But on the other hand, baby showers hurt. To ooh and ahh over the cute little clothes, to watch the assortment of baby themed paraphernalia being opened with such happiness carries its own sting. A jolt of emptiness, a wave of longing, a feeling of exclusion from the birth experience all wash over me as I nod and smile at the darling onesie that is held up for all to see.
On one hand I want to share in the the expectant mom's joy.
But on the other hand I feel jealousy, sadness and confusion. Along with a hefty dose of guilt over my dark emotions.
On one hand I feel I should want to go to baby showers. I should put on a brave face, rise above my feelings (re: it's not about me) and go.
But on the other hand that rarely happens.
On one hand I wish Annelise could be a big sister someday. When people who don't know our story glibly tell us to have another one (or go get another one) I smile and make some inane reply while inwardly seething or crumbling depending on the day.
But on the other hand having only one child has its own benefits.
On one hand being an adoptive mother fills a basic need within me.
But on the other hand, the barren one, I feel damaged, unworthy and incomplete.
On one hand I am an adoptive mother.
But on the other hand I grasp my seven year old daughter's hand and look at her in a mix of love and sudden loss for words when she announces over lunch today that her first real mom is in Russia and I am her second real mom.
Clearly, my hands are full.