But on the Other Hand

On one hand I enjoy baby showers. Whether it's the blessing of a first baby or the celebration of the arrival of a sibling, baby showers are an opportunity to rejoice with friends over their much anticipated precious bundle of joy.

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.


  1. Oh Holly, I am so sorry you are hurting. I wish I knew the perfect thing to say to make you feel better, but all I know is that during these times the Lord can carry you and give you comfort. Cling to Him. It won't take the hurt away but it will give you strength to endure it. <3

    (by the way, I'm Faith. I've been a lurker for a couple weeks now and LOVE your blog!! :)

  2. On the one hand I did an inner "ouch" for you when I read what Annelise said. On the other hand, I'm so happy you have her.

    People used to tell me, when they would see me with three young children, "You sure have your hands full." I would always reply, "It's better than having them empty."

    I know you count your blessings every day. Hugs.

  3. Hi Holly,

    Although I do not share the same "past" with you. I too have the feelings of not having more children. I am not an adoptive mother, but still have a longing for more children.(for medical reasons..will not) It is hard to have the feelings I do, and have people make comments. Big Hugs!!!

    Susan (WI) ..we have emailed before about NYC.

  4. i'm back. the comment i tried to post with my phone has actually sparked an entire post that's ruminating around my noggin. i would like to link back to this post, if that would be okay with you?

  5. Baby showers were very painful for me during the infertility treatments and still sting somewhat, knowing that the only way I will ever be pregnant again is to take the same long, emotionally painful, and expensive route we took before.

  6. Well, I just teared up reading that. Because you share your feelings I am more aware than ever of how much a casual comment can hurt and I am trying to be more mindful of my words. I hope you have a peaceful day.

  7. Hi. I've been a lurker on your blog for awhile now, and I love it. I somewhat understand what you are saying. I am going through infertility right now, and it seems like everyone around me is expecting. (I had 4 friends give birth within the past 3 weeks.) It's heartbreaking. You're definitely in my prayers

  8. Love you. Think your just about the sweetest little mother in Texas. Truly. I'm sorry for your pain but also know you are such a gift to A and to all of us. Bless you today!!!!

  9. Oh Holly, I know how difficult it is to have conflicting emotions like these even though I haven't experienced your actual situation. It seems like it's part of being a woman to have all of these feelings and to battle them. I hope you are able to make peace with them when you're ready.

  10. Holly, I'm praying for you and the pain in your heart. I too am barren and as you know, an adoptive mother. But I cannot say that I have felt the way you do, and I wish I could give you some comfort in a common feeling.....but I know that I CAN pray. In fact, I'm gonna go do that now.
    Chin up. You are so very blessed, dear heart.

  11. hugs.

    you are brave to share your feelings; I am sure there are many others who could read this and be relived to know they are not alone.

  12. Holly, I've been thinking about you since I read your post last night. I believe this age is very hard on our little angels; Gracie is 8.5 now, but about a year ago, she started grieving her birth mother. There is no way in this world to know who that person is and she knows that, but crying every night about this woman who gave birth to her was difficult. I want you to know it's not just you going thru this pain, as I am sure you already know....if you care to discuss this more via private email, feel free to send me a msg: rhettbryan (at) bellsouth (dot) net :)
    (((((adoptive mama hugs)))))

  13. As an adoptee, I look back on things I said when I was A's age and feel a hint of regret. She must have ached and many a time at the things I said. I see now my own daughter's sadness and confusion about their adoption. And, yes, they've said just about the same things - it hurts. I realize though that they grieve for their birth mothers - as I did and honestly still do. I feel displaced even now, but - with an adults view. Supporting them and talking is the best thing I can do for them (and it's what my mom did for me). Take care Holly - you're amazing!

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