Hello Darkness My Old Friend
This is hard. This is hard in a way that feels familiar, but, it is still tremendously difficult.
Some of you may recall that we chose adoption, partly because of my ppd following Gabe’s birth. I thought this was the answer, to avoid those feelings of hopelessness and despair.
And yet, here they are. Creeping like unwelcome houseguests, they catch me at inopportune times – slow, drippy tears and that feeling, that god-awful feeling that an invisible elephant has sunk down on my chest.
I resent the intrusion of these minions of grief into my life once more.
At least the vocabulary of the adoption community can tell me what I am grieving for – I am grieving for my old life and my prior family.
It’s odd because this is SO INCREDIBLY SIMILAR to one of the many (negative) emotions I felt when Gabe was born, but, no one ever suggests to the mother of a newborn that she is grieving for her old life or the old family makeup that was just husband and wife. That would be blasphemy, right? And yet this ache is so familiar, I am sure that is what I was grieving for, at the time of Gabe’s birth.
And so now I grieve, for the family that 3 that we were. It’s is not that I don’t believe in the family of 4 that we are becoming…but, it’s a recognition, I think, that things will never be the same again. I want to believe that they will, in fact, be better. I have concrete evidence of this, in that, after a while, I began to believe, to know, to live the truth that my life with Gabriel in it was BETTER. To be without Gabriel is unimaginable to me…and so I believe that time will cause me to see that life without Lana in it will also be unimaginable.
I guess I am just shocked at how similar this post-motherhood experience has been. The sensation of utter sadness, of being overwhelmed by the needs of a person I don’t really know yet, the feeling of disconnection, detachment from my child and the world around me.
All of this is shameful, painful, to admit. And this time around I cannot blame the hormones. With Gabe, the doctors, everyone told me, consoled me, “it’s the hormones that are doing this to you.” But, this time I have no handy hormones upon which to lay the blame. Is it only me, and my head, the nature of the person that I am?
Certainly, I could blame stress and sleeplessness and guilt and some nasty jet lag that I haven’t managed to shake. And certainly, unlike with Gabe, I don’t obsess upon her breathing; I do not believe she will die if I sleep. (So, I guess, we CAN blame the hormones for that insane-fixation, that oh-so-lovely-side-effect of Gabe’s birth.)
I believe I will attach to her, and I should give myself the time, at a minimum of the time it took me to attach to Gabe (Six? Eight months?) Only time will make her mine. And until then, I’ll keep doing the singing and the holding and the feeding that the books tell me will make her feel like my child. In the meantime, I keep returning to a poem, by Grace Sandness – it gives me hope. I cannot publish the whole poem here, but, it is called "Love Will Grow" and it gives me hope.