We are the in-between moms. Our hearts feel like moms, but our homes don’t have much to show for it. We’re actively attempting to grow our families. We’re starting the adoption process or fostering another mama’s babe or trying to conceive naturally or starting fertility treatments.
We sometimes feel like outsiders in groups of other women. We aren’t trying to get that big promotion. Or sometimes we are, but we’re considering what stay-at-home motherhood would be like, too. We aren’t exhausted from being up at night with our baby or chasing our toddler through Target. But we wish we were. We chime in with the potty training and breastfeeding and kindergarten stories of our friends and sisters, but we wish we had our own.
We pay attention to the latest products and trends. We know about babywearing, but we’ve never had one to wear. We know all about the benefits of that yucky nose sucker thing, but it’s sitting on our registry, not in our home.
We have a room for our future children in different states of preparedness. A toddler bed bought during a can’t-be-passed-up sale, a stack of perfectly-new never-read books, a diaper pail bought at our neighbor’s garage sale, or a piece of art thoughtfully gifted to us by a mom who has been here, done this.
Or maybe our in-betweeness is less obvious. We’ve had quiet conversations with our husbands about what route we should take if we aren’t pregnant by our anniversary. We have a box in the basement with that little purple dress we just couldn’t stand to pass up at the mall. We bring our box of Christmas decorations up and find those extra two stockings we bought last year, but we quietly tuck them back in the box to go back into storage.
We make plans, but we always keep in mind the potential for changes to our plans. Let’s just go to Chicago for vacation this year, but if their adoption is finalized, it wouldn’t be too hard to travel across country borders to Toronto instead. Let’s buy tickets for that upcoming concert, but let’s sell them on Craigslist if we get the call that we’ve been matched. Let’s start looking for a new job, but let’s stay open to staying at this job so we can keep the health benefits and time off.
We have emotions and outlooks that might resemble roller coasters from day-to-day. We have days of bitterness and despair. And we have days of total contentment and understanding. He has a plan for our lives. He has a plan for growing our families. He will meet our every need. (But what about our wants?)
We feel a little sorry for our complicated feelings and family status. But should we be? We wish you had first-hand experience with these feelings. We wish we had first-hand experience with what it feels like to have a child who is legally, permanently in your family.
We long for that. We long for an easy answer to the are-you-a-mother question.