The idea of 'loss' and what it means has been insinuating itself into my consciousness more and more recently as so many stories of great loss have been in the news, not to mention in the real-life experiences of some of my friends and acquaintances.
When facing impending parenthood, people will often be told how having a child will change your life and blow your priorities out of the water. This has certainly been true in my experience, although I need to stress that most of the changes have been welcome ones! Recently, after a long catching-up conversation which mainly consisted of stories about the boys, a friend of mine said, "But what about you? How are you doing?" I didn't really have an answer. The fact is that with the boys around there often isn't much 'me' - their needs always seem so pressing that there doesn't seem to be time to think about anything else. This is something I'm going to be working on from now on!
So, yes, on a practical level my life and my priorities have completely changed. This was always expected. What I didn't expect was the sudden shift in my thinking that has taken place since I decided to adopt OB.
Of course it has radically changed any plans I might have had for the future. It has also made me take a look at my present and re-evaluate some of the choices I made when there was only me to think about. Suddenly I am very aware of the way I live from day to day - it's one thing living as you please when nobody's looking, but quite another thing when you're supposed to be setting a good example 24/7!
None of this has taken me by surprise, however. What has come as a shock is the sudden realisation that I now have something very, very precious, the loss of which would cause irreparable damage and grief. Now, when I see a news story or even a fictional TV drama about a child who dies, or is sick, I find myself in absolute floods of tears, heartbroken about the loss, my almost subconscious fear brought out into the open, magnified and reflected back to me by the TV screen.
Is this normal parent thinking? I've never really had anything to lose before and I'm not sure it's entirely healthy to be afraid of losing him before I've even properly got him - that's another thing I'll be working on from now on! But I do hope that the experience of learning to cherish something so precious will make me a better friend to those I know for whom the experience of loss is a daily reality.