“LABOR PAINS! Yes we are in labor!” announces a blogger about to receive a four-year-old girl from China.
Both of you? Sorry to sound creepy, but can I watch his? I must know how he manages. And that must hurt. How on earth do you keep your womb(s?) in China and the rest of you here? And how can your new daughter sport “princess shoes, earrings and purse” for the camera unless your womb(s?) contains room not only for a four-year-old, but for furniture, draperies and a photographer too? Stop that, it’s tacky.
But it isn’t like these bloggers thought up this grotesque metaphor. It’s been around awhile in various forms, like this:
No, it’s the same old pregnant. Someone got The Same Old Pregnant and you are raising her child. The least you could do is acknowledge her existence. Stop that, it’s an insult.
Then there’s this:
You are not Paper Pregnant unless you intend to become a paper mother by giving birth to a paper infant, which I don’t recommend, because the paper cuts, my gods the paper cuts. Stop that, it’s a lie. (Unless you really have given birth to a ream of one hundred per cent white cotton bond paper, in which case I apologize and offer as consolation the fact that your son will one day be perfect for copying a doctoral dissertation onto.)
If family-making were a sport, this would be cheating. It’s the equivalent of buying something and insisting you made it yourself when you try to resell it on Etsy, which makes you petty and shameless. And I wish that were all it did, but this stuff isn’t cute and it isn’t harmless. It lets the world know before your adoption is completed that you can’t deal with raising a child you didn’t give birth to, even though that’s exactly what you signed on for.
I’m not trying to be mean here, I’m just saying something obvious that a lot of PAPs don’t seem to get: You did not engender your adopted child.
Did the first mother pick you? Do you know all about her and the father? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.
Do you have an open adoption? You still didn’t give birth, and your child still had parents before you.
Did you go to every prenatal checkup? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.
Did you go into the delivery room and cut the cord? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.
No matter how young s/he is when you get him/er, no matter how little s/he seems to remember, your child will need you to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that s/he is, but is not, entirely yours. When you you walk around with a T-shirt representing the entire country of China as the womb in a fake ultrasound, you don’t look ready for the task at all.
(You look like a colonialist running dog, but that’s another story for another day.)
Your child is yours, but s/he will never be “yours” in the sense that s/he will look like you, act like you, have your family’s talents and dreams and eyes. The sooner you deal with that, the happier your child will be, because an adopted child needs to grow up with parents who acknowledge and can deal with the fact that s/he had parents before them.
These days my face gets red and I break a sweat just reading about this crap. May I try the paper menopause please?