When people think of pregnancy symptoms, they often associate them with the physical changes that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. It makes sense that with all the extra work involved in creating a new life, there would be physical symptoms to go along with all the accommodations a woman’s body is making for a whole new human being. But it’s not just women who are expecting children through giving birth who experience some of the physical discomforts associated with pregnancy. Even though those of us who are adopting are not creating life within our own bodies, many of us who are going through the adoption process have some similar experiences and discomforts. We recognize that the severity is not as intense as those who are physically pregnant, but to us these symptoms are still very real. With two days left until we travel for Elvie, I am definitely feeling some adopting mom symptoms.
I’ll start with the heartburn, because that has been present more often than not since we found out that Elvie would be our daughter. Sure, it’s due more to the stress of the quick process and worry about my daughter’s medical condition, but it is definitely present. During the most stressful of times, it has kept me from sleeping. Now it has been present long enough that if it’s not severe, I forget about it most of the time; it’s just the way I feel right now.
I have also been nauseated. This is likely related to the same stress that is causing the heartburn. More than once in the past three weeks, I had to get off the bus because I couldn’t handle the bumps and swaying, plying my poor tummy to calm down with sparkling water and fresh air. One night I woke with a jolt in the middle of the night and had to employ all my best anti-vomit deep breathing techniques to keep from losing my dinner before I could shuffle to the bathroom and lay my head on the cool tile.
There has also been some weight gain. Sure, it’s probably because of all the chocolate I’m stress eating, but it’s there. This is the most common physical change that adopting moms I know have experienced. Not only is my brain too full to figure out how to feed myself properly, but stress hormones coursing through my veins make me ravenous. I experienced this during Zinashi’s adoption as well, and it took me as long to take it off as it took to complete my adoption. This is good news this time, I suppose, as this adoption will likely take thirteen weeks total from start to finish.
Finally, there have been a lot of trips to the bathroom. I’ll admit it; it’s not overactive bladder, just the work of the coffee. But how else would I stay awake to get the rest of the paperwork done? I’ve gotten worse than my five-year-old daughter, having to stop to find a restroom as soon as we get off the streetcar at our destination, even if I’ve just gone at home.
I know that I have it physically easy compared to women who are pregnant, but I still wear my symptoms as part of my badge of honor. Because if I didn’t, what else would I have to show for this stage of the process? Probably just a bunch of paper cuts. I’ll take whatever I’ve got and be so grateful for all of the experiences that lead us to our next baby. Everything I’ve done, from chasing paper to popping antacids like they’re candy, is worth it in the end, just like it is for every mom.
Photo credit: MorgueFile