Let's start with the labor pains. No, I did not experience physical labor, didn't gain 15 lbs in water weight over 9 months and have my feet disappear below my stomach. I did not have contractions, I didn't have to push and I didn't have all the physical recovery that comes with passing a cantaloupe through a teeny-tiny opening. But let me tell you about the pain I did experience. Anyone who was working with me the day that TLO was born can verify that I most certainly experienced labor - it was just mental. Coming up with a last-minute plan of how to travel 1000 miles in a couple of hours along with all the "stuff" we had but hadn't yet got organized was crazy. I nearly hyperventilated with my frantic breathing while walking up to a ticket agent and telling her "I'm having a baby in Phoenix and I need to get there as soon as possible!" and then pacing in an airport waiting alone for my flight to get to my sweet daughter. And then, after years of waiting to have a family with my husband I was alone in an airport when I got the call that our baby was born - she was only a few hours away from me at that point, but my husband was still about 15 hours away! And my recovery...well, sometimes I still wonder if I've recovered! The utter shock, franticness and total disbelief in something so amazing happening in my life made it so difficult to recover. My 9 months of mental preparation were crammed into 2 1/2 very short weeks and that makes it very difficult to wrap your brain around what's happening. Couple that with sleep deprivation when she was little and I was trying to process all the changes and it's an even bigger challenge. My heart still aches from the pain that another woman went through. I would go through any pain imaginable to have my daughter. Please don't ever say I didn't have pains with our daughter's birth.
And now, my soap box is getting a little bigger...I am a REAL mom lady. Let me pinch you and I'll show you just how real I am. I am the mother of this sweet child. I am the mother who cries when she cries, who holds her when she's scared or hurting, I am the one who wipes her tears, knows every mark on her body and knows her favorite little tickle spot under her chin. I am so real and I am so her mom.
....stepping off the soapbox now...
Thank You Lord for giving me this child who has blessed me beyond imagine. Thank You for taking me through the adoption experience and making me the mother that I am. Please continue to help me with the ache for the sweet birthmother of our little one. Help me to heal as You help her continue healing. And God, please help me get the word out to erase the ignorance that exists in our world to let people know that adoptive parents are REAL parents and that the pain we experience is real, it's just different. Amen.