Backaches, morning sickness, cankles; These symptoms are common during pregnancy as your body adjusts to a growing baby. But when you’re not the biological parent, can you expect the same physical changes as you gear up for the arrival of a child?
According to Charlize Theron, yes. In an interview with Chelsea Handler on Thursday, the adoptive mom of two said, “Your brain is so powerful. Your brain basically will tell your body to do things that you have no control over. And when you really really want a child, your brain will tell your body to feel and do things.”
Above all, Theron remembers her achy boobs. “My boobs were hurting the entire time I was waiting for him to come,” she said of her son, Jackson, whom she adopted from South Africa in 2012. Last year, she adopted a daughter, August. “Maybe I was making some of it up in my head, but it was so great,” she added.
Were those symptoms all in Theron’s head?
“The feelings so common to new mothers, overwhelming love, protectiveness, anxiety—these are actually the result of physical changes,” licensed social worker Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT, tells The Bump. Kurtz tells us about the “mother mindset,” a psychological evolution that women experience as they become mothers.
“The ‘mindset’ may include fantasies about your baby's personality, her likes or dislikes, how you will get along together, etc.," she says. "Though nearly all moms-to-be, biological or adoptive, experience some version of this emotional growth process, rarely are we given an opportunity to explore it in depth."
There are many roads to parenthood, all just as beautiful as the others. Whether the process of welcoming baby takes nine months or two years, there’s no limit to how much love someone can have for their child.
“[My mom] said, ‘You know, it took me nine months to fall in love with you while you were growing in my stomach. It took you two years to fall in love with this little baby.’ It just feels exactly how it’s supposed to feel. I don’t know how to describe it. It just feels right,” Theron told Ellen DeGeneres after the two-year process of adopting Jackson.
From Sandra Bullock to Katherine Heigl, several Hollywood parents have opened up about their adoption stories. If you’re considering adoption, here’s what you need to know about adopting a child in the US.