I’m not pregnant, but I’m expecting

You don’t have to be pregnant to be an expectant mother—or else we’d never use the term “expectant father,” right?

I’m not pregnant, but I’m expecting

No, I didn’t get to plan a super cute way to break the news to my husband, our friends or our family.

I didn’t wait in anticipation for the second line to appear, or the plus sign or anything of that nature.

I don’t have an adorable baby bump to watch grow.

I don’t have an app or blog ticker telling me how big my baby is right now, or what fruit they compare to in size.

I don’t get to feel butterflies floating around in my tummy, or feel him or her stretching and growing safely under my heart.

There are a lot of things that I won’t get to experience while I wait for my family to start, and you know what? That’s OK.

As a waiting adoptive parent who is preparing for her baby’s arrival, I am an expectant mom, too.

Expectant mom: It’s a title generally reserved for pregnant woman, but I think the definition of expectant mom needs to be opened up a little bit.

I don’t want to take anything away from the miracle that pregnancy is, but I don’t think my inability to carry my own baby should take away from the fact that I’m expecting a child as well.

I’m doing whatever I can to prepare to bring a child into my home.

Men can’t get pregnant, but there are expectant fathers out there.

My husband and I are both “expecting” to have an infant child in this house, under our care, hopefully in a timely manner from completing our home-study and PRIDE training.

While a pregnant woman’s body prepares its body and breast tissue in order to create nourishment for the baby, expectant adoptive moms also could be preparing their bodies to induce lactation.

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It’s a real thing! How amazing is that?! It’s a lot of dedicated work, but that bond and attachment of breastfeeding is a possibility for adoptive mothers, too.

Among other things:

  • I will get to change dirty diapers (and plan on perfecting cloth diapering!)
  • I will get to wake up in all hours of the night and soothe this sweet life
  • I may have a baby shower
  • I plan to breastfeed and baby wear
  • I will get to kiss booboo’s better
  • I may think I have this whole parenting thing planned out just like all expectant parents

With the amount of dedication required to prepare for adoption, I don’t think people should get wrapped up on terminology or labels.

I feel like an expectant mom, so that’s what I’m going to call myself.

One day I too will get to comfort, to love, and to help develop the mind of an individual and watch this amazing feat of nature grow into its own independent marvel.

I hope I don’t offend anyone in the process, but this may be the only expectant period of time I get so I’m going to enjoy it.

So, to the entire expectant (adoptive) mom population out there, nest away, let yourself be excited, pick out the colors for the nursery, put together a baby registry...

Enjoy it, Mama Bear. ?

Original story by Mira Gallaway for Canada Adopts.

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One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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