I Was Wrong
I assumed that adopting would make having an infant easier largely because there would be no physical recovery from actually having the child.
On more then one occasion in the last few months I have had to admit that I was wrong.
First, I was proven wrong when I assumed that we would have an easier time of feeding our infant. No breastfeeding attempts meant we just went straight to formula without massive guilt. Turns out formula feeding is also not a guaranteed easy thing. I obviously have no ability to compare to breastfeeding challenges, but I do know in the first weeks/months we had a little guy who struggled to eat at times. I think we’ve bought at least one of every single bottle/nipple combination available in the USA and Canada. Each feeding took at least an hour, and burping was an especially painful experience for all involved. Thankfully things have improved now that he’s a bit older.
Second, sleep. I assumed as two parents equally sharing in feeding our child, I would get more sleep then mother’s who are breastfeeding around the clock. Now, this could be true, especially since Baby MPB loves to sleep. But, I think no matter how an infant comes into your family, sleep is just not what it was in the childfree days. There are days when either Mr. MPB or I feel like the other is getting more sleep, which builds resentment – there simply is never a perfect split. And, even when Baby MPB sleeps more then normal one of us is awake and checking on him to make sure he’s still alive. Sleep deprivation is no joke – it took major surgery and pain medication for me to sleep soundly more then a few consecutive hours. We are simply learning to function with less sleep.
Third, hormones. I totally thought I’d skip this because I skipped the hormones of pregnancy and giving birth. Well, again, I was wrong. It turns out that there are still tonnes of hormones and emotions rushing through ones body while traveling internationally and meeting your child for the first time. In fact, I have since learned that postpartum depression is rather common in adoptive parents (thankfully I have not experienced this).
Fourth, baby brain. So, I assumed baby brain is related to pregnancy hormones. I have no idea if there are scientific studies to support this, but I am adamant that baby brain is at least partially related to exhaustion. In my experience when one doesn’t sleep, one does not think or act rationally. And when one does sleep, one doesn’t remember anything. I guess this is why sleep deprivation is a torture technique.
Fifth, sex. With adoption there is no medically required time to abstain after the birth of your child – there is quite literally no recovery to be concerned about so no need to wait. So, I just assumed our sex life wouldn’t change. The joke has been on me with this assumption. Seriously, when one has an infant sleeping in their room, how exactly do you manage sex? Oh, and even once baby moves to their own room, pure exhaustion does not place sex high on the list of priorities. And, while probably not a common occurrence for most new mom’s, throw in a breast reduction surgery/recovery and sex is just dead (hopefully just for the time being).
I’m sure this list can go on. But, seriously, adoption doesn’t necessarily mean that some of the stereotypical mom experience are skipped or made easier as I had assumed.
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