This letter is intended to reach birth mothers who don’t quite understand their emotions yet of a new placement or even an old one.
I hope it reaches someone who needs to hear that they’re not alone in these times; I know I would have welcomed a “letter” from someone who has been able to sort through and know these similar feelings of the turbulent waters of becoming a birth-parent.
Dear 19-year-old me,
You have permission to FEEL. To feel angry. To feel discouraged. To feel alone. To feel bitter-sweet. You have a right to feel changed. I know that feeling you get in the depths of your heart that you can’t quite name. I know you sat in that hospital bed crying, shaking your fist at the sky asking, “why?”. I know that feeling of emptiness leaving the hospital empty handed, not being able to show the world the enormous love you have for a person only days old. I know the feeling of returning to “normal” life; when you started back to school that spring semester and standing in the middle of campus with everyone rushing around you, wanting to throw your arms up screaming.
“Did anyone see what I just went through?!"
Can no one understand my feelings?” I know the feeling of going through countless counselors and them trying to discredit or invalidate your emotions of postpartum depression because you don’t have a tiny human clinging to your side.
19-year-old self, give yourself a rest and give yourself permission to feel EVERY SINGLE feeling you have. Don’t plunge them so deep inside yourself that you feel like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. I encourage you to find an outlet for these emotions. I found blogging and writing out my thoughts have made them more organized and frees myself from them. Painting, singing, sports, writing, talking, etc are good and healthy outlets for getting these feelings out. I wish I could have started this article the minute I left that hospital, but I also believe this was God’s perfect timing of when I was supposed to share these thoughts with the world.
19-year-old self, you are loved by the Most High King. You are more precious than rubies, and valued beyond your comprehension. [She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 3:15] You are a princess and daughter of the one who knew you before you were ever thought of. Do not think you have no worth because of a chapter in your life that didn’t go as “planned”.
Sweet and strong girl, you have done something for someone that they literally can never repay you for. Beautiful girl, never lose your strength for being a birth mother.
19-year-old self, it’s okay to feel CHANGED. Changed isn’t a word I would have used almost 6 years ago. I could think of a million other words other than “changed”. Changed not only in the sense that your body just grew a human life (congrats on that by the way, it’s tiring work!), but that you just became a prime candidate for advocating adoption. You witnessed first-hand the vast and endless amount of love you have for someone, and in turn watching the two most deserving people immediately fall in love with a priceless gift. It’s fine to feel a change in your mindset; there isn’t a moment of my day that I am not thinking of my son, “C”, wondering what he is doing at the moment or trying to mentally plan a way to see him soon. I can’t even imagine life now without the instant family I found when I placed him another person's arms; change isn’t a bad thing.
19-year-old self, you WILL find a husband who falls in love with this side of you. He will fall in love with that precious gift you treasure so much. He will walk into your life and make you feel like a piece of you just fell into place.
19-year-old self, you will have other children. Do not feel anxious about this part of your life; God’s timing is perfect and so is his plan. Do not feel like you have to protect yourself from those raw feelings of falling in love with someone and then having to live without them in your daily life. There is something I can’t quite describe what a good and patient husband can do about quieting your fears. He wraps you in his arms and wipes away your tears of grief and anger.
Sweet girl, you’re never alone in this grief ridden chapter of your life. The chapter where it seems like everywhere you turn someone is pregnant or has a newborn. You want so badly to sympathize with their morning sickness, the part of where you can’t get your pants buttoned any longer or when you find out the gender. And then they have their baby and take them home, and you’re left with the first half of that story and then the rest of the book is left blank.
Courageous girl, you WILL have the whole story one day; and oh my goodness, you will experience the delight of every experience, good or bad which that pregnancy birthed in you!
Photography above by Hearts In Motion Photography