Divorce sure makes people do some pretty crazy things. For some it's license to finally buy that pricey cherry-red sports car. Others have a series of wild one-night stands. A few go on year-long pilgrimages to discover themselves. Then there are those who just sit at home with a few of their new best friends -- Netflix and Ben & Jerry -- while they blame the world for everything that's gone wrong.
And then there are the people who decide -- hey, why not adopt a baby? Madonna did it after she and Guy Ritchie split; Sandra Bullock did it when she booted out cheating hubby Jesse James (although she had begun the process before his affairs made the tabloids); and now evidently Eva Longoria is hoping to adopt a baby from Haiti while she's in the midst of divorcing sexting hubby Tony Parker.
It makes sense to me. Because obviously divorce by itself isn't confusing and devastating enough (please pay no attention to the fact that it rates second, right after "death of a spouse," on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale). No, the only thing that could make divorce better -- or at least be a nice diversion -- is to adopt a baby and raise it as a newly divorced single mom. Might as well just skip over the whole grief and mourning part when a marriage ends and channel all that extra emotional energy into a baby.
Just think how healthy it will be for the child!
There's been quite a bit of research on how a new baby impacts a couple. Seattle's famed Gottman Institute has found that about two-thirds of new parents had serious problems in the first three years of a baby's life; happiness went down, hostility went up. There isn't much research on how bringing home a baby impacts a newly divorced single mom, but given the growing number of choice moms just give it some time.
I have nothing against babies (I've raised two of them myself), I have nothing against divorce (having done it twice), and I certainly have nothing against adopting babies. I do have to wonder about the timing, however; I'm just not sure the best time to adopt a baby is in the middle of a divorce.
My first year as a divorced co-parenting mom to two boys, then 9 and 12, was a year I wouldn't wish on anyone. I did the best I could, but I wasn't always as present as I wanted to be, as present as I had been in the past. Sometimes I was sad, sometimes I felt alone, sometimes I was exhausted, sometimes I was anxious, sometimes I was overwhelmed and sometimes I was all of the above at one time. But at 9 and 12, my boys had friends and school and sports -- activities that gave us some healthy time apart. And they also had time with their dad. There's no time apart when you're a single mom with a new baby.
OK, I know celebrities are not like us. They have enough money to buy a support system most of us can only dream about -- nannies, housekeepers, chefs, drivers, personal assistants. But babies are all pretty much the same, even celebrity babies; they require time, energy, patience, strength, attention and love. Lots of it.
Something a newly divorced woman just really doesn't have.