One word to describe how you felt the moment you discovered you were pregnant?
Why did you choose adoption?
I knew that my parents were going to be upset that I was pregnant, and I had serious doubts that they would offer me support. I knew that without their support it would be nearly impossible for me to parent. Even if they had offered me support (which they didn’t) I also knew that moving back in with them would be chaotic and volatile; I didn’t want my child to grow up in that environment.
Who played the biggest role in your decision to place your child for adoption?
I think my parents played the biggest role in my decision, not because they were there for me, but because it was apparent that they were not going to be supportive.
What did you think about adoption before you placed? And after you placed?
I have always been a huge fan of adoption and have wanted to adopt myself. I think before I went through it, however, I never really thought about the birth mom and how that must feel for her. Not to mention, all the adoptions I was aware of were closed. Now my view of adoption is different in that I understand what it is to be a birth mom. I’m aware of the heartbreak and the pain you put yourself through to place your child and then maintain a relationship with him. I used to think adoption was more “natural”, but now I realize that adoption is the most UNnatural thing you can do. You go against everything in you and all the attachment hormones flowing through your body, and your emotions and your heart in order to make this decision for your child’s future.
Looking back, what do you wish you had known then that you know today?
I worked with an amazing agency who did so much to prepare me for what was ahead. There are some things you can never know until you are living them. (I wrote a blog post about some of that here, but for the most part I was extremely well prepared.)
If you could dispel any myths about adoption or birth mothers—what would you say?
HA! I have so many soapboxes about this very topic! The biggest question/myth that people ask is “Are you going to get him back?” This question makes me upset because the whole point of placing him was to give him the best life with the least amount of trauma, but taking a child from his family would be just about the maximum amount of trauma I can think of. I also co-authored this blog posting on this topic here.
When, if ever, have you felt most discouraged about your decision to place?
I think that this year has actually been the hardest year to date. My birth son turned 5 in April and started Kindergarten last Monday. So many milestones in his life have happened this year, and I think it has just really hit me hard what I’m missing. The rational part of my brain knows that I made the right decision, but my heart and emotions scream at me and are constantly asking “Why did I ever do this?!” I also think part of this has to do with the lens with which we view adoption. It’s easy to transpose who I am now onto who I was then. I have to constantly remind myself that I am a different person now, and that the person I was then could not have successfully parented. I have gained so much maturity, wisdom, and knowledge in the past 6 years since finding out I was pregnant; I will be so prepared for whenever I am blessed with another child, but that was not who I was then and I needed the time to gain that information.
What’s been the greatest reward or surprise of being a birth mother?
Being able to watch my son grow up into a happy, healthy kid who adores his parents and his brother. I placed him so that he could be in a whole, functioning, loving family. It is incredible to see him grow and thrive in that environment. The other greatest joy I have is seeing his love for me. He is always excited to see me and is constantly telling me he loves me. It warms my heart to have that kind of relationship with him.
What’s your greatest wish for birth mother’s today?
I would love that birth mother’s day become more widely recognized. Being a birth mom is extremely painful around Mother’s Day - in fact it is traditionally the hardest day of the year for me, harder than even his birthday. It helps so much when my friends and family recognize me on Birth Mother’s and/or Mother’s Day. It is so difficult when I feel forgotten and unimportant. Birth Mother’s day helps to fill that void and helps me to feel that even though I didn’t parent, I played an important role in his life and I am recognized for it.
What excites you about BraveLove?
Being a birth mother is hard and extremely isolating. Many birth mother stories are shrouded in shame and secrecy. BraveLove gives a voice to these birth moms, support for the sad and weary, and a community to be heard and understood. Anyone who is not a Birth Mom cannot fully comprehend and being understood is healing in and of itself. Not to mention being titled as “brave” and having “brave love” is so empowering to me as a birth mom. I just can’t say enough about the importance and impact BraveLove has on birth moms.