Written by Alissa Kay
I’m quite comfortable with the way we chose to add to our family. In fact, adoption was our first choice to grow our family. We didn’t settle when we decided to adopt; it’s what both my husband and I wanted. I can’t see my family any other way (well, maybe a few more kids… HA!). But every now and then when I’m chatting with other young moms, I get a brutal reminder that I’m a little different than the other mommas since I didn’t give birth to my babies.
Since my kids are still pretty young, it seems like everyone wants to share their birth story and hear everyone else’s too. Pregnancy, labor pains, C-sections, epidural v. all natural, breastfeeding… I really can’t relate to any of that. And those topics seem to come up a lot in the circles I run with. I hope as my kids get older those discussions will take place less often. It’s not that I’m overly sensitive. I swear, I’m not. It’s just slightly uncomfortable (for me and them); especially if they don’t know that I’m a mom through adoption.
When those topics come up with my closest group of friends, it’s no big deal. I’m so close that I can usually find something to add to the conversation without feeling completely awkward. But when I’m just talking to other moms who I don’t really know that well… well, that’s when it gets really awkward for me. I feel like I can’t even nod my head in agreement because it just makes me feel like an imposter.
I also don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable, so I usually sit there waiting for the subject to change. Now, if they come out and specifically ask me if I exclusively breastfed or ask me how long my labor was… well, then I come clean and share about adoption. I have friends who swear by breastfeeding. Had I given birth to my babies, I’m sure I would have tried it. But since I didn’t, I didn’t even try to. Some adoptive moms do have success feeding their adopted babies that way. But having never been pregnant, it would have taken a whole lot of effort and a miracle for me to do it. Quite frankly, I was content to give my babies formula in their bottle. Plus, that meant Daddy could help with those middle of the night feedings! That said, when people start talking about why the breast is best, some of that mommy guilt tends to creeps up. I think all moms experience that mommy guilt at some point or another…
However, when I’m cuddling with my kids and reading them a story and they randomly stop me, just to tell me how much they love me, I know it doesn’t matter if I bottle-fed or breastfed them. Whether I gave birth to them or not, they’re my babies and I love them with my whole heart.