When you’re waiting to adopt, one terrible, horrible, no good four letter word has very different implications. Shira looks at what it means in her life as she awaits the phone call that will forever change her life.
There is one word that plagues all moms-in-waiting. It lurks over us like a dark cloud and never seems to let the light shine through. The thought of it makes us shutter with fear and curl into a ball.
Ironically, the very same word is adored by pregnant women the world over. To them it starts out as a scary thing and then slowly blossoms into peace of mind once they get used to the very idea of it. But to a mom-in-waiting it never leaves the initial stages that bring about panic and fear to every one of us who encounters it.
That one word, that terrible, horrible, no good word is….PLAN.
Pregnant women may not have a plan when they first find out about their pregnancies but most over time develop a plan of action and use the nine months of pregnancy to slowly implement their plans. Spare bedrooms are converted into nurseries, maternity leaves are set, baby supplies are gathered, classes are attended, books are devoured by the dozens, and everything is meticulously planned, all in an effort to be prepared for their baby’s arrival.
Moms-in-waiting like me, on the other hand, with no due date, and no guidance on when mommyhood will begin, instead are left behind stuck in a vortex somewhere in the middle of a plan and absolute cluelessness. How do you prepare for an uncertain arrival date without losing your sanity in the mix as a mom-in-waiting? How do you plan for something that can occur two days from now or take two years to happen? The word plan as a mom-in-waiting is the bane of our very existence. Not because we don’t want one, nothing would make us happier, but until we have a secure adoption placement, plans cannot be made and lives are left in the balance. Do you plan a trip for springtime when there is a chance you may have a baby by then? How do you tell a new employer that any day or no time soon you could need some time off to care for a newborn but you can’t give them any specifics because you simply don’t have them? Do you purchase baby items knowing the rate at which products are recalled or wait for the next best thing to come out? Do you give up a spare room in our house only for it to stay empty and remain a constant reminder of your state of limbo?
In the last year I have spent as a mom-in-waiting I have moved to a completely new area, changed jobs, planned trips, made year-long commitments to organizations I belong to, and gone along with my daily life all while having to weigh the impact these decisions could have on my future child and the uncertainly of when that child will come into my life. Not knowing if I will wake up tomorrow and get a call that gives me two days’ notice to prepare to bring home my baby terrifies me and yet I sit here without a plan in sight. Why? Because it’s impossible to plan for the unknown. The lessons I learned in the baby first aid class I attended last April have long left my memory and a do-over is clearly necessary at this point. The pediatrician I picked out resides in my old town, not to mention my health insurance has changed twice since I chose her. Life moves forward yet moms-in-waiting have to constantly catch up with it and stay alert to the possibility of impeding motherhood happening any day now.
Moms-in-waiting sit on the other side of the spectrum from pregnant women.
Want to know the really ironic part of this all? Moms-in-waiting are stuck in planning limbo and while they wait for the their phone call that jump starts their ability to plan somewhere someone is reading a positive pregnancy test and contemplating what they are going to do because they didn’t plan to get pregnant. Maybe it’s appropriate that I have no plan as the likelihood is high that my baby will start from something that was completely unplanned for. Perhaps the very word unplanned is what ties moms-in-waiting and their adoptive babies together and takes something unplanned and makes it whole and beautiful.