world sees adoption, or the choice not to mother through parenthood, as “out of the ordinary.” We’re not though, we’re no different than anyone else, we just don’t birth the children we mother through our womb.
And so, we could become angry, we could break down into tears and run from the room, or we could hold our chins up high, take a deep breath, and accept this “burden” that will become our greatest strength.
You see our children–whether ours through parenting or ours through mothering without the title–need us to be sturdy like an oak in the midst of a hurricane. Our children need our voices to be strong, steady, and matured through the fight of a lifetime. Our children need us to proclaim to the world that YES! we are the goose, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
And so with two more classes to go, a room full of pregnant couples, and class content completely designed and directed to couples forming their family through physical birth, I will be the goose. However this time when I’m tagged, I won’t get up and I won’t run.
When all eyes turn to me, the goose, I will smile, sit tall, and show them that this goose is every bit as much an expectant mother as the room full of ducks surrounding me. And I’ll remind myself that this ugly duckling is not a goose, but rather a beautiful swan transformed through infertility.
Duck, duck, swan.