You just found out that you are going to be a mother! Congratulations! And so is your best friend! Congratulations again! However, you are arriving at this parenting thing from two different places, one through birth and one through adoption. Are they the same? Will you have much in common as you prepare to become a parent? Having been on both sides I am here to tell you that yes, aside from the horrendous back labor, sore, leaky boobs and pain in the butt hemorrhoids, the two experiences are a lot more similar than you might think; starting right from the very beginning.
1) You. Are. Going. To. Be. A. Mother. Whether the news of this mind-boggling event arrives in the form of a urine soaked plastic stick yielding a big plus sign or through a phone call from your adoption agency, you will instantly feel a surge of sheer terror run down your spine as you sink to your knees and think, “Crap! What was I thinking? I’m not ready for this.”
2) Over the next few months you will drive yourself and everyone else around you crazy as you constantly feel the need to discuss which shade of green should you paint the nursery so it fits best with the baby’s chi as well as agonizing over which ridiculous, (Sorry I mean super cool, “hipster”) baby name to use (How about Keurig? That’s original. He’ll definitely be the only one in his class with that name).
3) You will be convinced at least 100 times a day that the whole thing is going to just fall apart at any moment. Did the baby move? It’s been one minute since it last moved. Is everything ok? Why did the social worker not return my call? It’s been one minute since I left that message. Is everything ok?
4) If people ask you if you are excited you’ll be irritated. If people don’t ask you if you are excited, you’ll be irritated. If people ask you how much longer until the big day, you will irritated. If people don’t ask you how much longer until the big day, you will be irritated. If people comment on how big your baby bump is getting, you will be really irritated… especially if you aren’t even pregnant.
5) When, after hours of labor or hours of travel, you finally hold your baby in your arms, you will feel a lot of things: exhaustion, anxiety, fear, and… you will think that something is horribly wrong with you because you haven’t you fallen instantly head over heels in love with this adorable baby like all your friends on Facebook seem to do.
6) The drive home from either the hospital or the airport will be the longest, most excruciating drive of you life. Old folks riding Larks will infuriate you with their speedy recklessness as your partner inches long and you sit terrified in the back seat counting the baby’s every breath, saying, “Slow down! Pull over! Now! Quick! She not breathing, oh wait, forget it…she’s fine.”
7) When you finally arrive home, and your baby starts to cry and cry and cry you will become instantly convinced that you are the stupidest person on the planet. You are completely incapable of being a parent and you have no idea why anyone ever: your mother, your partner, your social worker, thought you were qualified to do this. (And the problem lies clearly in the shade of green you picked for the nursery, which does not match the baby’s chi at all and needs to be changed at once.)
8) One day it will happen: a toothless grin, a milky spit bubble, eyelids fluttering during naptime and suddenly the fierce heart of a Mama Bear will rise up inside of you, knock you off your feet and send you over the moon.
9) The next time you have coffee with your mama friends you will smile and coo at their wonderful babies but inside, secretly you will feel a bit smug because although their babies are certainly cute, none of them, not one, is nearly as beautiful or as amazing as yours.
Love has arrived and no matter how it came, labor pains or jet plane, it is here to stay, (and all that fear and anxiety, well, it never really goes away, so just get use to it.)
Welcome to Motherhood.