Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paper-pregnant

I am adopting a child. I received the official letter a few months ago that I am on the waiting list for a child and it might now be a matter of weeks until my daughter arrives. I am officially paper-pregnant soon to become a single mom. I am trying to prepare myself but from now on I might receive a call any day and within 3-5 days I will fetch my child.

Being paper-pregnant I realised that going through a real pregnancy does not only offer the opportunity to prepare for 9 months, it is also nature’s way of giving the new mom a clear sign – your life will change forever. You stop drinking alcohol, reduce your caffeine intake, you are more tired than ever, and your body changes significantly. You just can’t do the same things you were able to do before you fell pregnant (at least in the last 4-5 months of the pregnancy). Your life changes during a period of 9 months after which your life will once again significantly change.

Many women will think it is an advantage not to have to go through those changes when adopting a child; It might have its advantages but I do believe it has its disadvantages too. Adopting a child is a much more rational process. The whole adoption process requires not only a mountain of administrative procedures but also many decisions about your child’s health, background and features. You also don’t build a bond with something that is growing in your body but rather constantly try to imagine how it will be when you hold the child for the first time in your arms. How many times will I look at her and wonder if she is mine? How long will it take until I will feel that I am her mother? Someone said to me yesterday; it is probably how men feel becoming fathers.

Another difference being paper-pregnant is that you can make the choice any day to ‘switch it off’ to withdraw your application. When you are pregnant, you come to accept that a child will come at some point. You might have your doubts, but it becomes a fait accompli. When I have doubts, I find myself thinking to pick up the phone and just withdraw. Of course I won’t do it because I prepared for it for a long time and thought about it carefully, but there is the option, unlike in a real pregnancy, you can ‘cancel’ you subscription any day.

Besides being paper-pregnant, what I find much more mindboggling is becoming a single mom. I had given it a lot of thoughts before I even started the process. I don’t have too much doubt about my ability to ‘organise’ my new life. Luckily, planning and organising is one of my greatest talents. I am more concerned about the emotional shifts and changes. I have lived my life on my own for the past more or less 17 years. It is a little bit when people in their late 30s enter into a relationship. The issues that emerge are often about compromise and letting someone into your independent life. Am I ready to let someone permanently into my life? Someone that is 100% dependent on me and that will need 24/7 attention and care?

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to becoming a mom. There are many moments when I imagine holding my daughter in my arms and rocking her to sleep; admiring her and just looking at her.

Becoming a parent is very scary and having to go through everything in the mind and imagination, doesn’t make it easier. In contrast to actually being pregnant people cannot see it and look out for you. Being paper-pregnant means – it is all happening in your head.


I am not writing this because I am looking for sympathy but I thought sharing this would be interesting as many people have asked me about the adoption.
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