August 5, 2008

Coming clean........

So here’s the scoop: If you visit my blog to see adorable pictures of my daughter skip this post. I am about to get all emotional with you. My thoughts are all over the place today so just bare with me and hopefully a little of this will make sense.

Over 2 years ago when I started this blog I made a promise to myself that it would be a “real” account of my life and our wait for Avery. In that time it has turned into a journal for me not only the story of our adoption but really the story of our life and now our journey of parenthood. Looking back at old posts I can reflect on happy times we had, sad times, times of frustration and practically every emotion on the spectrum. It amazes me how many little things that have happened in our lives in the last 2 years that I totally forgot about until I saw them here. I always wanted a blog that people would enjoy reading but at the same time did not want to sugarcoat or make light of hard times that we may face.

The past month or so I have not really been true to my original plan. Sure I have posted multiple fun and cute pictures of Avery, but most of posts have been “fluff”. The truth is that I have really been struggling these past few weeks. I have been having a hard time redefining myself as a mother while still trying to be a good wife, employee, etc. I never dreamed how much my life and everything I knew would change once my dream of becoming a mother finally came true.

I have always been a person that sees the cup as “half full” and try to have a positive attitude. Yes, I am one those obnoxious people who believe that keeping a positive outlook on life makes it a whole lot easier!! This too has been a struggle lately.

Please don’t get me wrong I love my daughter!! She truly is a dream come true!! With that being said, PARENTHOOD IS HARD!! I will be the first to admit I am a little set in my ways and sometimes a little stubborn too. Well, all that really went out the window the day I became a mother and it has been difficult for me to let go of some of that structure and routine.

I think I was stuck in the “waiting” mode so long that I never really imagined this dream would ever come to fruition. Throughout the struggles with infertility..to the decision not quit trying..to the decision to adopt; it seems that we always had obstacles and when the wait for Avery lengthened it was almost “expected” that something would go wrong and we would never be blessed with a child. What I did not prepare myself for was the actuality that someday I would become a mother. There would be a little person that depended on me for everything, that needed me, that cried for me, that expected me to meet her needs when she could not even communicate them. That my friends was a major wake-up call!!

My personality is to give 110% and if I don’t think I will be good at something I usually don’t even attempt because after all who likes to fail? This is where my struggle of late comes in. I don’t think I am good at this motherhood thing. Yes Avery seems happy, yes she is developing and progressing at a very rapid pace, yes she appears very attached to both me and Paul. So from the outside looking in it looks like we have it all together. It’s the inside (of me at least) that is crumbling. I am just totally overwhelmed and instead of facing my fears head on and just pushing through I am keeping it all in (until now at least!) and being miserable inside. I have had several crying episodes recently which is very unlike me.

Then comes the guilt. Oh my goodness: the guilt!! We prayed for this child, we cried for her, our hearts yearned for her. We had so many people support us on this journey that it was unreal. And that is why “fessing up” about these feelings has been so hard for me. How can I ask for your prayers and support for over 2 years and then when the dreams is finally realized admit that I am struggling in this new role?

I am sure I am not alone in all these thoughts and feelings (at least I hope I am not!). I was even talking to a co-worker last night about all my insecurities and as a mother of 3 almost grown kids she admitted that even when #3 came along she still felt inadequate at times. Let me tell you that made me feel a whole lot better!!

I guess all this rambling to say that I am in a very weird and unfamiliar place right now but things are starting to look up. Actually talking about my insecurities instead of keeping them all in and having other mom’s admit that they feel or have felt the same way is bringing me comfort and boosting my confidence a little at a time.

Let me end this by saying I love my daughter!!! I would do the wait all over again in a heartbeat to be blessed with Avery. God’s handiwork is truly evident in placing her with us because she is so “our daughter”. I am just a typical (?) new mom trying to define and adjust to this new life.

So that’s where I am right now…….what’s going on under the surface.

Okay going to hit "publish post" now before I chicken out!!

32 comments:

Jodi said...

Robyn, I don't think you'd be a good mama if you didn't have these feelings! Just love her and be there for her!
We all make good decisions and bad decisions but that is how we learn! And how our kids learn that we are not perfect - and they don't have too be either. But are loved unconditionally!

Love ya,
Jodi Sue :)

Anonymous said...

Robyn,
What you are feeling is perfectly normal. No one can say you are not the best parent Avery could have. And remember, help is always next door!

Love,
Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Robyn,
Ohhh how I can sympathize with what you're going through. I went through the same thing with each of the 2 children we adopted. You have to keep working at it and by letting your feelings out is the first step to starting to feel better. Don't harbor those feelings, let them be known. Post adoption blues, not fun! Keep working through it, it will come! I promise you, it will come! You're a great mom, a great wife, a great co-worker and an awesome YOU! Take good care, Sue Jerue, Milford, CT
suejerue@optonline.net (if you need it!)

Valerie said...

Robyn,

I KNOW how hard that was to release. You are NOT alone in these fears and feeling of not being good enough....who the heck is good enough??

A wise woman once told me, when I expressed my lack of self esteem with the whole motheing thing, "Girl, it's no big deal, you ain't never been a mom and he ain't never had a mother; he don't if you are ding it right or wrong, you'll learn it all together.

That wise woman was YOU!

Love V

The Gotch 5 said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of Motherhood. It is the absolute hardest job ever. We too waited 5 years for our daughter and there are days I say to myself "what the heck was I thinking" then she smiles and I look to the future and say "aahhhh yes I can do this." You are NOT alone and we all feel that way a time or two or three some are just honest enough to tell you. I am sitting in the bathroom right now because that is the only place they all leave me alone. Yes I am sitting in the bathroom with my computer........insane.......maybe.....my peace spot, you bet. This is where I do my devotions and read my books. They must think I really have to go a lot:-) Find a spot for you where it can be all yours and regroup. It is wonderful I come out of this bathroom with a smile on my face and I don't care how they all think it gets there!!!!!!!! Hang on girl it does get better. And your sweet Avery doesn't know any different.

Anonymous said...

You know I don't actually think you'd be normal if you didn't have these doubts and fears after you go thru as major a change as this is. I can remember sitting in China with our first daughter and thinking, "oh, I hope we've done the right thing here b/c there is no going back now." And now we're just about to adopt our second daughter a full five years after we adopted our first. And again, it's the scariness factor of going back to a tiny baby again and all that entails. And I sometimes wonder how this will effect the great groove I've got going with my one and only child right now. So you are SO not alone in it all.

The other posters are correct. Just do what you are doing and eventually those feelings of doubt should begin to disappear. But if they don't and you're really struggling, then find a counselor and work thru them b/c as I understand it, there is a real syndrome called "post adoption depression syndrome". You are with the same agency as us and they had info about this syndrome in the literature you got when you got your referral.

Good luck and thanks for your honesty.

GW Mom

Erin said...

Girl, if you didn't have these feelings, I would seriously worry about you! I have told you many, many times that there are days even now, after 4+ years with Mollianne, when I feel totally and completely inadequate for the job of being her mom. What I never want you to forget is that you are an AMAZING mother. Avery absolutely adores you. You may think you are failing or not doing it 110% but you absolutely are. She is at a tough age right now and it does get easier (albeit LOUDER) when she can start to tell you what she wants.

Please, please, PLEASE call me the next time you feel like this. We can get through those times together. Or call one of the girls or your mom. And don't forget that my insecurities will be coming up even more frequently come November. We can help each other through it all.

Love you!

Christie said...

Well I've got three things:

1. Same boat..right here. Same boat sister.

2. I love you for being honest and open.

3. Avery is your daughter and you are her mother - there was never another plan for your life than where you are right now. Take comfort in that thought and let it get you through the rough days. Like "well, kid...it's me and you...so let's do this!"

I love you!

Christie

ps - where's the call saying "let's do lunch!"

Anonymous said...

I believe that every mom and dad(whether she or he admits it or not) has the same self doubts that you have expressed. We aren't blessed with children and then "poof" we automatically know how best to parent those children. We all make mistakes-we're human. I also believe that we all struggle with how best to fit each of our "roles" (individual, spouse, employee, etc) into our lives. I struggled the most with the birth of my first child. Where did I fit in..was I being the best parent I could be..was I being the best spouse I could be..and of course there is work and how to be a good employee as well. And then the question of how to fit these into one person. I know you are doing a great job with all of these! Your daughter wouldn't be where she is today without you and Paul, your support, love, guidance, etc. You are great parents and you can see this in the pictures and stories you share about your family. And since we work together I know you are doing a great job as an employee as well. Don't be so hard on yourself. You'll find that continuing to reach out to your family and friends is extremely helpful. Don't forget to save some time for yourself as well.
Hang in there and know that you have some many friends that are here ready to help if you need it. Jaimie

Doreen said...

If more of us were as frank as you have been with your honesty, there might be a yahoo support group for us!. It's very common to be overwhemed and, yes, depressed and even panicked. It will pass and things will fall into a wonderful groove. I promise. You have a wonderful support system, it seems. Use it. You'll be fine.
Doreen in Montreal single Mom to Faith-Jiangxi & Mia-Sichuan

AussieJenn said...

Motherhood is darn hard. I can totally relate to your post. It doesn't matter how your child(ren) came to you, how hard you worked on becoming a mother, the hardness of it can still hit you smack into the face - what a shock. I'm there with you. I was lucky enough after many many years of IF struggle to become a mum, now I find myself feeling so guilty about how I am struggling to juggle being a good mother, good partner, good employer, good housekeeper, good friend, blah blah blah. It is so so much harder than I could ever have imagined. Nobody warned me. Would I have believed them if they had? Most likely NOT! I love my child. I mostly enjoy my child....but....it is HARD. You are not alone Robyn. I guess we just have to let go a bit on some of our expectations. I read recently somewhere in blog land, that all our children need from us is LOVE. Well, maybe that's not strictly true, but our love is certainly the most important thing we can give them. You and I know we can do that!! We just have to let go of the guilt and stop stressing what we can't do as well as we imagined we would. Thank you so much for this true-feeling blog entry, makes me feel so much better to know I'm not the only one feeling this way (not that I'm happy anybody is feeling like this).
Sending you enormous cyber-hugs from Australia.
Jennette

Catherine said...

((hugs)) Although I have yet to become a mother so cannot fully understand where you're coming from, what you say sounds very, very real and true. I've heard this from many new moms. It's an entirely new role for us and one that we can never fully be prepared for as much as we may read, pray, long for etc. It's new...and you're doing a great job! One day at a time, one moment at a time. Listen to your instincts, feel what your daughter may be telling you, trust yourself and above all Pray and Trust!

((hugs)) Catherine

Duchess of Lanier said...

Robyn, Your honesty is indeed something I need to hear. The hard part isn't the wait, it's the real life that comes after. You are full of love and surrounded by friends. And your open heart is touching and is appreciated by people you have never even met. Hugs and hugs, Trena

AussieJenn said...

umm that should be "employee" not "employer" LOL

Anonymous said...

Robyn,
I found your blog by mistake right before you went to China to bring you little angel home. I was researching International adoption to add to my already "Large Family" as some would say of four kids. I found your blog really enlightening to read. With that being said I will move on the was I got me coming out of lurkdom in the first place. Being a mother is not easy somedays are way better than others. Right now my son is driving me up a wall making an annoying sound but when he's sleeping tonight I will remember how much I'm going to miss that sound when he stops doing it. Kids will never be perfect and we parents will never be either. Allow yourself to be upset sometimes it's natural. We all get overwhelmed. I do daily. But, it gets better. Don't beat yourself up. Please remember to still give yourself me time to yourself.

Claudia

Debra said...

Oh Robyn - I know how hard it is to feel those feelings and feel guilty b/c you expect motherhood to be the fulfillment of what you have been waiting/dreaming/hoping for. You have this sweet little toddler who can't fully communicate what his/her needs are, but who has very specific needs and wants, and when those desired conflict with yours the gloves come off. Avery is also at (what I think is) one of the most difficult ages in the first 2 years. She is just on the verge of really being able to communicate and being more independent and she can get a taste of that but is frustrated b/c she's not there just yet. It is so good that you recognize your frustration and can really ask for help. We will be praying for your down days and also that you will have some easier days ahead to get you through this difficulty period. And we really should get together for a play date!!

Anonymous said...

To my very own Little girl:

Your mother and I became parents at 17 years old. We didn't have enough brains to be scared, and not enough money to worry about it. You came along when we were 19
years old, now 38 years later I still have moments like you. You are your father's child. I sometimes think I didn't spend enough time with you and your brother, didn't know if I gave you everthing you needed, taught you right from wrong or if you are as proud of me as I am of you.

What I am trying to say, is the feeling never goes completely away. Doubts will always be there because you have a little life (Avery),that depends on you.

I look at Avery and see so much of you in her. Her personality, her quick learning, her desire to be unconditionally loved, and her big smile. You my dear like most nurses are, caretakers. You take care of everyone else to make them feel better and don't always take care of yourself. So seek peace alone sometime, and cry baby cry, you will feel better.

You deserve to feel like this and it is normal. Don't cover it up, don't sugar coat it it will only fester like a sore.

You don't remember that you clinged to me as a baby, twisted my nipples (OW) when I went shirtless and always came running to me when I came home from work.

You and your mother are best friends that I envy and she is always there for you. And by the way so am I.

God looked down, saw you and Paul wanted a daughter and sent you an angel. When you need support and want to be alone to get your feelings together, turn your troubles over to GOD, he is going to be awake all night anyway. I love you with all my heart and am always proud of you. Like I said before, it is scary that Avery is so much like you at such a young age. And you and your mother turned out O.K.

Love: Your Daddy

Eloise said...

I will echo what so many have said here: what you are feeling has been felt by every mother at one time or another! Please remember to take some time for yourself and for you and Paul. It will benefit Avery to have a mother who has her own life and interests outside of being a mom and to have parents who love each other and nurture their relationship apart from her. You have it extra hard in that you work in a job that requires you to give so much of yourself in caring for others and then you come home to more of that same scenario. You will be no good to anyone if you crack under all that stress! Treat yourself to a manicure or massage. Go to lunch by yourself with a good book. Get away to a movie. Let Paul or your sweet mom take the baby out for a few hours and you take a nap. YOU are worth it! And everyone you love will benefit from a refreshed and refilled Robyn. Don't forget that you have a wealth of support out there in the real world and here in bloggerland. Sending lots of hugs and love your way. Hang in there.

Reena said...

Hi Robyn,

This is my first time posting-- I forgot about us all listing our blogs on the Feb referral yahoo group.

I was part of Guangdong crowd in your travel group-- so we didn't really get a chance to know each other.

I think having feelings of inadequacy as a new Mom are very normal. All of a sudden you have this little person (whom you cannot always control) who is totally dependent on you.

Our Josie is approaching 21 months and is starting to exert her own independence-- this largely involves climbing on the furniture and trying to do head dives onto the floor. There is plenty of crying both when I catch her and stop her and when she succeeds (there is NO winning in this situation). I feel mean to stop her from having fun-- but she gets hurt. I feel guilty if I miss her and she gets hurt-- I should have been paying closer attention.

Try not to be so hard on yourself-- it is a big adjustment and it will all work out.

Hugs,
Reena Shaw

Norma said...

Don't be so hard on yourself Robyn. Life is not perfect and if it were we wouldn't appreciate it. You will find your groove and in the meantime just do the best you can. Lower your standards a little.......let the house get messy and serve pasta with jarred sauce. Spend as much time with Avery NOW because it does go by so very fast. I don't agree that motherhood is the hardest job of all because I became a Mom at 48 and to me it is a miracle.....even now as we enter the teen years.
You will be fine and go to those support people when you need 'em.

Kelley said...

My friend, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s freaking scary and hard to become a mother. When we’re waiting, we think about it and plan for it and dream about what it will be like. And then, when it happens we wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?” I did…often! You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t always have to give 110%...it’s impossible! I’m so glad that you were brave enough to lay it all out there for all of bloggy land to read and I hope that you’ll take this away from all these comments…you are not alone! I love you and admire you so much!!
Love,
K.

Anonymous said...

Okay time to come out of the lurking closet...I've raised three stepchildren and two biological and here are my little words or wisdom.

Look at a calendar and pick a day and schedule a three hour period every week that is Robyn regeneration time. It is a requirement that you exit the house and you are not doing any errands or anything for anyone else but your self. This will leave the roles of mother, wife, housekeeper, cook, employee, etc. on one side of the door and you on the other side. One week go have a pedicure, another lunch or dinner with the girls or your mom and another go to a movie.

You will have put back on the coat that says Robyn and covered the "S" that is emblazoned on your chest and you will be refreshed..I guarantee it.(Paul should do the same thing).

Terri and Rich said...

Robyn, I am a "lurker" as they say. I love your blog. I am a 1st time parent to our beautiful Jenni Lin from the Hunan Province. We have only been home for a 5 weeks. My husband and I are so like you and your husband. Been together over 20 years (since high school)and more in love then ever. I have to admit this beautiful little child has "Rocked our world" in both good and bad ways. Mostly good but I, too, have some of the same feelings you do. I, too, work in healthcare and have always taken care of other people so I truly thought this wouldn't be very hard but I have a whole new appreciation of parents!! I apologized to all of my co-workers the other day if I didn't give them enough compassion or listened more gently to their conversations about their children. I love your blog and look forward to reading it as often as possible. Keep your chin up, "girlfriend" and I envy all of your close friends you have and encourage you to look to them for support. In my eyes just from reading your blog you are awesome!
From another "the glass is always full-well, most of time" online friend!

Hugs,
Terri

AussieJenn said...

Oh Robyn, I had to leave another comment, I came back today and read the latest comments and read the one from your daddy. Oh my goodness, it really made me tear up. What a wonderful sweet father you have. A special man for sure. His words are perfect.
Hope you are feeling better today.
Hugs

blissfullycaffeinated said...

Totally and completely normal and understandable. Every mom (and Dad) that I know has gone through this. The first year is very, very hard.

I have an Avery also, she's my second child. When she came along, I loved her immediately and completely, but she had colic, I got no sleep and post-partum hit hard. I was sad and angry and crabby and nasty. It doesn't go away all at once, you just gradually acclimate, the babies get older and easier to handle and, one day not too far from now, you'll look back and realize that you got through it. I promise.

Found you through my girl Christie's blog. Good luck, take care, and know that it will pass. You're a mom. We're made of pretty srtong stuff.

Elisa. said...

Came from christie's blog to say hi.
Don't feel bad for posting your feelings.
I have one bio and one adopted child and have been though exactly the same thing as you, it will get easier.
You are human and it is completely normal to have feelings like this.
(hugs) Elisa.

Anonymous said...

I know you have a strong foundation in the way you were raised. and as such you and paul will be averys foundation. even though you may not feel "strong" you are a smart wonderful person.i have always admired the way you were raised to be so strong and smart.just know that avery is the legacy that one day you will look on and know you did a great job just like your mom and dad did with you. love u guys

Anonymous said...

Motherhood is the hardest thing in the world! I think being a wife is number 2. I LOVE my job - I'm a better pharmacist because I'm a mom. BUT, lately, I'd rather be at work than at home! Husband is going back to school (4th time to try to get a degree) and he feels he shouldn't have to help at all around the house when I have to work late - get the picture? At least at work you get to be around grown-ups. YET, when I come home my 5 and 2 year olds come running to the door and give the best hugs and kisses. When I have a day off during the week and don't send them to daycare I ask them what they want to do. They always say the same thing - can we just play with you? I must be doing better than I think. Give an email if you want to "talk"
Kate
katherin.johnston@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

greetings from your uncle bill moses.robyn sounds like things are normal in your life,just enjoy the good times,endure the bad and come away a stronger mother and wife. just be glad your not breast feeding i hear it hurts.ha ha....love bill

Robyn,

I can't imagine how difficult your adjustment period must be. I know that it will get better and worse and better...throughout your lifetime of parenthood. Hang in there and know that we love all of you and will do anything to help you at anytime, just pick up a phone girl and ignore Bill, he just wanted to type the word breast on the internet. Hard to believe he's 46 isn't it? Love ya, Kathy

Samba aka Dawn said...

Yes ma'am....welcome to motherhood. It all sounds normal to me. I remember when I brought my twins home all I could do was stare at them and think... what the heck did i just do? When I adopted my daughter last year all the same emotions came back as I questioned what I was about to do.... again, all is fine and normal. Hang in there you will find your groove.

dawn in sac
www.talesfromthebigtomato.blogspot.com

Monkey Momma said...

Robyn, I realize I'm commenting very late on this post, but I want you to know you're not strange and you're not alone. After a 10 year battle with IF and pregnancy loss, we finally had our first son. Like you, I had no idea how to handle the swarm of emotions that onslaughts a new mom. It's been a year since JK has come into our lives and I'm still adjusting. What you are experiencing and will continue to experience, seems to be par for the course as a mom, no matter the journey of the child's arrival into our lives.

It's much like high school, college, marriage, a new job. It's easy to think of what it'll be like before we get there. But reality is always different. More often than not, it's better! So we just learn to adjust and not look back with regret.

Blessings to you and your sweet family!

MM

Monkey Momma said...

I also meant to tell you that your child is such a blessing to me and I've never even met y'all. She has a darling smile and seems to have such a sweet spirit. I can't help but look at her and giggle. :-)