I was part of a recent dialogue on facebook among very close friends, some of whom are adoptive mothers. As women many were sharing the pain and limitations of being a mother without much community support. My friends who were adoptive mothers shared their experience / pain of a 'different kind of pregnancy' which was not only being not celebrated, but was also being undertaken with a lot of struggle with family members who were neither supportive nor understanding. Triggered by this dialogue, one of the mothers, Anita, posted on her blog recalling her story. This took me down my memory lane thinking about the time they adopted and brought home their adorable second daughter, Yukti.
It was an emotional time for Anita and Satish, as they were doing this amidst other big things going on in their lives; like taking care of Anita's unwell mother, herself going through a long-term treatment for a chronic ailment, preparing for their move to their land, and being available to the larger community around her and her family. I remembered a courageous mail that Anita sent to all of us in the community addressing us as family. Courageous, because it takes a lot of strength, conscious intent to heal, and vulnerability to reach out in the way that she did.
Dear family in chennai:
We will soon be bringing our second child home. And I feel like celebrating and making these few days special, a celebration in anticipation of her arrival, in preparation of her arrival, in preparation of myself to be a mother all over again. Although I have no physical signs of the approaching delivery (:-)), I feel emotionally and psychologically very different - a sense of waiting, anticipation, excitement, anxiety, vulnerability, and yet a lot of strength.
So here is an invitation and a request - to celebrate these few days with me and help me celebrate it too - drop by with/for food, eat together, cook together, chat and connect over a cup of herbal tea, a walk to the beach, offer to take care of nidhi for a while, etc etc. I am also going to invite myself over or call you if I feel like. So indulge me a little bit if I do that. :)
Me - An expectant mother awaiting the arrival of my second child.
Reading this mail, I was moved to tears! Until then, I had never thought of reaching out sharing my needs for care and celebration in this explicit way. There was always a feeling of shame associated with it. Shame, since I used to think of 'asking' as a sign of weakness. Accompanied by a feeling of fear "What if no one reaches out to me?" This moving mail from Anita totally shifted that for me.
We all planned a surprise baby-showers party for the expectant parents and Nidhi in celebration of the child to come into their (and our) lives. It was a celebration which brought us all closer together.
Thank you Anita for showing us how beautifully one can ask. An act of great vulnerability, which, like Brene Brown says "is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity."
Ending with a link to Brene Brown's powerful Ted-talk on Vulnerability.