I just don't want to be pregnant: why I chose adoption over pregnancy

October 30 | Guest post by WHanna
Eyed through hands
Photo by Mads Boedker, used under Creative Commons license.
I remember being four years old and imagining how good it would feel to have a baby come out of my tummy. I assumed my belly button would open in some sort of orgasmic ecstasy (well, as much as a four-year-old can assume such a thing). It wasn't too long after that I realized that babies don't usually come straight out of tummies and that giving birth probably didn't feel too nice. That is when I decided that I would adopt.

Fast forward a few years. I joined a church, I married an amazing man whom I love intensely and I assumed that I would want to have all his babies when the time is right. We started talking about baby names, I watched beautiful home-birth videos and read profiles of doulas and midwives. But when I went off birth control we didn't start trying to conceive a baby — we stopped having sex.

I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of getting pregnant. I have always been sensitive and have suffered with anxiety and digestive disorders my entire life. I stand about 4'11" and only weigh about 89 lbs. The idea of pregnancy and all the aches, pains and nausea terrified me. The idea of my body trying to sustain another life seemed impossible. I kept telling myself that my body was capable, that I was supposed to have babies, that I was being immature, that I was letting my emotions get the better of me. I even went to hypnotherapy to try to help me "get over" it.

That is when I realized that if I needed to be hypnotized in order to want to get pregnant, pregnancy might not be for me. Perhaps my mind, body and spirit were trying to tell me something that I had known all along. I wanted to be someone's mommy, but I didn't necessarily want that someone to come from my body.

This was a difficult realization: I was supposed to want to birth a baby. I was supposed to see my husband holding an infant that we biologically created. My Facebook and Pinterest boards were full of pregnancy photos and baby announcements. People re-mortgage their houses in order to get pregnant; TV and movies tell stories of the pain of infertility. I was the only woman in the world who didn't want to experience the miracle of bringing a baby into the world. I was going against biology. I felt inhuman, guilty and wrong.

Then, this amazing thing happened: I told my husband that I had officially decided against pregnancy. I wanted to adopt. I told him that this wasn't a fear that I was going to "get over." I told him that I had looked into adopting from the foster care system, and I told him it was going to be hard. I waited for him to be sad, to be disappointed, and to cry — but he didn't do any of that. He held me close and told me that he was relieved. Although he too wanted to be a parent (even more than I did) he had the same fears and reservations that I had. Adoption felt right to him, too.

We have applied to adopt from our provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development. We are taking courses and have a social worker assigned to us. It is happening slowly but surely. The best part is that although each step is nerve-wracking and intense, we are happy and excited instead of fearful and agitated.

We always knew that families came in all shapes and sizes. We have queer friends and relatives and we know many different kinds of families. We weren't intolerant towards any of them but what we didn't realize is that we were being intolerant towards ourselves. On the outside, we were the picture of 'normal' — white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, working class, heterosexual. But appearances can be deceiving. So deceiving, they had fooled us. We were trying to fit our family into a box that it just wasn't meant to fit into.

We don't know what our family is going to look like in a couple of years but we trust that it will look just the way it is meant to. We are eager and nervous, just like any first time parents-to-be. Sometimes, I still feel like I'm doing something wrong, I don't know anyone else in our exact situation and that makes it a little lonely. But when that moment passes, I finally feel like I am normal, natural and true to myself.

  1. Thank you so much. This is very inspiring! I think it's awesome that you could be in tune with your body and your mind in this way, I really admire that.

    10 agree
  2. How wonderful! This post made my day. You are NOT the only heterosexual paired woman in the world who does NOT want to birth a child. I never wanted to be pregnant or birth a baby either. I figured that mean I wasn't supposed to be a mother, and I had made my peace with that, but then the miraculous happened. I was fortunate to fall in love with a man who had sole custody of his two young sons, and I acquired my family in that way. My own mother didn't want to be pregnant ever again after having me, and my brother was adopted, so it wasn't like I didn't know that you could become a mother in other ways, I just sort of wrote it off. So glad fate intervened for me. And so glad you've found a path that works for you and your mate as well. Good job, and good luck! I'm sure you're going to be awesome parents and have a great family! Oh, and get ready, it's a wild ride!!

    40 agree
  3. I'm adopted, and I feel the same way. Not that the two are related, but I have never, ever had the desire to be pregnant, and, as an adopted kid, let me tell you– I am infinitely grateful for the gift my adopted parents gave me. Thank you for this article.

    24 agree
  4. I think it's wonderful that you followed your heart and knew what was best for you-and shared your vision with your husband-and still became a mother. Everything works out in the end or else it's not the end.
    I have no idea how I'm going to get through my pregnancy; I'll admit that as of right now: I hate being pregnant. I'm sure it will be "worth it" but it 'aint no damn picnic. I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it again, either.

    12 agree
    • If you find yourself hating it too much, do some research on perinatal depression. It doesn't get nearly the media attention as post-partum but is just as real and totally treatable.

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    • I completely agree. I had the worst anxiety with my first while I was pregnant and it was awful. It wasn't until a week before I gave birth that I finally talked to my OB and she said, you didn't have to suffer this entire time! With my second one, I've been taking it slow and am aware of my feelings. It sure as heck is hard and being pregnant is not all roses like it is sometimes portrayed. I am such a miserable pregnant lady. I hope you can find the help you need. You're not alone Hillary!

      2 agree
  5. I am so happy to see this post. You are certainly not alone! My husband and I are in the same boat. Giving birth to my own children just never felt right. I am not sure when my idea of motherhood diverged from the "norm" but it did, similarly to the way yours had. Thank you for your post.

    17 agree
  6. Seeing this post means a lot to me — it's not often that media reflects my understanding that wanting to parent does not (even in a bio-female, presumably fertile, in a stable partnership) have to equal wanting to bear children. I too plan to adopt in a couple of years, and I've wanted this since my teenage years.

    17 agree
  7. Though I am not in the same situation, this post is inspiring to me. The fact that we as women are now at a point where we can really DECIDE what to do (or not to do!!) with our bodies is pretty incredible, as is the fact that you are so honest with yourself. I really hope the adoption process goes smoothly and you become parents in this way-the way you were meant to!

    1 agrees
  8. Thank you for this post! :e hugs:

    I've been feeling the same way. For whatever reason, the idea of another life inside of me (and the whole concept of births and hospitals) scares the heck out of me.

    Not to mention, I'm a severe chronic asthmatic and I have enough trouble breathing on my own with various medicines. I can't imagine trying to breathe for two, with my medications down to the bare min. (per my doctor's orders) and not have an asthma attack within 9 months.

    Luckily, my husband acted in the same way yours did. He fully supports me 100% and likes the idea of adoption. We're planning to adopt in a few years (once we get a house and our finances on track).

    5 agree
  9. Don't know if you read Mimi Smartypants, but she's pure awesome. She adopted her daughter and the reason she stated for adoption over pregnancy is that she didn't feel like giving up wine or beer for nine months. She may have had other reasons, but her stated reason was additional awesomeness.

    15 agree
  10. thanks for sharing; i feel like this is a well-hidden secret that you've uncovered nicely.

    i had never thought much about having kids when i was younger, but i realized pretty quickly that my base assumption in "oh, if i have kids, i'll _____" thoughts had *always* been that they would be adopted. i was kind of shocked when i started actually looking into all this kids stuff how big the cultural narrative is that adoption is something you do as a last resort. frankly, it had never occurred to me that i might choose to get pregnant (and when it does come up, like now, it gives me chills).

    9 agree
  11. I could easily be one of those annoying people who say, "Just wait! You'll change your mind one day!" because that's what happened to me–but a big fat UGH to people like that. I've been in that mindset of "I want to have kids, but I don't want to be pregnant." And I totally get it and respect it. Things just changed a lot for me, so my mind/feelings/heart changed too. I'm glad that you're so secure in the way you feel and that your husband is so supportive and on the same page! More power to making choices that work for you and your family!

    5 agree
  12. I wonder how many people out there have one child, and then feel this way, but don't say it? I had a baby 4 months ago and I am having nightmares regularly about the prospect of having another. Pregnancy is not for everyone and adoption is an amazing way to grow a family. We are strongly considering adoption for a possible expansion of our family. Adopting is hard in a different way than pregnancy is hard- and we should all be able to choose which challenges suit our families best. You are amazing and inspiring.

    1 agrees
    • Vivi, DO EEET! My mother did just that, and my brother and I are so close and such good friends. Just involve your current child in the process. Let them know how lucky they are to be getting a brother or sister in this way! Hop them up on the idea of being a brother or sister. And my mother still says if she had the choice to do it all over again, she'd much rather go the airport to get a baby than the hospital!

      4 agree
    • I have one child and feel this way! Hated pregnancy (hyperemesis and then recurrance of my old friend anxiety) and early on my husband and I decided that if I miscarried or something we would not try again and look into adoption. I think we will probably stick with one child as adoption in the UK is very different but if we do changed our minds adoption will be the only way we bring another child into the family. Thank you for this great post.

      2 agree
    • My brother's mother only had one for that reason. I had one, but hated every single moment of being pregnant. I kept waiting to fall in love with all of the changes my body was undergoing, but that love never happened. I just wanted to have control over my body and mind back. The idea of going through it again has given me anxiety attacks.

      5 agree
  13. I can see my sister doing this some day. she's happily married but thinks pregnancy is awful. she wont even touch my belly and turns pale when i say the baby is moving inside me. its just not her.

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    • I'm so glad someone else is similar to me…. I *know* pregnancy is beautiful and an amazing thing but it's always kinda grossed me out since I had to listen to my mother screaming in agony across multiple hallways giving birth to my sister…and some fascination in me WANTS to feel my friend's babies kick their bellies, but I have to stop myself from asking because when I am lucky enough to feel it, I can't help but pull *the face* and snap my hand away because I'm completely grossed out… Luckily for them (and our friendships), I have (so far) managed to refrain from saying "ewww gross!" because I know it's beautiful, and I can appreciate it's beautiful without actually liking it myself….if that makes sense? Point being…Your sister's not alone, but you are beautiful and you have an amazing miracle occurring every minute inside you.

      4 agree
  14. I got my pregnant to have my son. I had baby fever bad (like crying myself to sleep at night bad) and it was the fastest, cheapest way I could think of to have a baby.

    Even WANTING to get pregnant, and WANTING that baby, I hated every moment of pregnancy, and mine wasn't even that bad (other than the gestational diabetes). I want another child, but I do NOT want to be pregnant again. I am really interested in your journey as a fertile couple looking into adoption and hope that we see many follow up posts from you.

    You mentioned foster to adopt. Is that the route you're taking? How did you make your decision?

    4 agree
    • Our stories are very similar. On our first date I told my (now) husband how Ive always wanted to adopt and never wanted bio kids. He was totally cool with it and was something he always wanted to do.

      I sort of had a fear if pregnancy so 4 years into our marriage when I had insane baby fever- waking up crying, etc. I was VERY worried about telling him/ changing my life long plans. I told him, through tears, and he was okay with it. To make sure it wasn't just biology working her magic we took a year to educate ourselves on birth and birthing options. It further cemented my desire to get pregnant. Add to that our inability to adopt right now- money, for one thing, instability with where we'll end up now that husband is finished with grad school making fostering a difficult option… So we went for it the old fashioned way.

      So now here I am, pregnant and beyond excited to meet our baby in just about 12 weeks but I don't know if I'll ever do it again. It's kicked my ass! Constant worry over the baby, health, exhaustion… I am not a pregnancy goddess! I still look forward to one day being in the position where we can adopt.

      3 agree
      • Shannon, I hope that day comes for you too! And don't think you have to be in a perfect position to adopt. It's just like having a baby, if you wait until the time is perfect, you will never have one at all. You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent for a child who has nothing! Keep exploring your options, the right arrangement will come along, whether it's a private adoption, an international one, foster to adopt or any number of other things.

        3 agree
    • Anie,
      We are looking to adopt kids from the foster care system in our province. These are kids who are legally wards of the government because their birth parents were not able to care for them (due to mental health, drug, acohol or abuse issues). We intially looked into this area of adoption because it doesn't cost anything. The more we learned about the "waiting children", the more we knew we wanted to pursue this route. My blog talks about this kind of adoption and more of our reasons. It's not an easy option but it feels right to us.

      5 agree
  15. Thank you for writing this! I am in the same boat. I wrote a post called On Adoption and Selfishness about how I came to (mostly) accepting this about myself, and I'm always glad to hear stories that tell me I'm not alone. Especially in Christian circles, pregnancy is sometimes talked about as a fulfillment of a woman's purpose, and it can mean that anyone who has a fear or disgust of pregnancy keeps their mouth shut and feels alone. After we'd decided to adopt our kids, I found out I have a genetic condition that I would have a 50% chance of passing onto any biological children, and my doctor seemed relieved when I said we'd already decide to adopt. So for us it seems like exactly what we're meant to do. Good luck to you!

    5 agree
    • I haven't read your post yet but I look forward to it. I find that being a Christian has added an extra layer of difficulty in coming to terms with all of this. On the other hand, being able to pray about it sure has been a blessing!

  16. Thank you for having the courage to post something that I have felt in my own heart for a long time. For the longest time, I have felt like a "freak" because I've felt this way, it is nice to know that I am not alone.

    8 agree
  17. This. I love being a woman, I love my body, I have the potential to enjoy a sex life with a male partner, and I really want to be a mother someday, but I do not want to be pregnant. Being biologically related to my children isn't the least bit important to me. I hope I can build a family through adoption someday. Best of luck to you as you build yours!

    11 agree
  18. I'm about to cry. This is exactly how I feel, but my entire family and spouse wants me to "give pregnancy a try" before "giving up on it." I am so torn between wanting the "cheap" way out of having a child since everyone has told me that adoption = all the money that we don't have. But despite therapy and everything….I am still so fearful and scared of pregnancy. This post has made be at least feel more welcome and less alienated among my female kind. So many women keep telling me I will "get over it" when I become pregnant…just…no. I keeps haunting me no matter what.

    9 agree
    • The money issue is why I didn't adopt. I was terrified of pregnancy- I would wake up crying in the first trimester, terrified of what was growing in me, and horrified of how it had to eventually come out.
      I hated my pregnancy, hated what it did to my body- but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I kind of view it as something unpleasant I have to do to get a child..

      If it wasn't for the money, I think we'd adopt.

      "Oh, it's the best time of your life! I loved being pregnant!" is some sort of weird mantra I hear all the time. No, it's not. It's uncomfortable and you have to pee all the time. And it's okay to not love pregnancy- I'm not a worse mom because of it, I'm not some horrible person- I just didn't like it.

      4 agree
    • Georgia, it doesn't HAVE to be really expensive to adopt. There are lots of options out there. Investigate all of them! You'll find the way that works for you.

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    • My wife and I spent a very long time looking at various adoption options, and the first thing I will tell you is that the very very prevalent idea that it costs $10,000+ to adopt a baby ONLY applies to certain kinds of adoptions – mostly international adoptions and infant adoptions (as in, day old newborns) through private agencies, where you are matched with the mother pre-birth. Every city or county in the US has their own (domestic) adoption program, and in most areas the cost is minimal to non-existent, especially when you factor in the available tax credit. You can also choose to adopt domestically without fostering first (another thing I had never heard mentioned until I started looking at city services).

      Additionally, the idea that you can only adopt an infant through a private agency is NOT TRUE. Infants are regularly placed by government services, although it is certainly true that there are far more older children in the system. There are a lot of common myths that are constantly repeated, and I agree, it makes the idea of adopting seem inaccessible. But for anyone whose main concern is money, I so so so urge you to look into your local city/county services. I was so surprised by the variety of affordable options that seem to never get mentioned in the regular loop of adoption conversations.

      Best of luck in whatever you decide!

      13 agree
      • ^5 Jenna! Thanks for posting good information on alternatives available.

        1 agrees
      • How does one even start to look up these services? I've heard of other ways…just where do you even begin? Is there a webpage for this sort of stuff? Do I just walk into city hall and ask where the babies are at? How does one start on this journey where it doesn't cost your yearly salary to have a child? People have also told me that it is hard to get a "healthy" child this way. While I am obviously not against children with disabilities, I think every parent whether they adopt or have a biological child wants a healthy child.

        3 agree
        • I would suggest starting by googling the name of your city/county and "adopt". For NYC, for instance, the first hit is the adoption services page; the second is for the New York State Office of Family Services, which offers contact info for every individual county/city agency in the state. About a third have websites; I would assume if you're in a city/town whose agency doesn't have a website, you could call and/or go in in person and request an information packet. Then (at least in my region), every local service office has regular introductory group meetings for anyone curious or considering adopting. I did one in New York City, and they are very open and addressed all the common fears about adopting from a city agency, namely that all the babies are on crack or otherwise unhealthy/disabled. It's the most prevalent idea we, as a collective society, hold about kids given into the system instead of to a private agency, but it is really unfounded a huge amount of the time. The session really helped give me a balanced idea about what the process is like (the good and bad – timelines, homestudies, stastics, etc) rather than relying on the rumor circuit, which I found every bit as judgy and hard to navigate as the birthing/pregnancy circles.

          As to the likelihood of being placed with an infant (not to assume that is your preference, but the idea that it isn't possible is another thing that makes many people reject local agencies), my family lives in Fredericksburg, VA, outside of DC, and three different women in my Aunt's friend circle have adopted babies under the age of 3 weeks from the county child services office. None of them waited more than a year to be placed – and one was placed in less than two months. That obviously doesn't guarantee someone else the same experience, but I just wanted to share it because all I had heard before meeting these women was that it was "impossible", and hearing their stories was enough to make me rethink that idea. And then rethink a lot of other ideas I'd held without really having solid information behind them.

          2 agree
        • Not to totally hijack this thread (sorry OP!!), but I just thought of a final tip: in most counties, and at least in New York state (don't know about other states), you don't have to be a resident of the city/county/state to adopt through the city service agency. So it might be worth looking into surrounding areas as well – I have no idea whether it would be easier or harder to be placed in a large city vs a small town, but I'd bet there's a significant statistical difference (just not sure which way it would go.) Good luck in your search.

        • PLEASE videotape yourself if you walk into City Hall demanding Where the babies are at! I so want to see that. hehehehehe

          7 agree
      • Can some one right a "how to" guide on looking into the various options? My cousin mentioned having an adoption advisory to help them go over all the options and figure out which one was the best fit, but I don't even know how to find such a person. When it comes to adoption I am stuck at "Step 1: Contact ______ for more information." Who? How?

        2 agree
  19. This is a great post. Women can be really harsh to each other when we chose to not 'fall in line'.
    But question – if one knows this about themselves early on, shouldn't this be discussed prior to marriage?

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    • absolutely. and i think there's the thing: a lot of discussion is requisite to have a successful relationship- and beyond that- family life. your partner should be the person with whom you are comfortable sharing your dreams and fears, even if they are things one might be afraid of losing the other over. it seems tragic to me that a marriage should be quickly dismantled by a difference of opinion that was never brought up due to fear of the answer. bring up all the "dealbreakers" first, then move forward. with the right person, there should be nothing to be afraid of.

      6 agree
    • I know in my case, it was…. and it's something I still half think that I may get over… so even though my now hubby wants to go down the natural route, I've at least convinced him that if we can't, IVF is NOT an option for us and I won't budge on that at least, but we fell in love and got married for the differences we have as much as we did for the similarities we share. We have different views, I wonder what it would be like to be pregnant, and…. as OH has said in a different post, people change. Just because we met and fell in love when I wanted to adopt, didn't mean that I wasn't curious about going the natural route and that possibly my idea may change down the track. In our opinion, it wasn't enough of a reason to stop dating/not to propose/marry, because, who knows? We may not be able to have children anyway… With lots of things in a relationship, it was put in the "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" basket.

  20. This post is amazing. I feel exactly the same way, the mere idea of pregnancy is enough to make me feel sick. It is my biggest phobia, and I would rather have a broken leg than being pregnant. I still have not decided whether going for adoption or just stick with cats :) Every choice a woman wants to make should be celebrated in my opinion (of course as long as it does not harm others) and there should be no shame for us folks who do not want to get pregnant despite being able to. If I could get sterilized right now I would do it in a heartbeat.

    11 agree
  21. Thank you for bringing this issue to the (offbeat) mainstream. I have always known I didn't want to bear children. My husband knew after three months of dating, and I gave him six years to get used to it before I let him marry me. I'm now facing having to explain our decision to his family, and this post has convinced me that I will present it as a completely normal and exciting thing to do. Adoption is not a last resort for me; it is my first choice. I'm so glad to find out that I'm not the only one.

    10 agree
    • Em, don't spend a lot of time explaining your reasons. You have a right to decide what you want to do. And don't focus on the fact that you don't want to be pregnant. Focus on the fact that you DO want to be parents to a child who needs them! We look at pet rescue as a wonderful and noble thing, why can't we look at adoption through that exact same lens?

      11 agree
  22. I have to say, after going through the adoption process, I could not understand why any straight people who could just reproduce would ever choose it. Not that adoption isn't a lovely way to build a family – it's just expensive, a long process, invasive, and not a guarantee. I have seen families waiting more than five years, still hoping, and plenty more who have thrown in the towel. If you want an infant, there are more potential adoptive families than babies available (I'm only speaking domestically, since I don't know the international landscape). I guess if a straight, fertile couple adopted a baby that could have gone to a queer couple, infertile couple, or single person, I might previously have been a bit annoyed that you're stepping into our territory.

    Because of those feelings, I'm glad for this post. You don't know how others feel until you are exposed to their viewpoints. Thanks for sharing. I can't say all those feelings have completely gone away, but I'm trying to be open to where you (and others) are coming from.

    Best of luck.

    2 agree
    • Re: A child "going to" an infertile or LBGT couple instead – with all due respect, that really is not how it works in adoption. No one is "owed" a child, no matter what their fertility background is. It's a privilege to be a parent (*if* you want to be one!), not a "right."

      In some cases, the biological parents or agency may want a place a child with a family who already has children, which would unfortunately negate childless couples. (Or, vice-versa!). Or someone who "is, or is not," LBGT. Or who lives in a particular area. Or someone who doesn't have a particular kind of dangerous job. Or who is a stay-at-home parent. Or has worked with special needs before. Or is a certain age. Or married X number of years. Or none of the above!, or…

      Another flaw in the argument is that it's like saying "don't shop at Goodwill, because there are people more deserving than you who need to get those deals." (I'm not comparing children to clothes, but I hope you see what I mean). I'm just pointing out that it does not work that way in that it's not "zero sum."

      I'm truly sorry you had a difficult time in your adoption. However just like I cannot say "I don't see how your family could do xyz….", you can't really speak for other families, you know?

      11 agree
      • Obviously no one is owed a child, and since I'm pro-choice, I respect everyone's right to build their families however they see fit, as long as it's not harmful to anyone else. I'm not saying my comments come from a logical place – on the contrary, it's a very emotional issue for pretty much everyone involved. The straight fact, however, which I was trying to point out, is that there are more waiting adoptive parents than waiting adoptable infants. It's simple math that if a child "goes" to another person/couple, it doesn't go go a different waiting person/couple. Again, since I'm pro-choice, I respect everyone in the triad – including women placing their children for adoption, who I believe should have as many choices for potential parents as possible. It would be great if there were 1000 waiting parents for every child so that the mother would feel she had a choice and could make the best one. That doesn't make it any easier for the 999 who don't get chosen, even if they weren't the right choice.

        I guess where I lose the Goodwill example is that there are actually enough clothes. Simply put, there are deserving parents who will not adopt children. (Which is far, far better than deserving children who will not find families, which obviously happens all too often in the foster system, with special-needs children, etc.) I'm going on and on, but really my main point was that I couldn't imagine going through adoption if I were in a straight, fertile couple, but I am happy to read stories of those who want to do so. It expands what everyone else sees is possible.

        • You know, as "unfair" as those feelings are, I totally get them. I want to adopt, but I am specifically avoiding the idea of domestic infant adoption for all the reasons you said. Those children are so wanted. They will find a loving home. As someone who could have my own child, and am choosing not to, I want to find a child who needs me. Who probably wouldn't have a happy home if I didn't find her and take her in. Those domestic infants? They don't need me, but someone out there needs them.

          That said, the above poster is right. It's not just about finding a child a loving home, it can be about finding them the *right* loving home. So I'm not going to judge other potentially fertile couples that choose to go that route. I just know that I would feel less beneficent and more guilty if it were the path I chose. Like I got my happy family at someone else's expense.

        • I'm interested in this. I'm in the UK and as far as I know (and I'll admit not having looked into it too much) there are far more children here who need to be cared for than there are people to care for them. The kicker is of course that they are not infants (or not for long). There are plenty of toddlers and older children who badly need a home. So I would argue that some of those deserving people who won't get a child are limiting themselves by insisting that they could only love a child they know from birth.

          Is it different in the US? Are there more parents than children?

          (Mostly aimed at Cal but I clicked the wrong thing and now it won't let me comment on her post)

          3 agree
          • Robyn,

            A perfect little white baby is the ideal adoption candidate, and they DO usually get snapped up very quickly. Older children, children with disabilities and problems have a much harder time finding permanent placements.

            My mother and father adopted when I was small, and while filling out the paperwork (they involved me in the process so much, even though I was only 7 at the time) my mom checked "yes" to everything, blind, deaf, handicapped in any other way. Her philosophy was that she didn't get to choose when I was born, so why should she get to now? And in addition she said people who would only accept a perfect white girl infant didn't really DESERVE a child a at all. Now I'll admit that my mom is outspoken and opinionated and may be really wrong there… But she has a point. To be a good parent you have to be flexible, you have to be loving, you have to know stuff comes up and somehow, some way you will just handle it when it does. My mom felt that way straight out of the gate.

            Note: I know not everyone is as strong and capable as my mom. Not everyone could take in a handicapped child and make it work. We did, and that said, I think a lot more people COULD than think they could…but, how to convince them?

            We got my little brother from Viet Nam, he was 2 1/2 years old, had a cleft lip and cleft palate, and no language skills in any language. He's the very best of us in any way now, and we are so very lucky to have gotten him! Just thinking about him now brings tears to my eyes, I love him so much. Yeah, he looks different than us. Yeah, he had some surgeries to go through. Yeah, he will always have a speech impediment (which makes it hard to talk to him on the phone, and he lives 1100 miles away…WAH!!) But whatever, I wasn't born perfect either, ya know? And my parents loved me anyways.

            Wow, this turned out to be quite the rant. Sorry for that, but the answer to your question, is YES there are too many children and not enough homes, but if you are wanting specifically an "infant" well, there are not enough to go around. So sad really….

            6 agree
          • Okay, so a similar situation to here. Your mum is awesome by the way, and I completely agree with her. You can't guarantee a perfect child when you make one yourself, and you can't guarantee that the perfect child you may start off with will always be that way, and I suppose that part of being a parent must involve accepting that.

            My wee cousin was adopted as an infant after 3 months in hospital. He was almost 3 months premature, he had foetal alcohol syndrome and went through heroin withdrawal, and he has cerebral palsy. He is utterly fabulous. He is now six and although they said he would never walk he damn well does, and he is the happiest, naughtiest, funniest little kid ever. His parents have obviously had to put a lot of work in with him but he is very much part of our family and we wouldn't have him any other way. So while I realise that not everyone has the resources and ability to do that, I'm very much on the side of when you have kids, however you have them, you get what you get.

        • Hi there,
          I just wanted to clarify that my husband and I are looking at adopting from our provincial foster care system in Canada. We are hoping to adopt a child or sibling group between 2 years and 7 years. We have no preference as far as race and have taken a course on raising a "racialized" child in a "white" home. All kids in the provincial system are considered "special needs" because they have gone through multiple placements and have possible history of abuse etc. Sorry if I was unclear in the orignal post but we are not looking at a domestic infant adoption.

          2 agree
  23. THANK YOU for this!

    Someone put it very well further up above – it's a whole different kind of "difficult" to go through adoption, it just depends on what you feel comfortable handling. For me, I do feel comfortable and happy to "put ourselves through" adoption. But at this point, I'm not sure about "putting ourselves through" pregnancy, for a variety of personal reasons. But some people have the opposite feeling. You just have to do what's best for you! For me, I'm very excited about adopting. "Others juggle geese," as someone said on another OBM comment. ­čśë

    1 agrees
  24. Thank you for such a thoughtful piece on what has become such a sticky issue for plenty of women. Husband and I are in the same boat- hormonal imbalances and anxiety would make pregnancy exceeding difficult for me. I can't tell you how many people have told me "you'll get over it once you're pregnant". My mother in law gave me a lecture about how modern medicine has made pregnancy so much easier and that I shouldn't "give up on it". Never mind that there are kids who need parents in this world. Just because I'm biologically capable of producing children doesn't preclude me from loving a kid who already exists and needs love.

    7 agree
  25. oh my god one of the first things i said after giving birth was 'i'm never doing that again. never. listen to me. never' i wasn't just talking about the actual birth process either. i'm very lucky to have an amazing step daughter that has been a part of my life since she was a toddler and now that we have two, i think we're done. my partner definitely wants another but respects that i might not (the baby is only 6 months, i'm giving myself a while to decide for sure) and he's offered to get a vasectomy. we will see. being pregnant sucks though. the worry, the waddling, the being plus size and not feeling like i look like what you're 'supposed' to look like when pregnant, the fucking peeing. my childbirth was beautiful and went almost exactly as planned which i'm SUPER amazed by….but the idea of doing it again makes me shudder.

    1 agrees
  26. Before anyone chooses anything other than foster adoption, I highly suggest you search for birth mother blogs…the ones that aren't glowing brightly about their experiences. There is a lot of coercion, both overt and direct, in infant adoption.

    6 agree
  27. I actually really really want to be pregnant someday. Ever since I was little I've been completely fascinated by the whole concept and I really really want to experience it. But I also really want to adopt, so we'll probably do both, provided we're able to. My husband and I actually are both completely on the same page about it, ideally we'd adopt an older sibling group of 2 or 3 out of the foster care system and then have one biological child. But that's a bit down the road because we're still really young and getting ourselves established in our careers, etc. It's really awesome that you were able to articulate what you wanted and have a partner who was supportive and shares your vision for your family! I consider myself equally blessed. :)

    1 agrees
  28. I knew from a young age that I was not a kid person and never wanted to have kids. So when I was told I was infertile due to a hormone imbalance that's been with me since puberty, i was just fine with that. Still took every precaution against pregnancy, and when The Universe/Mother Nature/Fate decided to screw me over and I found myself pregnant, it was a nightmare. I found myself having to choose between two options, neither of which wholly seemed acceptable to me. I opted for the one that I felt would leave me (personally) with less psychological damage in the long run – have the kiddo.

    I won't say it was a mistake, since in the six months that she's been with me she's grown on me to the point where I can genuinely say that I love her, but it wasn't easy getting to that point. I struggle with bi-polar disorder and my medications were inaccessible to me during pregnancy. I live in a mental health desert, so finding viable alternatives to those medications was impossible. My anxiety flared up big time. I found myself having flashbacks to my rape many years ago thanks to the non-consensual touching and movement that was occurring from the inside out.

    Add to that feeling suicidal, puking from day one until three days after having her leave my body, not being able to sleep, ligaments torn out of position and an absolute inability to orgasm (yeah, it seems like small beans, but not getting off for 9 months really, seriously has a detrimental effect! Especially when you don't take the hint and stop trying.)

    I opted to get my tubes tied and IF (A BIG IF) my mister and I ever decide to expand our family, we will be adopting for the plain and simple fact that I am not cut out to be pregnant. It was too much for me.

    When I tell people these things, they look at me as if I've got lobsters growing from my head. I'm thankful that there are others out there who feel similarly – just one of the many reasons I'm a chronic lurker here at offbeat mama!

  29. Congratulations on your decision to become parents! It doesn't matter how you do it, so long as it's a process that really works for you.

  30. Just wanted to add I'm another that has always felt the same way. No desire to get pregnant. When the time is right for my husband and I, we will adopt.

    1 agrees
  31. As a teenager I was told I might not be able to have children – and if I do they might be physically deformed. I wasn't upset since I only wanted to adopt anyway, but lately (as I near 30) I've been worried about my dreams of adoption.

    I'm not married, I'm on disability, I'm a renter and I have health issues… I feel that adopting will be next to impossible for someone like me :(

    • I'm pretty sure being a renter isn't a problem as long as there is a room for the child. Thiry is young, that is when a lot of people choose adoption due to trying to get pregnant for so many years. There are plenty of independent adotions. If you health problems are life threatening most agencies will wait until you have overcome these medical difficulties. But chronic issues can be dealt with. I didn't adopt until I 39 my husband was even older. If you can physically raise a child and nurture and love that child, what you described doesn't need to be a problem. You can also adopt as a single woman, I know people a lot older than you who were single and were able to adopt.
      Don't give up hope there could be a child in the universe just waiting for you.

      1 agrees
  32. I am so happy to read this. I have wanted non-bio kids since I was a teenager, and have felt judged by so many people about it. I can't tell you how many times I've heard something like, "don't you feel guilty wasting your fertility when so many couples are desperate for their own children". It makes me feel bad, and if I controlled the universe, me and one of those women could trade. But really, my uterus has nothing to do with anyone else's. I was so worried I wouldn't find a man who would be ok with not having "natural" children, but have been blessed with an incredibly understanding and loving fiance. We've had some very emotional discussions on the topic (and to be honest, its been difficult to explain why I don't want to ever be pregnant), but now I think he sees that our different journey will still be full of joy, anticipation, and a lifetime of love. We can't wait to be parents, and biology has nothing to do with our capacity to fully love our children.

    3 agree
  33. So interesting to read this from the opposite perspective. I have never wanted to raise children. But I am so curious about pregnancy. (Ultimately – no children or pregnancies for me.

  34. This is wonderful! I am eight months pregnant at the moment, and I LOVE it! I feel glowy and lovely and so happy with it. That being said, I feel incredibly lucky, as I know many women do NOT love all the literal and emotional baggage that comes with gestating a human. I am always so proud when I hear women speak up who choose the birth, adoption or life story that feels best to THEM.

    1 agrees
  35. I was aprehensive about getting pregnant as well. As my husband I started to try I kept getting my ovulation time wrong. We went to a specialist and were looking into what may be wrong with me.
    I was worried about being able to deal with the change in my body. I had been pregnant in my twenties and became very sick and I couldn't imagine going through this again. At the time I was too young for a baby especially single motherhood and I terminated the pregnancy. I was devistated because I also wanted the baby. But I feel I made the right decision.
    When I became pregnant with my husband I was happy but completly freaked out. Six weeks in I started to throw up, all day and all night. I had hyperemisis and I lost ten pounds in one week. I had to be hospitalized two times. It got so bad I thought I would literally lose my mind. I just couldn't stand the pain and the idea of possibly nine months of this was too much to imagine.
    I decided to terminate the pregnancy and told my husband, "Let's adopt" He said, "That sounds good." But I also felt like a failure and guilty and I even thought maybe it was a sign that I wasn't mother material.

    I have yet to meet another adoptive mom who shares my story. I never went through fertility treatments and I don't think I would have endured that either.

    I have two beautiful children now and the road to them was filled with doors that shut. But I always kept my eye on another door opening. I still doubted my ability to be a good mother and worry I'm not good enough for my kids now. But I know in my heart these are my children and were meant to be mine.

    The love I feel for them is so awesome that it hurts sometimes. I know how you feel, like you are the only one who chose the route of adoption over pregnancy. I too have felt the same way. My doctors didn't want me to terminate but I knew in my heart I wasn't meant to be pregnant and that my children were out there waiting for me.

    1 agrees
    • Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. I am so thankful that I've never been pregnant and never had to make such a difficult decision as yours. Enjoy your love for the family that you were meant to have!

  36. Thank you to everyone who responded to this article. It has given me so much joy and peace to recieve your comments! I didn't realize that it had been published until now and I've just read what everyone had to say. Best wishes to all of you and your awesome families and families-to-be.
    I just wanted to clarify that my husband and I are planning on adopting older kids who are "crown wards" (meaning their legal gaurdian is the government). We are hoping to adopt in the 2-7 year age range. There are tons of kids out there who need homes and it does not cost a lot of money to adopt them (if any). I hope that those who have commented that adoption is too expensive will look into foster-adopt programs (I think that is what it is called in the USA). It might not be the right route for you but it might be worth cheking out!

    1 agrees
  37. You described exactly how I feel. I have never met anyone else that feels this same way, and I am struggling with these feelings because of these "obligations" we have to have our own children. That is how I feel at least. For some reason though, I just don't feel it either. I don't want to go through the process of pregnancy or childbirth. I feel guilty because of those feelings and I keep going back and forth with myself about "is this right?" or "will I regret it?". Yet just the thought truly scares me and causes me so much anxiety. It made me feel SO much better when I read your post and realized someone else feels this way and is comfortable with seeking adoption instead. I also have similar issues and find myself thinking 'I want children, but don't want to be pregnant' which had really confused me before. I wish there were more resources/blogs like this so I did not feel so alone either. THANK YOU!

    2 agree

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