Friday, August 2, 2013

Will I Ever?

Feel normal, that is?

OK that sounds dramatic.

I mean normal in parenting situations.

Let me explain.

We recently went to a birthday party of a classmate of our kids (have I mentioned they adore Montessori preschool?). In my head I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to meet other parents of their classmates, but, as per usual, my head was wrong.

Duh. The kid invited everyone in the class, sure, but that didn't mean anyone else was necessarily going. So basically the birthday party consisted of twenty other couples with their kids that were the primary friends of the birthday kid and then us, the MTLs.

It was a big party. That's a lot of kids for a two year old party in my humble opinion. It was overdone. It was over the top. But that's a whole other blog post.

Was it surprising we were the only transracial family? Not really.

But it seemed to isolate us.

Granted, we were the outsiders from the get-go being that everyone else was close friends and family.
I get that, really I do.

But we hardly talked with anyone. I felt at odds with everyone else. There were pregnant bellies EVERYWHERE because this was a two year old birthday party and naturally the second babies were all on their way.

I immediately assumed I was surrounded by fertiles. It's true I didn't know anyone's particular story but that was how it felt. Me= the odd-Mom out.

We cut our losses and headed out of there after one hour of a two hour party, using the excuse that our kids were ready to nap early because they had been up since 5:05 am. (Sadly, this part was 100% true. Why don't my kids like to sleep teeny tiny bit late, ever?)
On the drive home my DH and I compared notes on how different we felt from every other person/couple there. How it shouldn't mean anything much how we built our family but somehow it can feel like it means everything.

I'm still infertile y'all. Five failed IVFs are proof of that, right? I just have two kids now.

22 comments:

  1. They are so beautifulllllllllll. You are their Mom and always will be. Who cares how your family came to be. You will some day come to term with this

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  2. I so get this! My infertile journey might be less obvious (although today people do make the connection that a 38 year old with twins might have had help). I don't get the huge birthday party thing, I am not interested in that at all. Good for you for going though, you are braver than me :)

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  3. I know. Even though you now have a family, the infertility still stings and hurts. Me too. There have to be other transracial families that you could find in your area. I know it is very hard to make the effort when home and work keep things so busy, but it seems like it would probably be good for you and the kiddos if you could find another family or two like yours. Good luck. I hope you are able to find some other diverse families. Please be patient. This was only the first birthday party. There will be more, and you will meet other kids and parents, and along the way, you may meet some that you really like. It definitely takes awhile. Thanks for the post and for the beautiful picture. Your little ones are really growing up! Thanks for sharing. Heather

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  4. Oh my... so the sting of IF never completely goes away, huh? Just as I suspected though. I imagine there will always scars... maybe even grief. I liken it to losing loved ones in some sense. I don't believe anyone is completely healed of the hurt this side of heaven. But I also think that because of our struggle to build a family, we are uniquely prepared to raise children who do not come from our genes. We can relate to feeling "different." We know what it feels like to be left out. I just hope the years ahead are easier for you all to navigate and that you find a group of people that can support you and your lovely kiddos. You really do make a beautiful family!

    And btw, thank you for your supportive comments on my blog (& for thyca tidbits for my mom!)

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  5. Just wanted to let you know that bday parties S-U-C-K. I hate them. Not just because everyone over does them...but typically because I don't really know anyone else there and I don't really like small talk. AND...there's the whole feeling like a freak of nature in a fertile world thing. I know I have two biological kids and we are not transracial, but I still feel awkward and different. I can't relate to most of the conversations. I just don't want to obsessively talk about nursing and delivery and blah blah blah. A lot of people take successful pregnancy and fertility for granted. My only hope for you and me is that with time...these things will be less painful and that the differences in life courses will differ over time. AND that we can someday soon just drop our kids off at parties rather than having to supervise them!!

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  6. I like Libby's comment. That after struggling with IF (or secondary in my case) and then building our families through transracial adoption, we are uniquely positioned to help our kids with feelings of being different from the majority. Sort of like we got a huge dose of empathy and understanding along with our children. I like that thought.

    Sorry about the awkwardness though. It takes some getting used to for sure.

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  7. feel ya...it's a little less obvious to people that we are "infertile" since we have a daughter that is almost 6. they think we are just being selfish and foolish with time...no idea how we have/are trying to have another. others assume when they meet me that i adopted her because she is biracial - not knowing i am married to an african american man. in fact recently a woman asked me "where i got my daughter from"...i was shocked honestly. the only reply i could come up with was "from my womb." having had a child pretty easily the 1st time, and now 4 years of trying and miscarriages and heartache and a child so desirious of a sibling...i hurt...parties hurt. everyone else has child #2, #3, and often #4. we are ALWYAS the odd ones out. its hard b/c we sort of have to go, daughter WANTS to go, and it's so odd being there. lots of tears over here. feel ya and wish we lived closer...sounds like we have enough in common :)

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  8. I feel like the odd one out often as well--it is amazing how often birth stories are doled out. We brave our first birthday party next weekend and if the invites are any indication it will be an elaborate affair indeed. Should be interesting . Infertility does leave its share of scars for sure.

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  9. I was able to have children without IVF, but I've had a similar experience in that we have two older children and then a toddler, and we are in our mid and late 40s. Whenever we go to a toddler party or something at his Montessori primary class (he loves Montessori, too!), we are by FAR the oldest parents. We have actually met grandparents who are our age. UGH. We have absolutely nothing to say to the 20-somethings who are at the beginning of their parenting/families and careers. After a while we quit going. And I feel bad for my toddler, in a way, b/c he doesn't have playdates or big birthday parties b/c we don't know anyone in his class. But we do our own thing. And he is a happy, healthy kid.

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  10. I still don't love going to parties like that - the inevitable bellies, questions, birth stories, and thank-goodness-we're-dones are too much - STILL. I've come to believe that this is a life long wound - that you will always be scarred, but I definitely think those scars fade. You will find other parents you can be around - if that's what you want to find - you just have to look and find your people - your tribe from your previous post. And eventually? Your kids will go the parties alone - it's a bit away for you, but it's coming.

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  11. We have only been to a kids Halloween party so far. The birthday one that was hosted by the same family as the Halloween was a no-go for us. Just.not.worth.it. I knew a lot of people's "stories" there as the host seems a little too free with other's info so I know plenty of people also knew some of our "story". It makes people uncomfortable. They won't admit it, but it shows. The sympathy head tilts are abundant because people don't know what to say. I never realized how much people focus on looking for traits that children share with their parents (well, okay, maybe I did a little) as an icebreaker. It's like they can't use their standard "Oh she looks like you" or "She has her daddy's smile" so they say nothing at all and give that awful sympathy head tilt. You know the one.

    All I can say is to go out and find your people. They are there. Mine keep me sane. We don't live especially close to one another, but I meet up with 3 other adoptive mamas (2 adopted through the same lawyer and 1 is still waiting with that lawyer) every few months or so. To just sit with them and not have to filter anything I say regarding ANY adoption/infertility type issues is invaluable beyond words. Maybe start a meet-up group in your area for transracial adoptive families or just adoptive families. Knowing that their kid's birthdays will be some we will attend is refreshing. People just like us...

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  12. I read often, but almost never comment. Today though, I just wanted to say that you are most certainly the first person I would have wanted to talk to at that party. I'm sorry you felt so at odds there, and I hope you find your people soon. You, your children, your family: you are beautiful. All of you individually and together.

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  13. I love that photo! Absolutely beautiful!

    I'm sorry you guys felt like the odd ones out at the party. I think with the degree of effort you had to go through to build your family, "normal" won't necessarily be the "never-had-a-care-in-the-world-just-fell-pregnant" normal, it will be your own version of normal. IF seems to have a way of doing that. I know that we don't have quite as many factors layered into our situation since we have the genetic connection to Miss A and ours isn't a transracial family, but we don't feel "normal" normal either.

    With regard to the party specifically, I think RunningMama's comments are right on target. And it seems like the trend today is to invite as many people as possible, which seems more for show for the adults than for the babies anyway, since they're too young to remember any of it. We just received an invite to a 1-year-old birthday party for a little girl at Miss A's day care. She was in the same room as the birthday girl for maybe 4 months, ending 4 months ago, and I doubt the girl's mom even knows my or R's name or would recognize us if she ran into us outside of the day care setting, and yet we're invited. And the party is being hosted at a community center, in a community that does not have small homes, so I can only imagine how big that invite list is... (We're politely declining.)

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  14. Hello, Mrs. MTL! It's been a while since I've visited the blogosphere, and glad to see you are still here, sharing. Wonderfully sharing.

    I like Lost in Space's advice to go out and find other adoptive families. Funnily, I joined an adoption FB group in our (yours and my) area...yet never met up in person as I was one of the few still in the "waiting" room. But once I'm out of this room, I will find my people.

    My IF Sistas kept me sane during this IF journey...I can only *hope* there will be others out there who will help me in my *one day* non-traditional path to parenting shoes. XO

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  15. Your children are beautiful and so is your heart. You went thru hell to become a parent; I'm sorry the other parents weren't very friendly but very well could have been because they are unfriendly people in general!! It happens.

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  16. You are a mom to two beautiful children! Their mom is beautiful too, on the inside and out! The other parents don't know what they are missing out on.
    Julie

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  17. It never goes away does it? Before I had my daughter (via adoption) I thought it would be less scarring, though I knew they'd still be there. But i know it still comes up. I hope- and think- that the scars will fade more once everybody else is done with their family building too and we can just focus on the children. People are too caught up in pregnancy and bumpwatches these days, I swear. The kids should be the most important part but it often doesn't feel that way...

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  18. Your young ones are stunning and thus is your heart. An individual proceeded to go through nightmare to become a mother or father; I apologize the other parents weren't really pleasant nevertheless very well has been as they are relentless most of us!! It happens.buy rs gold
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  19. Just checking in on you. I hope everything is going well with you and your family, and that you are enjoying baking amazing-looking goodies this holiday season!

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  20. Don't know if you come here anymore, but I think about you and wonder how you are!

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  21. I think of you often! Would love to see some pictures of your beautiful toddlers! Julie

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  22. Oh where have you been Ashley girl, Ashley girl, oh where have you been darling Ashley? Have you been to seek a third, you are not a silly bird, you're a young thing and you make a good Mother.


    sung to the tune of "where have you been Billy boy"

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