Typed this up yesterday-- here we go!
A few years ago I was on an adoption message board where I mentioned the fact that once I started my adoption, I started parking in the "Expectant Mother Parking" they offer at some stores like CVS, Harris Teeter, Babies R Us, etc... because it made me feel happy to realize I was an expectant mother.
Oh. My. Word. I got TOTALLY bashed.
I was told that I was totally selfish. That these spots had a MEDICAL reason behind them and I was just being bitter that I wasn't pregnant and I was "stealing" them from pregnant women who were in a state of a lot more discomfort. (Give me a break.)
This sparked QUITE the controversy. People dug in their heels and it got ugly before the thread was locked by a moderator.
Well, using our nice words, I would like to discuss this issue with you all. It might be interesting because there are a lot of adoptive parents who read my blog, but it might be boring because I am so right about this one no one will disagree. (JUST KIDDING!!!)
Okay, here's my two cents on the whole deal.
I totally, completely, utterly think that waiting adoptive parents should be "allowed" to park in the spaces reserved for expectant mothers. Here's why:
First of all, these spaces are just a marketing ploy. There is NO law governing them and no enforcement of them. It's just a marketing tool to make expectant moms feel special. And if that's the case, why should it be reserved only for the pregnant mom and not the adoptive?
Having experienced biological pregnancy and the "paper pregnancy" of adoption, I feel pretty "qualified" to speak to this issue as a whole and would argue that adoption is EVERY single bit as uncomfortable as bio pregnancy (it's just different)-- AND THEN SOME with VERY, VERY few of the "perks" that accompany it. It's isolating because when you're pregnant, everyone (eventually) knows you're expecting. So you get to talk about it all the time. You get to look totally "normal" registering for baby gifts, you get all sorts of well-wishes from strangers, etc. etc. etc. When you're adopting, you have to bring it up in conversation all the time because you want to feel validated as expecting a baby too. It's not obvious because of the lack of a baby bump (although a lot of people gain nearly as much weight during an adoption as they would a pregnancy-- it's a literal phenomenon, I am not speaking figuratively here.)
When you DO get to talk with people about your adoption, most assume you're infertile and feel the need to express pity in some way. Many adoptive moms don't get baby showers ahead of time, because the timing is so unknown. And most people feel the need to "educate you" all about the things that might go wrong with adoption, telling you one of the "tons" of stories they knew about failed placements and/or RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), why you should/shouldn't be adopting domestically/internationally, etc. etc. etc.
Third, pregnancy is NOT a medical condition. (This is not the time to argue about hospital vs. home birth... perhaps another day.) All I am saying is that in the majority of cases, there is not any reason why parking any closer is medically necessary. And you're SUPPOSED to be walking. It's good for the pregnancy. I know that being in late pregnancy makes walking around uncomfortable-- believe me, I know! But if you can't even walk into the store from the parking lot, how are you going to get around it? I was two weeks overdue with a nine and half pound baby. Yeah it was uncomfortable. But that's not a medical condition. If the pregnancy causes a medical condition necessitating that you park closer, we already HAVE a mandated system in every public place for that-- handicapped parking.
There's this principle you learn about when you're learning adoption called "entitlement." It is basically acknowledging that you're "entitled" to be this child's mother. It's not the same thing as attachment (the feeling of being attached to a child as his mom/dad, etc). It's the feeling that you are the "real" parent and has a lot to do with how you feel you are perceived by others. That doesn't just MAGICALLY happen when you get your child. You need to foster this and remind yourself that you are the "real" parents well before your child comes home. This is one of the things that makes adoption so difficult. You need to force yourself to attach to a child and give yourself the right to feel like the parent before they are in your arms. Thus the ache. You ARE an expectant mother. And, therefore, you should be able to park there.
You can say it comes down to semantics, but I disagree. And here's why... If the following argument is applied, at WHAT point (if you are biologically pregnant) do you start parking there? Is it "ethical" to park there as soon as you find out you're pregnant? But what happens if someone in their second trimester comes along? But if they do, should THEY park there, because what if someone in their THIRD trimester comes along? But then should THEY park there, because what if someone who is overdue wants to park there? But what if there is a MORE overdue person that comes along? So then should no one park there, just in case? So then is there even a point to these spots? I would argue that there only real point is (like I mentioned above) to make expectant mothers feel a little special. And then, in that case, why should that be reserved for only mothers who are biologically pregnant? Shouldn't both be able to feel special?
I do NOT think this is selfish and I would ask anyone who thinks it is to express (if it helps validate the feeling of being an expectant mother) why they would begrudge a waiting adoptive parent this small privilige, but yet give it to a pregnant woman. To me THAT seems selfish.
And just as a bit of an aside, at Babies R Us they call it "Stork Parking." And I think you'd be hard pressed to convince me the whole "stork" idea is more relevant in birth than in adoption. :) Just saying.
And my final point is that I get that this is one of those issues that don't really matter in the grand scope of the big picture. It's totally what my friend CC would call a "rich country problem." That does NOT escape me.
So ladies, what do you think about this totally non-important issue in our society? Agree, disagree? Let's hear.
And, oh! I am going to *try* to leave this topic open for a few days since you all are complaining about not being able to post fast enough.