Towards the end of my pregnancy, my mother finally started telling people I was pregnant (more on that as I get to June in my story). She told a few friends at first, and then a few people in her ward (church congregation). Instead of judging me, they were friendly and sympathetic. One woman came to visit me after Roo was born. And much to my surprise, a few of them wanted to have a baby shower for me.
I was stunned, but also excited. This was the sort of thing I'd longed for during my pregnancy - excitement, love, validation. One of the women planning it asked what colors were in Roo's nursery. I felt a little twinge of guilt (not for the first time) that my precious little girl did not have a nursery - no room of her own. Her nursery was a corner of my bedroom. But her bedding was pink and brown so those were the colors I gave. I was sent an invitation to the shower with a note on the envelope that it was for Roo's baby book. The thoughtfulness of these women I barely knew was overwhelming, and I tear up even now when I think about it.
The baby shower was on August 4th, and my mother and I got there a little late, which was kind of embarrassing. Also embarrassing was the fact that I knew maybe three people in the room. The rest of them were women from my mom's ward and she whispered into my ear who was who so that as I opened gifts I could smile at the appropriate people.
I hardly wanted to put Roo down or hand her to someone else to open presents. I think part of me always knew that my time with her was finite and that I needed to treasure every second I had to hold her. But I let my mom hold her while I opened gift after gift - lovely, sweet, cute, thoughtful things. There was also cake and punch and chocolate-dipped strawberries and pink gummy bears and ... so many perfect little details. I'm getting all teary-eyed again.
Each attendee wrote her name and address on an envelope when she arrived, and I was given the accompanying thank-you notes so that it would be easy for me to write one and stick it in the appropriate envelope. I thought this was a thoughtful detail as well - they knew how busy I was as a new mom and wanted to make things as easy as possible.
But how I felt at the shower wasn't a new thing - I hated to put Roo down, ever. I passed hours, days even, sitting on the couch with her napping in my arms, on my chest, in my lap. Part of the reason I think her head's always been such a nice shape is that I only put her down to sleep at night. Most days when she napped, I held her, not wanting to miss a single second of the first weeks of my precious baby's life.
The thank-you notes sat unwritten on the counter. Each time I caught sight of them, I thought to myself, tomorrow. I'll write them tomorrow. I started composing them in my head, but I couldn't seem to find the time to write them on paper. There were plenty of times, of course, when my mom took Roo so I could have a break to get things done. But my head was such a mess of emotions that I usually wrote in my journal then, or poked around on-line at adoption websites and couple profiles.
Then, of course, a few weeks later, God answered my prayers in a way that I simply couldn't ignore any longer, and I knew Roo needed to be with her mommy and daddy. Once that decision was made, I skipped sleep and meals for extra time to hold my baby. The thank-you notes could certainly wait. My time with Roo was swiftly coming to an end and I wasn't going to waste a single second of it.
Then I placed. My grief and pain consumed me. The sight of anything from the time I had Roo was enough to break me down again. Eight separate times I tried to write thank-you notes but ended up hyperventilating in tears instead.
And now I find myself nearly a year later, and not a single thank-you for the shower gifts has been sent. It's an awkward, tricky situation. I don't think most people in my mom's ward actually know that I placed Roo. Every so often my mom will come home from church and report that so-and-so asked how Roo was doing, and my mother has told them what choice I made. But I don't think everyone who attended the shower or gave a gift knows. And I think, what if the lack of a thank-you has made them think I'm spoiled and selfish and bratty in addition to being immoral?
I hate that thought. But it's been so long now that It almost seems ruder to send them out at this point than to not. And what on earth would I write in them? I could write what I originally planned, but it seems like I ought to mention what happened, and why it's taken me so long. But it's so personal! It felt awkward enough having so many strangers at my own baby shower. Even more awkward to have to tell every single one of them that God basically told me I wasn't supposed to be my baby's mother.
And then there's the fact that even though it's been so long, I still cry when I catch sight of the pastel Noah's Ark on the front of the notes. I still don't feel ready to write them! Will I ever feel ready? And what if when I finally am it's too late? I know I read a Dear Abby once about late thank-yous (from a bride, of course) and the consensus was that it was better late than never, but what if it's years later? Three, four, five years later? Do I mention the adoption? Would people be mad to know that I kept their gift but not my baby? Should I have returned the unused gifts? Roo did wear several of the outfits, but there were some things she never grew into while I had her. Should I write the original thank-yous as planned and then stick in each one a generic, typed-out note about the adoption? Should I leave the adoption out altogether?
I've been sitting on this issue for almost a year, and I'm no closer to a conclusion now than I've ever been before. I don't usually solicit comments outright, but I am today. What should I do? Choke it up and send them out now? Wait until I'm ready? Forget about it (my mother's suggestion, as she's given many a bridal and baby gift over the years - including to relatives - and not gotten a thank-you note)? I'm open to suggestions, as well as assurances that I am not an ungrateful brat for not sending them out 11 months ago.