Do you remember the night of your Senior Prom? The dress, the makeup, the hair, your date….one of the most exciting nights of the year for a Senior in High School. I remember the night of my Senior Prom very vividly. It was the night that I, as a 17-year-old, went into labor.
I was the good girl in school, I had good grades and never got into trouble. I met a boy, I fell in love and I made adult decisions before I should have. I started my Senior Year at 16 years old, and pregnant. I was so scared and confused. The only thing I knew for certain was that abortion wasn’t an option for me.
The next 9 months were so hard, looking back I’m not sure how I managed. I juggled school, work, doctor's appointments, and meetings with my adoption counselor. I celebrated my 17th birthday quietly with just my family and boyfriend, after all – how does a pregnant 17-year-old really celebrate?
The night of my senior prom, while all my friends were having the time of their lives, I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself. Wondering how I was going to handle what was ahead of me, and in that moment my water broke. The reality hit hard at that moment, this baby was coming whether I was ready or not. The next 24 hours are a bit of a
blur, we rushed to the hospital, called my boyfriend and his family, called my adoption counselor, and then we waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing. After 12 hours, I was finally induced and on April 26, 2003, the whole world changed. A beautiful, healthy little girl was welcomed into this world.
I spent the next 2 days in the hospital soaking up every minute I could with her. My time was so limited and I wanted to make sure that I spent every second I had loving on that little one. Having to leave that hospital without that precious baby broke my heart in a way I never knew was possible. I was confident in my decision to place her with her adoptive parents, but that doesn’t make the pain any less. I didn’t have the emotional strength to hand her over to her parents, so I quietly said my goodbyes to her, and whispered into her tiny little ear that I love her. I handed her to my boyfriend who walked her to her new parents.
I spent the next week in bed, so depressed I couldn’t function. After a week, I had to return to school as I only had a few weeks left until Graduation. Returning to school was so difficult, as I had to explain to many people I did not know that I had placed my daughter with an adoptive couple. Many didn’t understand and judged me harshly. Looking back, I can’t blame them. I don’t think they intended to be cruel, I think they just didn’t understand – after all, we were High Schoolers. I survived the last few weeks of school and graduated on time. I was living in a constant fog. Nothing made me happy, I was lost and hurt. My heart was shattered. I didn’t think I would be able to move on with my life, I would never be happy again. I was broken.
Today that little girl is 14 years old. She is the most beautiful, amazing girl I have ever met. She has a wonderful, loving family whom I just adore. They agreed to an open adoption when I first met them, and they were true to their word. Over the last 14 years, I have had the amazing opportunity to bond with my daughter and develop a wonderful relationship with her parents. I’ve been to countless dance recitals, I’ve been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving at their home with them, they have invited me on vacation to celebrate her birthday, and I’ve been able to spend days shopping and getting manicures with her. I have an 8-year-old son now, and the relationship that he has with his birth-sister is amazing. I have never regretted my decision. I did not give up on my daughter, I did not abandon her. I made a conscious decision to give her the best life possible, which in our case meant adoption. She never grew up feeling unwanted or unloved. In fact, she has double the love! She has two sets of families who love her so very much. She is exactly where she was meant to be in life, and so am I.
Being a Birth Mother has changed who I am, and where I took my life.
There were so many times that I didn’t think I would make it, but I did. My heart is whole, and my life is beautiful. It’s a unique life I live, one that many others do not understand. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
To my birth daughter – I love you and I am so proud of you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life, and understanding that every choice I made was made out of love for you.
To my birth daughter’s parents – Thank you for loving and accepting me, and for giving her such a beautiful life. Thank you for allowing me to watch her grow up.
To my fellow birth moms – You can do it. You will be okay. Trust your instinct and trust that your heart is leading you in the right direction. It will hurt, and it will be hard. You are brave and strong and selfless. I am proud of you.