I wanted to post something special today and thought I'd do a "gabtalk" interview in reverse.
What would someone who has never met ME want to know? What could possibly be interesting about a suburban housewife? And, would anyone else even care?
Celia graciously agreed to play the Barbara Walters part and came up with some great questions (I knew she would!) and I had fun posting my answers.
Here are my blogiversary thoughts...
1. You are an inspirational writer. How do you cope with the pressure to continue to write well? Do you ever post something and think, oh no, that was terrible and then people like it? Have you ever wanted to pursue writing as a career?
Who me? I have always loved to write--journals, letters, talks for church, research papers, funny poems--but never considered myself a writer at all. I am mostly a reader. Blogging has been a fun new creative outlet for me and the first time I've written for an audience. I love getting feedback and never feel pressure because I choose the subject, the deadline and the format. I just try to write something I'd enjoy reading myself.
A few years ago, when I was struggling terrifically with my life, I really wished for a "You've-Just-Had-Twins-And-Your-Oldest-Child-Is-Autistic-And-Your-Husband-Always-Travels-And-Your-Family-Is-A-Million-Miles-Away Handbook." Maybe that is the book I'll write someday! Think it'll sell?
2. What are you most proud of as a mother? What do you wish you did better?
I am just proud to be a mother. I was told at age 25 that I would never have children. Talk about a death sentence... I wanted to curl up and die. I had to climb out of that hole and build my family my own way. I fought and prayed and struggled for each of my children. I still do.
That said, there are SO many many ways I wish I were better. I lose patience too often. I worry that I spoil them. Or that I yell too much. I feel guilt whenever they eat Happy Meals or watch cartoons. I worry that I'm missing teaching moments, that I'm stressing too much about little details that don't matter, that I'm stifling their creativity. And don't even get me started on their dental health...
3. How do you think experiencing infertility makes you different as a mom? Do you keep in touch with the birth mothers of Emily and Jake? Is it weird? When you wanted more children after them, why didn't you adopt again? Do you believe that Emily and Jake, and also the twins, were sent to you specifically or did you just get lucky? What advice do you have for those who are struggling with infertility?
I think going through infertility helps you recognize each child is a gift, not a given. Also, I am not in such a rush to have my children grow up. Infertility gave me a long-term life perspective, which (sometimes) helps me be more patient. An added bonus-- most friends my age have kids that are older...so I learn from them and their experiences.
We do send yearly letters and photos to our birthmoms through the adoption agency and hear from them semi-regularly and it's not weird. I enjoy correspoding with these women. I met both of them at our adoption placements and can honestly say that I love them and pray for their happiness. They have given me the greatest of gifts and I hope to meet them again when my kids are grown. Hopefully, we'll be able to congratulate each other on a job well done!
We had great experience with our adoptions and had submitted paperwork for a third baby. However, we had been warned that once a couple has two children and are over 30, they are less likely to be selected. A good friend at my gym recommended her fertillity clinic and (although I swore I'd NEVER do it again) we decided to give IVF one last shot....pun intended.
We kept it a big secret--only told a very few people we were even trying. None of our family knew. When we got the positive result, we were blown away. And we had planned trips home, so we got to surprise our families in person! Then, a few weeks later we found saw TWO heartbeats! Complete shock. (Really, the subtitle of my blog should be "Be Careful What You Pray For"... because my life is all about miracles.)
The whole time I was pregnant I felt like a complete fraud. I had wanted for so long to be with child. I could not believe I had not just one, but TWO babies in there. The whole experience was surreal (unfortunately, the nausea and vomiting were not)!
I wondered if I would love biological children more than my adopted kids. But anyone who has experienced this will tell you there is no quantifying when it comes to motherlove. I do have a different love for Jake than I do for Emily and a unique love for Sam and still another tailor-made love just for Luke. Each of my children holds a different place in my heart. I suspect this is true for all moms, shared DNA or not.
My four little miracles
4. What is it like to live far from your mom? Do you think you'll ever return to Utah? Do you have real live girlfriends, and are they LDS? Does it make a difference?
I have lots of advice for women struggling with infertility--don't blame yourself, take time to grieve, switch doctors if you don't like yours, stay connected with friends and family, look outside yourself for opportunities to serve and be with others, pray a lot. Mainly, listen to that inner voice...you will know if it is the right time to pursue aggressive treatment, to look into adoption or to just take a break. Hang in there. It will be ok.
Precious time with my mom and sisters
When I moved away ten years ago, I thought we were just having a little adventure. I never expected that we would actually put down roots and settle on the East Coast. I love it here, but I do miss my family terribly. That is the whole reason I started blogging, to keep in touch and share day-to-day moments with loved ones far away. I don't know if we'll ever live out West again, but technology, thankfully, helps me feel closer to them.
I couldn't have survived without my real life friends--my church friends, gym buddies, moms with special needs kids, playgroup pals, bookclub members and sweet neighbors. They have become my family in a very real sense. They have shared recipes, baby clothes, furniture, babysitting, books, secrets, advice, hugs and tears. I wish that some of them would start blogging so we could post embarassing photos of one another, but alas...