Saturday, September 12, 2015

The truth behind parenthood

I have struggled with infertility for 13 years.  Been through all kinds of medications, shots, ultrasounds, even major surgeries with no success of getting pregnant.

Fostercare was always something we considered and earlier this year we decided to finally move forward with it.  We went through the clearances, classes, evaluations, etc and we were approved and had our first placement on July 1st.  My husband and I thought "Finally!  We have our little family!  Just what we always wanted!"  And I personally thought "Yay!  I'll be this wonderful mom I always wanted to be!  I have no doubt we'll bond with any child and can handle anything thrown to us.  I'll always make time to play with him and give him one on one time, I'll plan special fun things like picnics in the living room on rainy days, make chocolate chip pancakes, go strawberry picking, do arts and crafts, go to the playground and the pool" etc etc etc.

See, I wanted to be a mom (or better a stay-at-home mom) for as long as I can remember.  I'm a "natural" caregiver to friends, family and even as my career.  I wanted all of those things I see everyone else have, school things, sports things, clubs, scouts, Christmas mornings....  I had it so built up in my head of how wonderful motherhood will be, how things will go so smoothly.  And then July 3rd happened.

Like I said, we got our placement on July 1st.  After 3 days I realized this was NOT what I signed up for and was NOT what I expected or built myself up for over the last 36 years.  (Due to legalities and privacy, I can't discuss details.)

What I discovered over the last two months is that parenthood is not peaches and cream all of the time.  From the many parents I've spoken to recently, it's not even peaches and cream 75% of the time.  More like 5-10%.  What is put out there from everyone (in public, on social media, etc) is the small wonderful percent.  What ISN'T put out there is the majority of the time, horrible, stressful, exhausting, boring or chaotic 90-95%.  I had a very sad, depressing and stressful 6 weeks or so and to be honest, I felt like a complete failure. I felt resentful, not specifically toward this little person in my home, but of the whole situation.  (I tried very hard not to take it out on him.)  Everything I had known about myself for 36 years feels like it's been all wrong and I'm not the person I thought I was.  If this huge part of me is completely wrong and apparently not the caregiver, maternal person I thought, then who the hell am I?

Expectations versus Reality.  Obviously, what I expected was not at all the reality.  Luckily, I've had an amazing support system of family, friends and even the foster agency we work with.  Everyone (specifically mothers) have helped me to know that generally most people have this Expectations versus Reality syndrome happen whether biological, adoption or foster.  It's normal and natural and most days are just about survival.  Making sure the child is fed something for breakfast, even if a piece of toast or leftover macaroni and cheese, is survival and those rare moments of actually having the time and making the effort to make chocolate chip pancakes is a rare occurrence.  People are not going to post a picture of toast, but they'll post a picture of chocolate chip pancakes.

As for bonding, I bond with everyone.  I bond with kids in line at the supermarket even.  Why would I have any problem bonding with a child in my home?  Well, because I get to see the naughty, resentful, challenging, lying, snotty, poopy, whiny, crabby, and sometimes downright EVIL side of this little person for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I'm a great aunt!  I love my nieces to pieces and they're the most perfect little people in the world!  BUT I don't have to deal with the bad stuff.  I get the fun stuff and then send them home!  Seems like common sense, right?  I thought so too, but still, my brain apparently didn't believe it.  So 6 or 7 weeks after having this little person in my home, I'm FINALLY only STARTING to feel a bond toward him....and that's only sometimes!  lol

My point to this whole post is just to put the real, honest, down and dirty truth out there, especially to so many PCOSers who so desperately want a family and little feet running around (and they do run...pretty much from the moment they wake up until they finally shut their mouths and fall asleep.)  It's exhausting and frustrating and, most of the time, not so fun.  I am hoping that I come to a place with this that I say "it's still all worth it", but I'm not sure that I will anymore.  I might, there's time.  I'm not going to shut this whole thing down without giving it a really really good effort, but I'm starting to accept that perhaps motherhood is not meant for me, despite what I've always thought and what everyone in my life says and thinks.  I need to be honest with myself and my feelings are not wrong, even if they are much different than I thought they'd be.