Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to Grow a Family

Here we are, steadily into the new year, and my life feels all at once more together and much more falling apart. Aspects of our life which felt stable don't anymore, but nothing is destabilized enough to talk about it in public.

Baby sleeping in public

Growing our family is still very much on my heart. It's so much on my heart that sometimes I feel like I'm going to burst. I have a near-frantic need to talk about it. I can remember this feeling when I was pregnant; all I wanted to do was be around other mothers and talk about pregnancy, birth, newborns. I was addicted to birth stories and pregnancy forums!

Newborn Zuzu - still with her belly button clamp!

Now I have just as much of a need to communicate, but finding the community has been harder. Most of my friends have already had their second, third, or fourth children! I want to talk to parents about adding a sibling: is there an ideal timing, how likely is secondary infertility, how do you introduce the concept to your child, how do you prepare?

And adoption...adoption communities are numerous. But I have a terror that my questions are, well, rude. These are people who have grown their families this way and I am nervous that I am being insensitive or uncaring when I ask: do you cosleep with your adopted children if you already cosleep with your biological children? Are you nervous about your adopted child being jealous that you still nurse your bio child? Is it really a horrible idea to adopt out of birth order, or to have your only child's first sibling be an adopted one? Has anyone ever breastfed children they adopted, especially if they're still nursing their biological child? What if I get pregnant while I'm trying to adopt? Is that insane? How crazy exactly am I?

Basically, how much wine will it take me to get through the day? 
Just kidding - I mean gin! 

On top of all of this, my heart has really been drawn to children who are sight impaired - either blind or partially blind. So that brings a whole new set of questions. What are the best books for raising a blind child? In our increasingly technological world, how do I prepare a blind child to be self-sufficient? How do I prepare my home? How do I help younger, pre-verbal children understand that my adopted child can't see? Where do I find the blind community online?

Basically I want to know: What would adoption really look like for my family? I want to give someone all of our factors and thoughts and situations and say: am I crazy? Is this a bad idea? Talk me through this! If I had a spirit animal, I'd be begging big time for some help on this front. (what are spirit animals? and how much time do I have to spend in purgatory for mentioning them on my supposedly Catholic blog?)

I hope if I have spirit animal, it's as cute as my baby, otherwise that's just disappointing.

I want answers. I want something concrete to hold onto and say, ah yes, this is right. But I'm so terrified of all the answers that most days I just want to stay in bed and cuddle my one and only baby - the baby that I know. It's hard because now I've had a whole 15 months of knowing Zuzu - I know who she is. I know what her personality is and what she likes; I know what will calm her, what to say, what she'll eat. And the thought of adding more - however it's done, whoever they are - makes me realize it will all change, and we'll be bringing a stranger into the home. And on some level, it frightens me.

I have more empathy for those parents who choose to only have one child. I want to keep Zuzu this way forever - knowing she'll always have both her parents to devote attention and time to her, that she'll always feel cared for. Oh I know it's wouldn't be a good thing for long! Her risk of being spoiled is very very real! But I still want it on some level - to protect her, to make sure she'll never feel second fiddle to anyone. It's natural isn't it?

I think this is why I was hoping we'd get pregnant when she was very young, so I wouldn't have to look at any of these questions. I was hoping I'd be so overwhelmingly fertile that my thoughts would mostly be, "hmmm I don't think we can handle 4 under 5, so I'd better sleep in the guest room tonight." Abstinence, for our marriage, isn't the cross that lower fertility is for us - the challenge for us is having so much latitude and freedom. Really, it wouldn't very hard to be selfish with my time and my money and my fertility - if it weren't for my heart.

I long for my mother's heart to be expanded. I can't tell you why - why now, when I'm working, and Tom's working himself to death, and I can barely keep it all together as it is. I'm terrible at almost everything, and most days lately are really hard on me. So why now? What part of this stage of my life screams, ah yes add someone else to take of! I don't know. I have no logical answer. But I'm searching, I'm wondering, my heart keeps asking:

 "how do we grow our family?"


  1. Maybe you cannot find a logical answer to your heart's desire of being a mother to one more, right at this time...but remember, God does not always work in logical (to us) ways. He gave you this desire to give you a chance to show Him that you can overcome your fears and follow His Will..no matter how scary and illogical it seems. God Bless! - Agnes

    1. I love your name!
      Yes...God's ways are so much higher than our ways. Thank you for reminding me that even the desire to grow our family is a gift...one I must accept without making demands!

  2. Oh I wish we could be sitting at the table in our old apartment having tea, so that we could talk and the kids could play! I miss that! And while I don't have any answers I wish I could be there!

    1. I think about that so often!! Come back - it's a balmy 65 here today!! :)

  3. Can I just say...I love how honest and real this is? God will show you your path.

    1. Thanks :) It's probably the most real I've been in a LONG time on here!

  4. Hey Mart! I found your blog through Jen's blog and wanted to stop over really quick and say hello! OH, I will keep your desires for a growing family in my prayers. I know couples at every stage of the family spectrum and though I am not there myself with a family of my own, I know God will truly fill your desires because you a precious daughter in his eyes. God's blessings to you and your fam. BTW - Zuzu as Jen refers to all the time - is Ab-so-lute-ly one of THE most ADORABLE babies I've ever seen. Seriously. She is an angel.

    1. Thank you so much, Rachel. I know God can see the big picture and that he has plans for my good! Sometimes I just wish I could be a bit more in the loop, y'know?? :)

      Thanks so much for saying that about Zuzu. She is beautiful, although I won't lie - sometimes her behavior doesn't aaaalways reflect her beauty. I hope she allows God to form her soul and character, so that it will be as lovely as her face!


Comments make me feel like I'm not just talking to myself or the government (because I know the government secretly reads my blog). Help me feel less crazy - comment away!