9.12.2010

Strong Women

As my pregnancy has progressed and my little girl gets more active, I have become much more attached and bonded with her. It has also helped me understand things that previously frustrated me about adoption.

Let me take a few steps back. Simply put, pregnancy is natural. That does not, however, equate with easy. It is hard on the body. Even the easiest pregnancy takes its toll. Indeed, I have taken to calling my little one "L'Oreal" anytime I am experiencing pregnancy-related hardship (because she's worth it). And, because I had so much difficulty getting pregnant, I often think that whatever I must endure for 9 months will surely be worth it. I found it interesting, then, that it was precisely because I had to work so hard and endure so much to become pregnant, that I suddenly understood why women would back out of the adoption process.

When Phil and I were researching our options once we were told that medical intervention would be necessary for us to have biological children, we considered adoption. The research indicated that the cost would be roughly the same for adoption or IVF and neither was a guaranteed success. Although there were unknowns and financial risks involved in either decision, what frustrated me most about adoption was that I was sinking a lot of money into a woman who could change her mind, leaving me in debt and without a child. Although cognitively, I understood that IVF rendered a similar risk, the difference was that if IVF didn't work, it was my body or medicine that let me down, not the whims of another person. I found myself frustrated and angry at all the stories of women who would offer their children up for adoption, only to change their minds at the last minute, leaving the prospective adoptive parents mourning the loss of another child. How could they do that? They made an agreement--they ought to be held to the agreement.

Well, I get it now. At least, I think I do. The emotional pull created by feeling the baby kicking is indescribable. I would imagine that knowing cognitively that giving up the baby is the right thing to do has little to no power over the emotional pull of wanting to see, hold, nurture, or raise the baby. Having this new understanding has led me to marvel at the birth mothers who have been able to go through with handing their children over for others to raise. I finally have some small insight into just how difficult that must be. These are very strong women, indeed.

My amazement is even greater for those women who become pregnant from rape or incest and choose to have the children--whether keeping them or giving them up for adoption. This amazes me in large part because every time I feel my daughter kick, I am reminded of how much I want her and the experiences I had that brought me to this point. How would I feel if the experience that created her had been violent or horrific? My mind cannot even fathom what feeling the baby kick under those circumstances must feel like. Women who can carry these children must be strong indeed.

And so I want to offer thanks to these women, and honor them for their sacrifice--giving of themselves, their time, their emotions, and their bodies, to birth these unintended children. I am truly amazed and awed at the level of strength they must have. And I am grateful that my pregnancy has allowed me the opportunity to recognize their sacrifices.

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