A Mom-To-Be's Mindset and Advice: Laura

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Mother’s Day can be a real bear if you want to be a mom and aren’t. It starts in April every year: store ads, radio commercials, social media content, memes, and even watercooler talk. It snowballs into the one weekend when it feels like everyone is celebrating except you. It can be a lonely, sad place.

Maybe you feel that way too. And if you do, you’re not alone. So many of us have a hard time with Mother’s Day—it’s an emotional day for lots of people, though you might not know it if you didn’t have a pass into this unsought club.

My husband and I always wanted kids. When we learned that becoming parents was going to be far tougher than we ever realized, Mother’s Day became a day on the calendar day that I wanted to erase. Not because I don’t care about my mom—far from it, she’s great and absolutely worth celebrating – but because it just was too painful to feel like I was sitting out on the sidelines of some sport that I didn’t have a permission slip to join. It wasn’t a great place to be.

Starting the wild ride of the adoption process and being on the waiting family list has added another dimension to this upcoming holiday. I’ll admit it is still hard; however, instead of just the familiar stinging heartache, there is also a calm realization that we might be closer to this dream than we ever have been. Grief and sadness are being eclipsed by a feeling of hopeful gratitude.  Perhaps someone might recognize in us what I’ve known all along- that we have what it takes to be a really good, caring, and fun parents. I’m still waiting for that moment, but the thought that it will happen makes the month of May brighter.

One of the things that led to this journey was that an adoptive mom told me that her grueling, unsuccessful fertility treatments and losses, her heart was made whole after adopting her children. I too dream of finding those pieces and feeling that peace. I’m also thunderstruck by the understanding that, to become what I want to be, someone else has to make the decision not to become a parent, which is a humbling concept.

Maybe you feel like I have about this day for any number of reasons, or maybe you have a friend or family member who does. Over the years I have learned a couple lessons that have made it easier.

If you are wanting to be a mom and aren’t one yet, please go easy on yourself. Do what makes you feel best to get through that day. Remember that it’s one day of the year- there are lots of other good ones if this one feels bad or hard. Do something to feed your mind, your body, and your soul: some good food, a walk, a bath and a fun face mask, or a good book. Do something that will make you laugh, or play with a pet, or go see a movie. Go to a family event if you want to, but be prepared in case you need to leave early, and know that it’s perfectly fine to do so. Consider using social media sparingly, unless you’ve figured out better settings than me (in which case, please teach me!).

If it feels like the right thing, maybe take some steps toward fulfilling your dream, whatever it may be. The one thing that helped me the most was when we decided to adopt and started the process. We began our journey right before Mother’s Day last year and it made the holiday much more pleasant.

If you are a friend or family member of someone who wants to be a mom but isn’t yet, please be patient and kind to them on Mother’s Day. Respect their feelings and their wishes. If they can’t make it to a celebration that day, be understanding. If they need a laugh, help them find humor. If they need a shoulder to cry on, please be there without judgment or clichés. I’d suggest that you not tell your friend that their pets count as children or that you’ll give your kids to them because they are so naughty. Don’t tell them how much money they are saving by not having kids, or over-sympathize (For instance, sending a text that says “I think of you every year on this day and how awful it must be” – that sort of thing doesn’t inspire many great moments). And please don’t complain about how lame your family’s presents were (um, hello, we’d love that dandelion bouquet and that drawing of what might be a stick person and/or a cat!).

There are a lot of us in this club who struggle through Mother’s Day. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that your future contains all the things you are wishing for and peace for your heart.

Written By AOW Waiting Mom, Laura

A Waiting Mother's Perspective: Jess

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“Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits bestowed upon us.”- Sheri L. Dew

Mother’s Day has taken on a number of meanings throughout the changing seasons in my life. As a child, I distinctly remember the sheer thrill of presenting my mother with a bouquet of dandelions and hand-written cards with backwards letters; it was a time to rejoice in the beauty of spring and the continued budding of the relationship formed between mother and daughter.  

As a young adult I began to wonder what it might be like to be celebrating another changing role—Me as a mother. I couldn’t wait to be on the receiving end of precious hand-written cards and other homemade assortments; to pay forward the beauty of the mother-daughter relationship I have been fortunate to develop throughout my life. I reflected on this experience with loving anticipation and excitement of what might be—a daughter, whose smile and dimples reflected my own.

Time raced on, as it does, and life threw me a curve ball in the form of fertility struggles in my late twenties. After a failed round of fertility treatments and a negative pregnancy test on Mother’s Day; it became clear that achieving parenthood was going to be an emotionally and physically draining obstacle course. Just as the seasons change, the second Sunday in May again took on a new meaning-- this time filled with the unique and raw pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that may never come.

Now, in my early thirties, I am a prospective adoptive mama and the meaning of Mother’s Day has yet again morphed. I have learned that this day of celebration takes on the meaning you give it. It is within my own power to focus on the positive. As I wait, I move forward with a grateful heart; I yearn to meet my child’s first mother--to know her, respect her, and honor her.  After all, without her, my vision of this special day, could never come to fruition.

To my future child, whom I already love with every cell in my body, know that as I anticipate receiving bouquets of dandelions and handcrafted macaroni necklaces, I do so patiently, with a joyful heart. I promise to find wonder in the wait and look forward to the changing definition of Mother’s Day your presence will bring.

Written By AOW Waiting Mom, Jess.

Anna and Avery

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Jeri Lynn and Michael have been the proud parents of twin girls, Anna and Avery, since their birth on June 14, 2018. Anna and Avery were born a few weeks early and spent some time gaining weight and strength in the hospital before being discharged directly into the care of Jeri Lynn and Michael. The girls are healthy and happy and their parents are enjoying every minute with them!

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When we asked Jeri Lynn about their time as a family and the girl’s developing personalities, she had this to say about her daughters, “Avery and Anna started out as tiny peanuts but have grown beautifully. Their personalities are quite different. Anna is silly, adventurous and brave. Avery is more cautious, reserved and silly. They love cuddling with their Mama and Daddy, peek a boo, bath time and playing with their cousins.”  

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The couple hopes to finalize Anna and Avery’s adoption in the next couple months and is looking forward to starting more traditions as a family. They spent their first holiday season together as a family of four and Anna and Avery couldn’t be more adorable in their matching outfits!

Thank you to Jeri Lynn and Michael for sharing some of their journey with us and we are so happy for you and your family!

Welcome to the World, Reese!

Welcome to the world, Reese! This happy baby girl was born on August 13, 2018 and weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce. Her parents, Kayla and Nate, have enjoyed getting to know Reese’s birth mother over the last few months of her pregnancy and after birth.

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Kayla and Nate have been Reese’s sole caregivers since her discharge from the hospital, a little over 6 weeks ago. Reese has been thriving in their care and is a super happy baby! Kayla and Nate are overjoyed to have their baby girl in their lives.

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Even the family dog, Macy, is loving having a new baby at home!

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Kayla and Nate have been gushing over their daughter and their daughter’s birth mother since they day they were matched. When we asked them how the first weeks of parenting have gone for them, the couple said, “Our first 6 weeks with Reese have been such a dream! From the moment we laid eyes on her we were forever in love and in awe of her. She is such a good baby and has made being first time parents very easy on us! Her favorite thing to do at the moment is sit or lay by the big window in our breakfast nook and look outside. She also loves her play mat and is just able to grab the hanging toys. Waking her up for her bottle in the mornings is our favorite time. She giggles and coos - we think she is going to be a morning person for sure! It amazes us how fast she is growing and how smart she is already. Her personality is developing quickly and we love it so much. We are just so grateful to Reese’s birth mother and birth family for choosing us. It really just feels like a perfect match - so meant to be!”

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Thank you, Kayla and Nate, for sharing your story with us. We are so excited for your future with Reese and can’t wait to share more photos of her as she grows!