Sunday, April 26, 2015

Forever missing part of your heart

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone.  

I had never really thought much of this quote. Actually, if anything, I think it made me roll my eyes a little before I found out what having a child was really like. Now I know that this quote is probably the best way to describe having a child. 

Being a birth mother makes this quote that much more meaningful, and more painful. You've chosen to carry this child, to give birth to them, and to love them with everything that you have. While your pregnant, you can't fully understand what it will be like. I didn't. I thought that I would have him, be sad for awhile, and pick my life right back up where I left off. I have never been more wrong in my life. 

The love for him didn't hit me instantly. The first time I saw him I was in disbelief that this baby was actually mine. There were some complications after birth, so it didn't hit me until a few hours later. He was starving so I decided to try nursing him. He latched on, ate a bit, let out a huge sigh and fell asleep. In that moment I fell head over heels for him. In that moment, I knew that part of my heart will forever be walking outside of my body. 

Then, I did what I didn't think I was strong enough to do. I placed him in his mother's arms and left the hospital. I cried the entire night. We had a visit the next night and one last visit that Saturday. On the way to that last visit before they left the state, I sobbed. I told my mom that I didn't know if I could do this. I felt empty and the only thing that made me feel whole again was holding him. I cuddled him the entire visit. When they left, I went to the grocery store with my mom and ended up crying in public. That was not my finest hour. 

Being a birth mom means that you've entrusted part of your heart to someone else. There's a void that can never be filled. You walk around with a piece of you missing. The only time you feel truly whole again is when you get to see your child. For many birth moms, that happens once a year or so. The longing doesn't stop. Every time I see a baby that looks like BB, my arms ache. I want to cuddle him one more time and tell him how much I love him. It's a scary thing to have your child out there and you aren't able to protect them. You only want the best for your child, like any other parent. I know that J and K are constantly loving on BB. They are teaching him how to be a great person. They tell him how much his birth mom loves him and that's what keeps me going. I know that he is safe and loved. My heart will never be whole again, but it is worth it knowing that his heart is being filled with so much love. That is what being a mother is about. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dear expectant mother considering adoption,

Huge hugs mama. I remember being where you are. Researching "adoption", "open adoption", and "birth mothers" until the words ran together. Crying as I read story after story about adoption. I was terrified by some of the stories I read. Screaming into my pillow because I did NOT want to make this choice. I didn't want to make any choice. I just wanted to sleep. I browsed so many agency sites and just looked at families. How was I ever going to choose? I rubbed my stomach and cried. Telling this baby that I loved them and that I was so sorry. I reached out for help on internet groups. I found a mix of opinions out there, and most of what I heard was great. Open adoption was wonderful and it worked for everyone, children were so "blessed" to be loved by so many people. The grief a birth mother would feel was overshadowed by the love she felt for her child and the knowledge that she did what was "best".

I went back and forth in my head. I could do this. I couldn't do this. I had to do this. My heart was firm on 'this is your baby, what are you thinking?!?!" Overruling your heart is hard. Telling your heart that love sometimes just isn't enough doesn't lessen the pain. I kept reminding myself of my reasons. I believed that my child deserved two parents at home, a financially stable life, and more than I could provide for him. I deeply believed that I wasn't good enough to raise my child on my own, and many of the things I read online fed into that belief. Sweet mama, I want you to know that you ARE good enough to raise your child. You CAN do this. There are resources out there for you and people who want to help you. Reach out to me here and I will connect you with resources.

Choosing adoption for your child does not take away your "mother status". You are and will always be a mother. If you choose adoption, your child will have two mothers. You will be their birth mother who loved on them while they were growing. You are the mother who created this baby. You gave your body fully over to pregnancy. The heartburn, the insomnia, the throwing up, the *ahem* hemorrhoids. You have loved this baby unconditionally. Even if you don't feel like you are connected to this pregnancy, you love your child. Just by researching your options, you love this child. By crying and wishing that you didn't have to make this choice, you love this child. This baby is developing surrounded by so much love.

I know you are scared. It's terrifying. If you choose adoption for your child, you WILL make it. The process won't kill you, even if you sometimes think it may.

My heart breaks for you. I am here for you, and so are many other birth mothers.

Please, be gentle on yourself. Give yourself grace. Pregnancy is hard enough without adding the stress of an adoption. This is a huge decision that will affect you and your child for the rest of your lives. There is no "moving on", you will just learn to live with the grief. If you need help, reach out.

Sending you love,