Monday, 18 May 2015

Adoption myths - The Miracle Pregnancy Part 1

Those of you who are fellow adoptive parents must have heard it. Those of you who are not, might have thought it or even said it. The "You are sure to get pregnant after you adopt" comment. It actually comes in many different versions but the essence is always the same: Once you adopt, you will also get pregnant.

Now, I know that it happens. It, sort of, happened to us (but not quite - read on). I don't want to talk about our case specifics so much as I want to tackle some of the thinking behind the phrase. So, if you are one who has uttered it, please think of the implications. If you are one who hears it (don't all adoptive parents - maybe not, maybe it's just Greece) you can thoughtfully direct the person who comments here.

There are several assumptions behind the phrase.  

First, that you, as a couple have not been able to get pregnant. When people say "you will get pregnant after you adopt" they automatically assume that you have not been able to. Although that is certainly true of some adopters, not all adoptions come at the end of a long road of infertility (and if/when they do that's also fine).

Second and linked to the above is the assumption that adoption was your plan B. Again, for many people it is (or even plan C or D, and again that's also fine) but for some people it is plan A. Or it is a plan B that comes before plan A has been shelved. Or many other variations on that theme.

When someone utters the phrase "you wait, now you've adopted you'll have one of your own" there are a few implicit messages there too. Maybe people don't mean it that way, maybe they don't even think about it much, but there is a message that an adoptive child is somehow less yours, and that your ultimate aim is "one of your own".  I know many adopters and I can say that that's certainly not the case: our adopted kids are every bit ours, as our biological kids.

A favourite of anyone who's ever struggled with infertility is the phrase: "Just relax and it will happen". Sometimes the "miracle pregnancy" is a substitute for it; in fact, if I had a euro for each time someone has implied that my pregnancy was a result of "relaxation" after our adopted son arrived, I could probably buy that new pair of running shoes I've been lusting after... 
I have to gently remind people that I was 4 months pregnant when J joined our family! In fact, this particular phrase might warrant its very own follow-up post.

There is sometimes also another implicit message (and in fact in my case it has been said explicitly at least half a dozen times): "Now that you have done your good deed, God will reward you with one of your own". Where do I even begin with that one? This  post here is a good start. Just don't say it in front of my kids, or you may get to see this mama get very angry!

Finally and let me say this here once and for all: Our adopted son was not our last-ditch attempt at infertility treatment! 

There, I've said it. Have a good week all!

to be continued (with some numbers, next time)...

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