Monday, June 19, 2017

#Microblog Mondays: How To Tell People You're Not Adopting Anymore


Wouldn't it be great if I had the answer to this unpleasant business?

Sadly, I don't.

I do a MISERABLE job telling people our news, and I've been doing it at an incredibly slow and excruciating rate of about 4-6 people per week, give or take two people.

The problem is, I feel the need to justify why every time I spill the beans, and so I end up telling people all about my autoimmune eye problems and my mental breakdown and I really don't think that's necessary. I should be able to just say, "We are no longer pursuing adoption -- it didn't work out for us" and leave it at that.

But instead I list out everything, I feel the need to say how long we did IVF before, and how incredibly hard everything was--as though I am convincing myself of the merit of our decision, too. I end up sounding a little loose in the screw department and a lot like, "See? This is the right decision, I can prove it, we did SO MUCH to try to have a baby and in the end it took over everything and had major health impacts and we chose to live a life not in stasis anymore...see? See how much it makes sense?"

I even practiced with a friend today, in anticipation of being asked for updates at the retirement party after school (no one asked, which was both a relief and a concern), "We are not pursuing adoption anymore and that's all I'd like to say about it for now." There's no way I'll actually succeed at saying just that, so I'm grateful no one asked but also worried it means a) people know through the grapevine but are quiet about it or b) people are tired of asking how it's going and not getting a good prognosis.

I feel like I need to just rip that bandaid off, go "Facebook Official" on the damn thing and send an email out to my school thanking everyone for their support but in case they haven't already heard, we are done with our family building escapades.

I am just so nervous about the possible fallout, of being accused of "giving up on my dream," of being told I wasn't meant to be a parent, of facing questions again of why we aren't pursuing a different kind of adoption (especially foster). But this creeping trickle of "hey, just wanted to let you know if you haven't already heard..." is killing me slowly.

I think this week is bandaid-ripping time.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

30 comments:

  1. That feeling of needing to justify our decisions, when really we don't owe anyone an explanation, is so familiar to me! I'm good at it now, but it takes a while to get the hang of it.

    Good luck for the bandaid-ripping. Just don't feel that you need to justify yourself if you do send a group email! People can think what they think. And usually, we think that they think the worst about us, when they usually don't. Anyway, what others think doesn't change your truth, your reality. And you gave it everything, we know.

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    1. So, so hard not to justify! I think that's why I stopped telling people for a while, because I felt I couldn't do it without that justification. You are so right about what I fear people will say, versus what is actually said. I have so many horrible scenarios in my head, and imaginary arguments, and most people are very understanding. A few people say those gems that drive you mad, but they come from a good place. Thanks for the advice!

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  2. Sorry you have to worry about telling people on top of everything else. I wonder if a sentence something like ".....and we look forward to your support as we start this new phase in our lives" would signal "case closed, ask me about my other plans" and head off any unhelpful remarks. I hope you don't get any, of course, and I think you'll get less than you fear, but I can imagine it's a worry. Knowing school grapevines (mysterious and spookily efficient) your news may well not come as a surprise and that might be a good thing. Sending you good thoughts as you work through the sadness and awkwardness.

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    1. That's a good one! I went with something similar. Holy cow, I ended up sending it out last Thursday at the end of the day since I found out several of my friends had been approached by people saying, "Is it true that..." and that I do not like. The grapevine was strangely inefficient here, but I figured best to be the one to let it out (why people can't come ask me is beyond me, but maybe it's uncomfortable business so that's somewhat understandable). Thank you for the good thoughts!

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  3. That last paragraph speaks to why there's the feeling of needing to give a long explanation. Because in a moment where all you really need is "I'm so sorry. How can I help?", there's the very real and justified fear of getting judgement and platitudes.

    So maybe that should be part of your email and FB post. State that one of the things that has delayed you sharing this news is the judgement you don't want to face from others. That you and Bryce are deeply grieving this loss and facing judgement is just too much. In other words, put this back on your support system. It's their job to be supporting you and you are allowed to give them direction on how to do so and then tell them "that's really hurtful and I really don't need that comment/advice/thought right now."

    You're loved, Jess. Don't apologize for protecting yourself at this time.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, I still have chickened out on the whole facebook thing, not really sure how to manage that one. But I did do the school one, and I did pretty well I think with not explaining too much and making it clear there's no second-guessing this. I wish that I had used your "that's really hurtful and I really don't need that ___ right now" comment when the biggest zinger came from my grandma, who I told on the phone. :( "If God wants you to have a baby, He'll throw one at you." Uh, WTF is that? (I don't subscribe to that, so it was less about the belief itself than the fact that SHE believes it.). Argh. Thanks for the love, much appreciated.

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  4. I can't help but wonder...you've chosen to share news using clever photos to help get your message across. Is there a chance that this method would help here? Or, would that be too painful for you guys?

    I'm just so sorry. I know our stories differ but I get the constant asking. People are always trying to fix things for us, wrap them up in a tidy bow and it's just.not.possible. When our daughter first died, like within the first week, we had two people tell us that we were still young-ish, and that we could still have another child...totally ignoring the crucial fact that it had taken us 8 excruciating years to get Evelyn and that even if (a big IF) we could get pregnant again, it would never, ever replace our deceased child. And now, a mere 10 months later, it's, "Have you thought about adoption?" I just want to scream at them, "You know what? Thank you, wow, what an epiphany. In over 9 years of trying to build our family, adoption has NEVER crossed our minds!!" ...so much ignorance and assumption. I try to convince myself that people just want us to be happy and that they've grown accustomed to us sharing our family-building plans. Which should totally be none of anyone's business, and yet...

    Wishing you peace and comfort as you continue to navigate this newest chapter <3

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    1. Oh yes, I would LOVE to go the clever photo shoot direction here! Sadly I stutter at how to do it. I think our Christmas card will make it clear to those who aren't school or facebook people, and I feel badly for those who mistakenly thought we were pregnant with last year's. That's going to be super confusing. Yes, yes to the fixing rather than just listening. It's meant to be helpful, and it's just...not.

      So hard to deal with how other people deal with our grief, even though it's different it has some similarities for sure.

      Thanks so much for the love!

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  5. Two of the things I have always admired about you are your sense of humor and your amazing photo shoots. Is there anyway that you could combine those yet again to let people know that you are no longer planning on adopting? I'm picturing some kind of photo shoot between you and your husband that highlights the interest in activities that you were planning on pursuing now that this chapter is over. Thinking of you!

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    1. Thank you so much! I think our holiday card this year will probably be some kind of interesting shoot (and/or pictures from the California trip), but I have not the energy to do something clever at this point in time. I would love to do a shoot of my new office and me on the chaise with my cocktail, but I'm not feeling it quite yet. I love the idea though! Those shoots sure are fun to execute. Definitely planning one for the fall, bwah ha ha.

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  6. I am sorry and sending hugs as you figure out how and when to share the news that you and Bryce are no longer going to be pursuing adopting a child. Sharing difficult news can be tough because you sometime relive the pain and loss. It can be exhausting. However, you have already started the process of telling your closest family and friends. Lean on them for support.

    I like what Torthúil and Crusty said. Have a good lead in to signal the finality of the decision. Let them know how difficult and why it is hard to share this news.

    More hugs.

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    1. Thank you so much. It is definitely exhausting to share, but more exhausting to keep it buttoned up and anticipate the telling, or to do a slow leak. Argh. Yes to good lead ins and sharing why it's difficult... I will use these for when we do the facebook spilling of the beans. Thank you so much for the hugs!

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  7. I definitely think that it is band-aid ripping time. Explain as much of your thinking as you want to talk about, but don't tell people anything more than "we are done with our family-building journey" if that is all you want to say. You do NOT owe any of these people an explanation. I like Cristy's idea that somewhere in the email, tell them how they can help you during this difficult time. That way you can hopefully get better support than you would if you didn't address it.

    Lots and lots of hugs.

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    1. Thank you so much...one bandaid ripped (the school one), the scary facebook one still awaits. Ugh. Yes, yes to saying not as much as I usually vomit out. I just feel like in explaining too much, maybe I sound not so solid with the decision, which is not the case at all. It's that stinking nevernever give up thing that makes me want to make it clear that I gave all I could, in the face of comments I (largely) haven't gotten. Sigh. I think I will definitely add that support statement in when I do the facebook post. I didn't for school, but I also sent it with not a whole lot of time left to see people, so I ducked any kind of extended response for the most part. :) Thank you for the hugs!

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  8. oh gosh that sounds difficult. If anyone does say by the way that you weren't meant to be a parent, cut them out of your life immediately because that's just wrong and horrible! It's easy for other people to say things like "never give up" when they aren't the ones actually living through it. I think a general email without going into details is a good idea. You don't need to justify your reasons to anybody, keep reminding yourself of that. Hugs

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    1. OMG, yes. Yes yes yes yes. So true that the "never give up" folks typically aren't in your exact shoes. Well, tricky business with responses because the most hurtful came from a family member but it more based in their religious beliefs than anything else...but still. The insinuation that God didn't want me to be a parent is not so fun, even if that's not my belief system. Grr. Most people have been lovely though from the school bandaid ripping, so now I have to steel myself for facebook. Blargle. Thanks for the hugs!

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  9. Jess, I found your blog today. I spent Memorial Day dismantling my dreams too. We're planning the consolation trip. I'm reminding myself that, as you said, "We let go so that we could keep on climbing another day, on a different mountain. So that we could accept that some things are out of our control, and things don't always go the way you hope or plan. But there is always space for a new plan, a new adventure." And I believe it too. But that doesn't make it less sad, less hard, and it makes me want to find people who understand and can say what I feel. You do, and I'm so grateful for it. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful trip, that it's balm for the soul for you and your clearly wonderful husband. I'd like to buy you a coffee and punch in the nose the next librarian who waxes on about people "looking like a mom" on your behalf.

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    1. Oh, KB, I'm so sorry. I'm so glad you found this space at the time when you're suffering similar losses. I hope you have a great trip! It's bittersweet for sure, but lovely to be able to go celebrate a new life with new dreams on the heels of losing the one most wanted. Ha to punching the librarian...thankfully my friend is back in September from maternity leave so I won't have to suffer those dumbass comments any longer! :) A virtual coffee sounds amazing. Thanks for coming by! :)

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  10. This is not a fun place to be :-( All you really need to say is that you and your husband are not pursuing adoption anymore I think for that most part people would be happy with the answer and move on. Even if you feel like they deserve the whole story, know that they don't. And honestly, if it was me in that type of social setting, I wouldn't want the whole story or know what to say once it was told to me. What do you say to someone that is so clearly heartbroken? I would probably go with a less is more approach, don't bring it up and give the shortest answer possible when asked.

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    1. Great advice, thank you! It's been interesting to see how people react, and I think you're right, people who don't know me all that well pretty much said "I'm sorry" or nothing at all and that was it. What do you say to someone whose dreams were smooshed? I think I did pretty well with the less is more... for the most part. Now to rip off the facebook bandaid. This is not at all a fun place to be, but I think doing it and eliminating the dread I feel will go a long way to lightening the emotional load this summer. Thank you so much for the thoughts!

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  11. I know I wrote a response to you, but clearly it never made it through the interwebs!

    I know the feeling of needing to justify decisions, but it isn't necessary, and you don't have to put yourself through it. Close friends and family are different of course, but there's nothing wrong with just saying, "that journey is over" and leaving it at that, or simply adding something like "it took a lot out of us." Likewise, if you do send an email, don't feel the need to justify yourself in that either. If you're not comfortable, you don't have to say anything you don't want to sat, or to answer any questions you don't want to answer. It's not rude. It's your right.

    Also, in my experience, we tend to worry about all those worst-case scenario comments far more than we actually hear them. Our minds do torture us at times. Anticipation is almost always worse than the real thing.

    Good luck for the bandaid-ripping.

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    1. Ack! For whatever reason, sometimes your comments come through my email, and sometimes they go to "Awaiting Moderation" and if I don't check my design page then they languish a bit. I do check though, just the last couple weeks of school were psychotically busy and exhausting. I appreciate your thoughts so much!

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  12. I agree with the others above -- you don't owe anyone any explanations. If you want to go the email/FB route to people you want to get the message, that's one way to get it over with quickly -- but don't feel like you need to offer any more information to any more people than you're comfortable with. And then think of a choice response or two for those (well-meaning, I'm sure...) people who persist with questions or assvice.

    I'm not sure how to put this, but I want to say I admire you so much for continuing to write & let US know what you're going through. So many of us in this corner of the blogging community (me, Mali, Pamela, Lisa, Jody...) came to blogging after we stopped ttc-ing. That's not to say we were totally resolved or had all the answers when we started blogging, because we didn't, and blogging has helped me enormously to work through some of the lingering issues from those years. But I've seen so many infertility bloggers disappear over the years and I am sure that some of them abandoned their blogs (and left readers hanging) after things didn't turn out the way they had hoped. This is not a fun process to go through, and I don't blame anyone for wanting to do it privately and off-blog -- but I appreciate & thank you & anyone else who lets us in during this difficult time (and gives us the opportunity to support you -- as you have supported us!), and shows us the reality of what this stage of the journey is like -- both the grief over the life you thought you would have, and the dawning sense of other possibilities. I'm not expressing this very well... but you are much in my thoughts these days. (((hugs))) <3

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    1. Oh my god, "assvice" is the best thing I've heard in a long time! AMAZING, you are my hero. :) Yes. I feel like the email/FB route will hit as many people as possible at once, will hurt like hell for a day or two, and then it's done. No more slow trickle. The school one is done, now to steel myself for the bigger reveal. :(

      Thank you so much for your kind words on my posts right now. I had a couple weeks where I honestly just didn't know what to say, but that didn't last long. Ha ha... I told someone at school who said she appreciated me sharing our journey so openly that it was important for me to elucidate ALL of the journey, all the possibilities and heartbreaks and realities that it doesn't always end with a baby despite different paths. That maybe it will spur empathy in those quick to say "just adopt" or who think that IVF always works. I so appreciate your support and kind words, and of course all the love and hugs!

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  13. I'm sorry. I get it. We didn't pursue IVF a second time after having our daughter and I always feel the need to justify why when it comes up. And what it comes down to is that it was not safe for a whole host of very personal reasons - reasons I don't want to share but sometimes feel like I have to. It's so silly because it's really nobody's damn business. But the judgement is out there.
    I wish I had some great advice for how to tell people but I stumble around a lot too and often end up feeling sick after I've shared more than I'd like. Hang in there.

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    1. It's so true -- it isn't anybody's business, but yet somehow family building becomes a public affair so quickly. The judgment is crazy, and I'm with you -- I'll share stuff and then after be like, "What the hell? I don't even know that person all that well. Jeezum." I'm sorry you get the questions too... I feel like people are the worst when you have a child and they just assume a second is a given. Argh. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  14. You've got this. With your own ideas about owning your narrative and the insight you've gotten from Cristy and others here, you got this. When you do rip off the bandaid, my wish is that others simply abide with you. Maybe you can even invite them to.

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    1. Thank you so much! I have been mostly happy with the responses I've gotten. I don't know how to say "the following things are not helpful" without being somehow perceived as rude, but I think I might do it in the facebook post only because that one is scarier to me than school. Because there's a lot of "assvice" out there, as Loribeth coined... So in love with that new word! The school ripping is done, now it's just doing the last verbal vomit (without actually verbally vomiting). :) Thanks for the support!

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  15. I'm sorry you have to face this particular hurdle on top of everything. I hope that people are kind, supportive, willing to abide with you in the grief, and respect the new chapter of life you are beginning.

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    1. Thank you so much. For the most part, people do those things. It's the rare one or two that can ruin the day a bit, but hopefully most people go with kind and supportive and abiding. It's hard for people to see the death of a dream, I have to consider that...but not thinking on that hardship before my own. Argh. Thanks for the thoughts!

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