May 12, 2008

There really is no difference

Posted in Momming at 8:14 pm by Erin

Before K came home, I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to have her second child.  How can I possibly love this child as much as I love the first?  Will I ever feel the same way about him that I do my first?  Will I be as excited about his first milestones as I was when my first baby did them, or will they just seem routine?  Will I constantly compare them?

And I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to adopt a child.  Will I love this child as much as I would love a bio child?  Will I ever look at him and feel like he really is mine, not just by law but by my heart?  Will I be able to do things with him without wondering if I’m just pretending that he’s my son? 

The first month home didn’t exactly reassure me on any of those.  I know that I’d read posts from people about how hard it is at first, how it’s OK not to feel bonded to your child right away and that the attachment has to grow.  That didn’t reassure me.  I felt bonded to P from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and motherhood fit me very naturally.  The sleep deprivation was tough, the nursing was tough–but it felt like I was born to do it (which was strange in and of itself, but that’s another post).

The mothering came right away with K.  Although I struggled a lot with the emotions, I know how to mother.  Even though he was an unfamiliar child, I know how to hold and soothe, to cuddle and play with a child of that age.  I even commented to J while we were still in Ethiopia that it felt very natural, very familiar.

In the last month, the rest of it has come.  I admit that it was a lot faster than I’d ever expected it to be, especially after the first month, but there is no doubt.  I look at K and can hardly believe that this wonderful miraculous child is mine.  I watched his first steps and cheered and squealed and called everyone as if I’d never seen a child take a step before.  I don’t compare them, except to think about what each one is/was doing–I’m not comparing K’s actions at 18 months to P’s at that age and finding them better or worse.  He’s his own person, and I find that much easier to realize than I’d feared it would be.  At the same time, I do compare some things.  Just like P, I see the joy in K’s eyes when he sees me come into a room and know that it is reflected in mine when I see him.  I tell him I love him so very, very much and mean it every bit as much as I’ve meant it every time I’ve told P the same thing.

And, though I’m sure K wishes it weren’t so, I can discipline him without fearing that it’s going to sever that bond, that attachment, that love.  I don’t fear to take something away from him that he’s not supposed to have, even though I know it will make him scream and cry, because I love him enough to discipline him.  I don’t fear to give him time-out when he’s hitting someone or one of the dogs, because it’s a part of being his mama.  And I don’t worry that he will turn away from my hug at the end of it.

I know there will be many issues in the future, both related to adoption and related to the fact that I am his mom and that he will chafe at boundaries like all children do.  I am sure that I will hear "You’re not my real mom!"  I’m sure that I will hear "I don’t love you!"  (I’ve heard it from P already, so I know it’s coming.)  I’m sure that there will be other statements guaranteed to break my heart a little bit each time he throws them at me.  But I also know that I love him enough to be his mom, and none of those statements will change how I feel about him as my son.



  1. lucky2 said,

    That love is the true mother’s day present.

  2. jesspond said,

    I find there’s no difference and a huge difference at the same time. But like your situation only in a different way, our adoption is transparent and so it comes up. That, coupled with our openness means that we don’t ever just “forget” Ava is adopted. That’s the most striking difference in the kids.
    However, the things that are NOT different…the love, the feeling of family, of being her and his mother…those are the important things anyway, after all!!

  3. DD said,

    I’m glad to see this. Even for those who don’t know if they can “mother”, it’s really just a matter of showing love, compassion and even boundaries.

  4. It’s great to hear that things are going to well. You’re an incredible mama!
    I hope you had a great mother’s day!! Thanks for your mother’s day post to all of us still waiting! 🙂

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