On Being the Black Sheep

In the few weeks since my last post we have been wrapped up in the whirlwind that is moving. For the fourth time in six years, we packed up just about all of our possessions and moved to a new apartment in a new state and began a new life. If I have come off lately as scattered/absent/unreliable (or maybe all of the above)… I hope that I can blame at least part of that on recent life circumstances. We’ve just left behind everything to start over, and it feels a lot like stepping off the ledge in hopes of surviving the fall.

Almost two weeks ago we moved into an apartment complex off-campus full of other grad students and their families. Our first floor balcony/patio faces a courtyard with a large pavilion and playground, and most afternoons are filled with the sound of kids running around outside our windows. Kyle had his first day of classes on Thursday and, despite his initial apprehension over going back to school, he came home excited for the semester. With the worst of the packing & unpacking process behind us, this place has even started to feel more like a home.

But, being separated from Sweet Pea and missing out on this part of his life is intensely painful for me. I think of him all the time, but our only connection is through my heart and mind. Meeting so many new people who do not know our story has only served to emphasize the abnormality of our situation. I am thrilled to finally be able to say that we are expecting a child, but the glances to my stomach and the assumptions that I am physically pregnant make me wish I could hide from the world until he is in my arms. There is just no easy way to bring it up in conversation without feeling awkward or making someone else feel awkward. And for once, I don’t want to explain it anymore. I just want to be normal. I just want him to be with me.

Now that we are living in such a family-oriented place, rarely does a day go by when I don’t see multiple pregnant women and/or parents with their newborns right outside my door. I am so grateful that we did not come here even 6 months ago as I know I would not have been able to handle it. At night when I take Orion out for his last walk before bed and the whole place is quiet, I often wonder if anyone in this apartment complex is currently struggling with infertility (though, the sheer amount of children living here would suggest otherwise). If there are other infertile couples here, God help them. It can’t be easy. Pretty much everything is a reminder that I am not with Sweet Pea and that I will never be pregnant. Even if some of these couples needed the help of fertility treatments to have their children, it is not something they have to disclose upon meeting someone for the first time. We are the outliers of the outliers.

I know what you are thinking: that once he is home with us, no one will be able to tell how he got here and it will no longer matter. Sure. But what about in the meantime when my belly doesn’t grow over the next couple months and people start to wonder? What about the dozens of conversations during which I’ll have to announce that my body is a failure? Or the looks of shock, pity, and depreciation I’ll have to endure over the way I had to become a mother? And what about my growing fear that even once he’s here it will be obvious that I’m an impostor? What if I am missing something important that all the other moms automatically have? Some of the reactions I’ve gotten (not necessarily from people here) have already made me feel as though this will be the case.

While I’d like to say that my lack of writing is solely a side effect of recently uprooting our lives, part of me has also been reluctant to share some of the aspects of the surrogacy journey because I am still trying to figure it out on my own. By the time I have processed something enough to feel comfortable posting it publicly, something else has happened or changed that requires more thought. There is so much I want to say but often it feels ultimately worthless when so few will be able to understand or relate anyway. I’m tired of being the black sheep.

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7 thoughts on “On Being the Black Sheep

  1. I just know there is a reason this is your story. Someday, it will be revealed why this was the path you were given. I know, I just know that when my nephew arrives, all of this will feel worth it! He is going to know you are his mommy. And someday, when he’s old enough to understand, he’s going to be so thankful that you went through this for him. I’m praying for peace during this waiting period. You are halfway there!!!

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  2. Your thoughts and reservations are all understandable, however, you have come so far and everything at this point looks so promising that I can’t be any less optimistic about the beautiful outcome. So — hang in there as we all keep you and Sweet Pea in our hearts and prayers. Love you both!

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  3. Hi there! Firstly, I wanted to say congratulations on your new home. It sounds lovely, although I can absolutely understand how hard it must be to have lots of kids running around. But… You will be a mum (mom!) really soon and you will have Sweet Pea and – yes, it may be awkward for a while when you feel you have to explain his provenance but – I honestly don’t think you will mind so much once you have him! Really I think it will fade as a thing over time.

    I was speaking with my mum about this yesterday and she said she just used to say she had four children and never explain (the first two being transracially adopted so it was pretty obvious!). I think you will have limited times when you feel you need to explain if you don’t want to – but if you do, then it’s a pretty cool story to tell. I know right now it is tinged with sadness but when you have him with you I think that you will be too busy being his mum to notice. And as adopted people, both my partner and I both felt growing up like it was a cool story to tell.

    Also I wanted to say that I really understand that you must be feeling a little adrift right now. It is always hard starting somewhere new. It’s really natural to feel a bit lost. It takes time to feel at home somewhere. But you’ll build that feeling of home over time, and you’ll have Christmas (best time of year!) and thanksgiving before that (best holiday!) and you’ll have Sweet Pea. And in future you will have all these positive associations with the place. You can’t imagine it now but I bet it will become one of your favourite homes! X

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  4. I know you probably feel like a black sheep, but ultimately this quote sums up really what I want to say: “Do not underestimate yourself by comparing yourself with others. It is our differences that make us unique and beautiful”. Your surrogacy journey makes you unique and beautiful in that way and in no way a black sheep.

    I believe that if you are upfront about your journey with new people you meet that you will make friends far quicker. Sure you won’t bond over surrogacy, they won’t really understand where you are coming from, but rather they will see you for your strength and compassion for taking this journey. It’s not the kind of thing that will come up in conversation when you first meet people, but opportunities like ‘what did you do this weekend?’ or ‘what’s been keeping you busy?’ you can mention how you are busily preparing for sweet pea’s arrival!!! It is likely you are opening yourself up to unintentional insensitive comments, but the great thing about meeting new people is that you don’t have to see them again if they are idiots!!!

    It has taken us an age to make really good new friends here in the US, so perhaps I’m not the best person to talk about making new friends :-p But I know how you feel moving to a new country (- or state – it’s practically the same thing in my mind!!!), it’s not easy, but it only gets easier!!! (No shit Sherlock Dani!!)

    I really hope you can find some solace in your writings – perhaps write them down in a personal journal first to get them out of your head? You can always share them with us on your blog at a later stage when you feel more comfortable with them.

    I’m excited for you to start settling into your new home that will be sweet pea’s home too very soon. I’m sure the stress will be melting off your shoulders in no time 🙂

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  5. I am so thankful that your move is over and that you and Kyle have such an amazing opportunity ahead of you. I also pray for each of you as you move through these days that God would make Himself real in strength and comfort. I carry each of you in my heart.xo

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