Adoption / Life with Jesus

Welderbeth Sees a Counselor

{HUGE disclaimer: If you read this post and don’t believe me and somehow think that I’m going to a counselor because my son’s behavior is just so bad and we just can’t handle it and you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I will never adopt because all of ‘those kids’ are just too hard to parent”, then I need you to stop right now and forget this post. Seriously, just stop it and wipe it from your memory or I will have to scold you.

My current desire for counseling has nothing to do with my son specifically. I hesitated to even share this part of my life right now because I don’t want it to reflect negatively on him (because it absolutely shouldn’t). I’m certain that I would be feeling this way with any kid, even a baby that I birthed from my very own vagina. Kids come to us in all different ways. Becoming a mom is a tough job for anyone. This is my story. Please honor it by taking my words at face value.}

I went to see a counselor for the first time in my life on Wednesday. I nervously waited with my intake paperwork in the waiting room, tears welling up in my eyes. When she came to get me, I was surprised to find that she looked significantly older than the picture on her website, but I decided that meant she was experienced.

We went into her office and got some chit chat out of the way. As she was asking me about my insurance, she saw that I was struggling to keep it together and said, “Wow, you’re really struggling, huh?”

Then the dam broke.

***

The fog is clearing. That rush of adrenaline that accompanied a 9-year-old boy into our home is finally starting to waft away. We are getting in a rhythm, in a groove, and we’re establishing that this isn’t (so) weird anymore.

We are not in survival mode every second of every day so now my brain has (a little) time to be introspective.  The conclusion that my brain comes to is a very well thought-out, logical response to what has happened in my life.

“What has happened here and who the hell am I?”

I’m fully convinced that nothing can prepare you for being a parent. I would know, because I tried! I read all the stuff, did all the trainings, analyzed my own childhood, asked parents the hard questions. I even thought obsessively about what it would be like to have a child in my home, because thinking obsessively about hypothetical things is my HOBBY, ya’ll. My brain loves to rev up in anticipation of things. Co-workers would come visit me in my office closet at work and I would be crying at my desk, thinking about how precious my time with my fake children will be.

I knew that parenting would change me, but I was not ready for how much.

Let’s consider a married, childless woman in her late 20s, who is starting to appreciate how getting older helps her feel more self-assured. She knows who she is. She knows what the thinks about the world. She knows what she likes and she doesn’t like. She has passions and, more importantly, time to be passionate. She’s a go-getter. She goes to the gym sometimes, for crying out loud.

Let’s consider a married, new mother in her late 20s, who now thinks about the needs of her son from the moment her eyes open in the morning until she passes out from exhaustion at night. She does not have time to think about who she is. She does not really have time to think about the world. Possibly because she’s so focused on attaching to this new child that she has set poor boundaries, she does not have time to do things that she likes. Her desire to be a perfectionist and all the associated anxieties have flared up (Does my case worker think I’m a good mother? Does his teacher like me? Am I the favorite classroom parent?) She does not have time or emotional energy to be passionate. She goes to the gym every day. OR she shoves her face with candy corn and potato chips at night because STRESS EATING.

Here’s the thing.

I don’t want my son to be the center of my universe.

There.

I said it.

I don’t.

I want Jesus to be at the center of my universe, which makes room for justice and community and loving my neighbors and things I enjoy (one of which is being a mom).

I have a feeling that parenting requires walking a fine line between loving and nurturing your kids and meeting their needs and some of their wants and teaching them how to be a well-adjusted adult, by showing them how to be a well-adjusted adult (which means that they are not the center of your universe, because they are not the center of THE universe).

I just having trouble finding my balance walking that fine line right now. (And why shouldn’t I or any new parent? Balance takes practice, people.)

So, I’m bringing in the professional (whom I’m affectionately calling Granny Ann because she is a mix of both my grandmothers, warm and caring but not afraid to share some good, solid advice. If she starts talking to me about my BM’s, I might have to draw a line). Granny Ann is great, because, as a friend pointed out, I don’t have to care about how she’s doing or what she thinks of me.  I can just word-vomit and snot all over Granny Ann’s office and then leave without feeling like I’m burdening her with my BIG FEELINGS.

It is incredibly liberating.

I started blogging through this adoption process because I wanted to present my authentic experience of what it’s like to suddenly become a mom to a 9-year-old. That’s why I feel like I owe it to you, my followers, to let you see this side of things. I never want to present that parenting via adoption is rosy and easy and wonderful, for either the parents or the kids.

I don’t ever want anyone, especially my son, to think that it’s shameful to ask for help with BIG FEELINGS. In fact, he and I talked about my counseling visit and I told him how I liked having someone to talk to that I could say anything I wanted to without worrying if she would be hurt or be angry at me. He thought about it for a second and then said, “Yeah!” like it was a revelation.

I have hope. I am not afraid that parenting has ruined my life.  I know that this transition is just a small bump in the road- a road that will ultimately lead to a deeper, fuller, more passionate, more confident, mama-bear, cross-stitchin-fool, healthy-food-eating, crazy opinionated (but let’s call it more sure of herself) Beth.

Thanks for traveling it with me.

5 thoughts on “Welderbeth Sees a Counselor

  1. Girl, you go. I am such a fan of counseling and honestly can’t envision you going through this season without it. Praying that you find how to set the things in your life around your Jesus center!

  2. Way to go! Counseling is such a necessity sometimes, and it’s time we just all accepted it as a society. You’re doing what’s good for you and setting a good example for all those around you as well.

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