He certainly did, the problem I’ve got is, how to get him to unlatch, to have the belief I’m not going anywhere. I don’t bother with loo roll holders these days there’s always a little hand right there bang on que ready to pass me a square or two.
You mean; Did he latch?
I don’t know
I wasn’t there
The same way I couldn’t be there when he took his first breath, first peak at the world, first steps, words, the first time he cried, the first time he laughed.
I missed it all.
Not through choice, believe me If I’d had one in any of this I would have been there. I would have had a security team around that little boy tighter then the Kardashians entire entourage.
He was 21 months when I first laid eyes on him.
Two and a half by the time he would look into my eyes and start to believe I really loved him.
If I could have given birth
To have breast fed
I would be taking away his history
He wouldn’t be him
I want him.
I don’t know if he latched.
Does it matter?
I’m a mother through adoption.
No, scrap that.
I’m a mother.
Im often asked how I dealt or how to deal with birthing or feeding conversations that may arise usually during the joys that are toddler groups * i’m saying it like that to try and sound cool, I bloody LOVE toddler groups you get to sing at the top of your lungs, no one thinks its weird and you’re guaranteed a free ginger nut with a side of cheese square.
Now, I would say you have multipul options, it’s worth saying there is no right or wrong way to handle this
Option one– Side scuttle crab. You grab you bag and you child, place on under each arm bend into some sort of a plie attempt and side scuttle out of the nearest fire exit.
Option two- You attempt to kindly educate the group into understanding that not everyone in society gives birth to their children. This doesn’t mean you have to spell out adoption, after all there are many routes to parenthood. Ive learnt form experience most people are only too glad for a bit of free education these days. You do need to be prepared for a slight amount of awkward silence, followed by apologies. This is Britain, it’s what we do. To which you can reply ” absolutely no need to apologise, it’s just an important topic of conversation and its great to be having it today” Offer them some of your cheese smeered ginger nut and all will be well.
Option three- You might feel comfortable enough with your personal situation to explain that your child is adopted. No need to go into any detail, you might just not fancy the side scuttle crab today and instead decide to enlightened others on the route to parenthood that is adoption.
Now, in my early parenting days I was 99.9% of the time a side scuttle crab, I got so bloody good at it, the Royal Ballet got wind of my Plie ability, started offering me all kinds of contracts. I naturally had to decline ‘YO! Convent Garden, marble runs don’t build themselves you know, show some respect.’
If I could go back and have my time again I would tell her this:
You’re a Mother
Not an adoptive Mother
You deserve that cheesy ginger-nut just as much as the rest of them. You DO NOT need to justify your position but do people really understand? Have they lived in a society whereby the act of motherhood is portrayed only through birth?
“If we don’t talk, we can’t educate, if we can’t educate how can we expect people to understand.” NFM
‘Blog publication for @mokee a major Nursery retailer that wanted to listen and ensure they were representing all families. NFM collaborated with the brand to create a new arrival toddler list also’
LOVE MAKES A FAMILY. Here is the story to prove. @Notafictionalmum says: I didn’t have ‘the bump’. I’m a mum. She adopted her son, when he was a toddler. It’s kind of a birth story, too. There are all kinds of families and they are one of the best. Read her her story:
People talk about the nesting period don’t they? According to google (everyone knows a fact isn’t legit unless it’s sourced from google) nesting starts towards the end of the third trimester it also states that nesting instinct can be just as powerful in humans as it is for our animal friends.
Now I wasn’t de-cluttering cupboards or excessively cleaning my house, I’d had 6 months worth of social worker visits so that side of things had well and truly been taken care of. I didn’t need a shopping checklist, I was officially the worlds most experienced window shopper, many a lunch break had been spent peering into the windows of baby and toddler shop windows. Wondering when it would be my turn, when was i going to get the chance to actually step inside and burn some of my hard earned cash.
My nesting period lasted for five years.
I was ready for my baby to arrive
For five years.
I was ready when we were trying naturally, you know the good old fashioned fun way without the sex schedules and ovulation testing kits. I was ready when my stomach was bearing a striking resemblance to a pin cushion, on the days of egg collections, transfers, the day I miscarried, throughout the adoption process, approval panel and the matching process. I. WAS. READY.
Not all mothers to be fit the stereotypical expectation.
I didn’t have the three trimesters
I didn’t experience any of that, I was still expecting, I was nesting in my own way.
There was a phone call, I was at work on a team bonding camp. Ironic really, there I was a member of the senior management team checking my phone every two seconds during ‘teamwork’ exercises. *If anyone questioned me I was going to throw out a bag of branded company pencils to the first person who could guess my passcode.
“They think you’re the perfect match, they’ve agreed to the link”
For all you non-adopters out there the ‘they‘ I refer to are the team of social workers. The link is the potential match after expressing an interest in a child’s profile before a possible matched is agreed after a home visit.
I’d already seen pictures of my son, his hair, eyes his absolutely L’oreal commercial worthy head of curls. I’d read about how he loves cheese, roast dinners, to dance and have his photo taken *I knew we would be compatible my husband a cheese connoisseur me, an absolute show off.
This was it, we were about to become parents.I guess to try and draw a comparative this was our positive test date. Except he was to come home two weeks after this call, I’m frantically searching for one . . . Nope there isn’t a comparative for that. The nursery was ready, freshly painted walls, safari themed toys and crisp, new bedding. The garden had been baby proofed, kitchen cupboards even Houdini himself wouldn’t find his way into, the dog had even been treated to his yearly groom.
There was one feather missing though.
One feather that I hadn’t been quite able to place into the nest.
The once where I believed he would actually make it home.
The one that proved the battle had come to an end.
The feather that symbolised hope.
I couldn’t quite bring myself to really believe this was going to happen and not fail like every other time.
Then I saw him, his chubby little calf resting on the hip of his foster carer.
I saw him
I had no choice but to place that feather in our nest.
If you want to more about @Notafictionalmum story follow her on Instagram: HERE!
It’s one of those accounts EVERYONE should follow.
You adopt, you don that superhero cape, swoop right on in rescue said child then skip off into the sunset sharing a packet of Werther’s Originals.
You’ve done this wonderful thing right? The only thing left to do now is liase with your local council to agree where your statue would be best situated.
So, if this is the case (Which it’s not, it’s actually incredibly self indulgent, you get the privilege of becoming a parent to an absolute gem of a kid who enriches your previously unfulfilled life every, single, day) But society just love a fairy tale don’t they and this seems to be a plot some are determined to hang onto. So, for the purpose of this blog we will play along.
Statue has now been situated, entire town thinks the sun shines out of your arse #Winning. You should in theory be feeling pretty bloody wonderful, you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve ‘saved’ this child. (Again not true, remember we’re playing along here consider this your acting debut)
If the Plot line is true, why then am I constantly questioning if my parental decisions are adding to his early life trauma? Why do I feel overwhelming pangs of guilt? I’m the superhero I bet Wonder Woman never questioned her decisions.
I say “parental decisions,” I’m talking about trying to get him to brush his teeth so he doesn’t end up looking like a sock puppet or deny him that extra cupcake because I don’t want him to develop diabetes and loose a foot *I catastrophize okay, always have.Then there’s the act of getting him to wear a helmet when he’s goes speeding down the road shouting “JERONIMO!!!!”
I don’t feel as though my requests are unreasonable, until he reacts. Not all the time but there are times when he really believes I’m doing this because I don’t love him, to betray him, because I’m building him up somehow for the let-down *The I’m about to walk out of his life let-down. . . .Which thinking about it, Is there a bigger let-down?
Then there’s the magical act of parenting a child with early attachment trauma during a global pandemic.
We’re going to Gymboree this week
We’re not going to Gymboree this week
You can see your Grumps
You can’t see your Grumps
There I go again, taking things away, stepping right on over his trust threshold, letting him down.
The guilt doesn’t stop there though you’re honour. Granted i’m swimming amongst a sea of parents battling toddler meltdowns during this covid Shit show. However, are these parents questioning if they are adding to the trauma? Are they physiologically harming their child? Are they part of the problem? *The problem being adults stealing his trust.
I’d like to hope they’re not.
The moral of the blog; I’m a mere mortal, no superhero act involved here, adoptive parents DO NOT rescue children sorry If I’m crushing egos here. We do not skip off into the sunset, we don’t even like Werther’s originals. The act of ‘adoption’ does not erase all that was before, instead we accept, we adapt our parenting style and very slowly on some days, we overcome.
I your honour, *Pssst Your honour is me, this is an affirmation to myself to get me through week 3 of lockdown.
I plead NOT guilty.
I’m NOT adding to the trauma.
I’m NOT part of trauma.
Trying to keep my son safe, his teeth in tact and hold on to both feet does not in any way mean I’m adding to the stress and anxieties he’s endured before me. How I approach it may need some re-shaping, ultimately I am not guilty.
He’s is a superhero of the non- Marvel variety and I parent plus. It’s not a plot most are familiar with but it’s ours and it’s complexly beautiful.
It’s new years eve, i’ve just re-surfaced from under my duvet at 2.30 in the afternoon having left three empty packets of Cadbury snowballs behind me. * Another Aldi special buy.
‘What a strange activity for one to partake in on a New Years eve’ some may wonder. Come this way, allow me to enlighten you;
We went on a walk
That’s not even the shit part.
We went on a walk, I wanted to get out in the frost as a family, take some cute pics do that whole ” We be walking outta 2020 like …..” Nemo, NFD and I were all going to hold hands walking through the woods when out of nowhere a tripod and iphone was going to spring out and document the moment in all its naturalness.
Have you ever tried to reason with a three year old?
WAIT . I . HAVEN’T . FINISHED.
Have you ever tried to reason with a three year old suffering with early attachment trauma which has consequently resulted in anxiety and the overpowering need to assert control?
Not quite so many hands going up now is there.
Nemo didn’t want to walk, he wanted to be carried, when he was carried he wanted to sit down, when he sat he wanted the seat all to himself, Mummy and Daddy had to stand, they also weren’t allowed to talk or look at him. * That’s the shame factor kicking in right there, just typical of an adopted child. How dare he feel embarrassed about displaying such complex behaviours and having absolutely no understanding of what they even mean.
He wanted to paddle in his wellies, yes its December, yea I know it’s a stupid idea given the Arctic temperatures *Not Arctic enough actually, a snow day could have fixed this! We could have thrown snowballs at each-other, to the outside world we would have have passed off as that chocolate box family with our devilishly good looks and matching Hunter Wellies. When really me and NFD would have been trying to knock one another out. * That’s a joke . . .just incase any of our old social workers are having a gander.
Back to the Wellies; You’ve guessed it, his feet got wet! He didn’t want to wear his socks or wellies any longer. I offer him my boot liners, he kicks them off. He didn’t want ANYTHING on his feet, including my hands. Now THIS is the cryptic part; He also didn’t want his feet to be cold. . . . *£50,0000 to the first person who’s able to point out what practical resolution I missed here?
Why am I telling you this?
Well for a start it’s NYE have you ever tried trying to get hold of someone on NYE? Phone lines are rammed, there’s a very good chance of a crossed line resulting in an accidental order of a new crockery set from Japan. I’ve had no option then to dust off the old keys and let it all out. It’s also free, we all know free therapy has the highest success rates *Absolutely NOT true.
Actually sorry, I’ve just decided i’m telling myself this;
My new years resolution?
To keep flying the flag for my family, for my Son and his needs, with no comparison to how others might be flying theirs.
There’s far too much pressure this time of year to capture that perfect photo in the perfect moment along with some sodding magnificent caption.
Picture this; A Mum who’s just finished eating three bags of snot covered chocolate balls sat next to a Dad who’ s recently discovered his first grey hair. The head of hair itself is now also on the move. In between them both sits a beautiful little boy clutching onto his feelings cards trying to make sense of it all.
BBC Radio 4 The Digital Human March 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000tml8 * For the purposes of this interview given the nature of the topic Radio 4 gave each interviewee a fictional name to that of their social media pages or real identity. For the purposes of this interview NFM is referred to as Claire.
“Adopting a child is never a second choice, it’s just a choice. It doesn’t matter in what order you have this epiphany, I just hope you have it because it really is beautiful. “
So when did I have mine? What was my; ‘moment of sudden and great revelation or realization’? I can’t pinpoint it entirely to one specific moment, but the day we were politely escorted into that blindingly bright, white room (you know the one that feels like you’ve stepped onto a commercial set while being asked what date your last period was) to listen to the intricate details of what our infertility treatment would involve comes to mind.
When the price list pamphlet was delicately but most definitely slid across the table along with the words “womb scrape, general anaesthetic, and egg collection,” that was the start of my epiphany.
In my heart of hearts, I thought about adoption right there and then. I knew how potentially dangerous fertility treatments could be for my state of mind and my marriage. I knew once we pulled that trigger, once we stepped onto the fertility merry-go-round we would struggle to get off of it. Those are the type of people we are. If we want something we will go hammer and nail until we get it.
We stepped right on. Destination, five years of heartbreak.
We didn’t want to feel like we didn’t fight. We stepped right on because, if we hadn’t, when I looked at my husband I would naturally wonder how our child might look. Would they have my hair, his eyes? Or his teeth with my jaw. These days I’m thankful this didn’t work out, not just because I never would have met my beautiful so, but If you’ve seen my husband’s walrus teeth and my ant jaw, you’d understand.
Five years, two womb scrapes, a miscarriage, £25,000, and half a head of hair late, and I was ready to stop.
My final epiphany moment; the morning we arrived at the fertility clinic for our embryo transfer, only to be told that we had just one low-grade blastocyst to transfer (from a potential nine). My husband was sat on a chair beside my bed with his shades on (big-time gangster). Except, big-time gangsters don’t utilize their shades to disguise the tears they have streaming down their faces, do they? I couldn’t move. I couldn’t find the strength to move across the bed to even reach my hand out to him. I knew it was over; we both knew. Our previous high-grade blastocysts had failed, so we didn’t pin much hope on this little fella.
I sat on the bed, lay back, watched the 5-day old blastocyst on the screen, and then my heart, soul, and mind broke. I sobbed; I was inconsolable. Our doctor turned to my husband and said, “I think we should do this another day.”
“I can’t do any more days, I need this to be over.” As they transferred our blastocyst we both cried because we knew; we just knew. Someone who hasn’t lived this life would probably say ‘how pessimistic’ or ” it’s not over until it’s over.” But then again, it’s likely they’re from the “have you tried relaxing and then doing a headstand while eating pineapple?” mob.
THE. WORST. KIND. OF. MOB.
Let’s just get one thing straight. It’s not a crime to want a biological child. To lay everything on the line. It should be the most natural thing in the world, right? You go out, have a couple of glasses of wine, stagger home, and bobs your uncle.
For some of us, there’s a strict no vino policy, no staggering home, and no Bobs. After taking a very long time to grieve for the life I thought I would have, I was ready to pick up the phone and start the adoption process. It was the most rewarding phone call I’ve ever made.
It doesn’t matter how you find yourself at the door to adoption. Having tried naturally, through fertility treatment, having a biological child first, or simply because you always knew you would. None of it matters; it certainly doesn’t make it a second choice.
Nemo, I had to fight to get to you and you to me.
It was the greatest battle I ever won.
@notafictionalmum is a mother, wife, adoption, and infertility blogger, inclusive shop owner, and self-confessed perfectionist. Her journey to parenthood was, ironically, anything less than perfect. She writes to stand with all of the warriors still fighting their battles, to raise awareness, and to offer honest insight for those who don’t have the strength to do this themselves right now. She stands with every woman who has chosen to get up and face another day while silently fighting to become a mother.
you’re such a brilliant, special boy in each and every way. ”
I’ve waited years for these moments. We’re still going to have them. I’m just leaving the shaming aspect at the North pole. Eddie the elf has been sent to remind Nemo every day in December of all his wonderful ways.
Aint no spying, sneaky little bribing elves welcome in this house.
After just three months of campaigning, on world adoption day 2020 I was able to wake up knowing that finding an adoption card on a mainstream platform was now an option.
In October 2020 we were approached by a desperate mum who, after searching nationwide retailers couldn’t find a card to symbolise her adoption journey, she came to thortful with boxes of cards to sell that had been rejected by three different high street card retailers. We listened and we’re delighted to say that just in time for World Adoption Day she has become one of our community of creators and we are selling her heartfelt cards on thortful, this is her story:
Nothing can prepare you for ‘the hug.’ If you’ve dealt with the pain of infertility you will be well acquainted with ‘the hug.’ It’s the one you turn and give to your significant other when you realise it’s over. You had a few throws of the dice, your numbers didn’t come in, it’s time to step off the merry-go-round of infertility and grieve for the life you’d imagined you would have.
We arrived at the door to adoption through our chosen charity Barnardo’s UK in September 2018, completed all the paperwork, medicals, consumed 1,56098 cups of tea with our social workers, discussed in great detail our life history, were approved and after what felt like an eternity, matched with our beautiful little boy *Nemo in July 2020.
After five years, £25,000, two womb scrapes, a miscarriage, and the completion of the arduous adoption process I wanted to step out onto the high street and treat myself to a spot of shopping. This was it! I could actually step inside a shop; I could go beyond the window and not feel like I didn’t belong. I stepped into a department store to look at the prams, the shop assistant was great, lovely in fact. Had that quintessential British retail smile about her asked me; “When is the mother due? “
I dusted myself off; I‘ll come back to that one. Start small, get my little boy a card. Something for him to keep, look back on, a simple message of love. A keepsake to welcome him into his new home. That’s what a greeting card is all about right? A small, accessible token of love?
On an entirely selfish level, I wanted my moment, my Beyonce at the VMA’s moment, (you know the one, dropped the Mic, announced to the world she was going to become a mother)