I’ve been thinking back on my Forever Family topics, things that have moved me since I began writing the series, and what sticks with me is this…man, I hope these don’t come off as whiny finger pointing rants.

A few posts have talked about me and my own issues but the vast majority have looked at other people’s perceptions, my kids’ emotions, and how adoption affects (or doesn’t affect) our everyday lives.  All worthwhile topics, true, but in the pursuit of balance let’s turn that focus inward.

Pregnant women scare me.

I suppose this is progress since stumbling upon poor, unsuspecting pregnant women used to set off sobbing jags or unexplained rage, but still…

Maybe “scared” isn’t precisely the word, either.  Perhaps awkward or lost or edgy – or some combination thereof – is more on point.  No matter what you call it, though, I feel like the second I get near someone who’s preggers I get all weird.

I’d like to take a moment to say an adorable new sweet pea has joined our family (our extended family) and we are beyond excited.  A singing it from the mountaintop sort of excited.  So if we’ve had any bizarre moments over the last nine months, Ess, maybe this will help explain it.

Once I’d made my peace with adoption there was an adjustment period (see sobbing and rage above), but then I figured everything would be copacetic.  Except not so much.

Suddenly, when I’d find myself in the presence of a pregnant woman or among ladies who’d given birth, it felt like I’d teleported back to seventh grade.  My hair was all wrong, my clothes felt weird, and I never went to the cool parties.  It was like having a giant neon “LAME” sign flashing above my head, except instead of meaning loser it meant “Look at the fish out of water!  She doesn’t have a clue!”

And I don’t.  Make no mistake, I love me some babies and I can talk about them all day long…but pregnancy?  I got nothing.  I don’t know what questions to ask, what the tests are like, what size fruit the baby is in its fourth month.  All conversation feels foreign, so I don’t know where the conversation shifts from interested friend to creepy invasion of privacy.

Pregnant women have their own language, their shared experiences, their milestones.  A single phrase can elicit sympathy groans from a group of women while I stand there perplexed.  It’s like visiting a club – they’re friendly and welcome you for lunch, but you’re not really a member.

So I stand uneasily, shifting weight side to side, eyes darting every which way…do I look at her belly or keep my eyes firmly at face level?  Does a comment on her baby bump make her feel loved or fat?  What the hell am I supposed to ask someone who’s busy growing a person without the common bonding experience to guide me?  I’m at a loss once we’re past “so how are you feeling?”.

I used to mourn missing out on pregnancy because it meant missing the chance to feel a life grow inside me.  Now there are times I’m sad about how it’s affected my sense of community.  This is one of those all in or out things – you’ve either been pregnant or you haven’t, experienced childbirth or not – there’s really no in between.

Which leaves awkward, introverted people like me standing there, scuffing my shoes and searching for the right thing to say.

So if we’ve shared some bizarre moments over the last decade – a time when you were pregnant, I was weird, and you wondered what the hell was wrong with me – rest assured you’re not the only one.

It’s not you, it’s me.