Monday, June 29, 2015

When your best friend has a baby

Dates have always been important me. Many of them hold deep meanings. Two of those days are the day that my son was born and the day that I placed him. Today, my best friend of 16 years is being induced to have her baby. She will be welcoming her son into her arms and saying the most amazing hello that she has ever said.  Five months ago today, I said the hardest goodbye that I have ever said. My time with my son was ending and my heart was breaking.

I love my best friend dearly. We are as close as sisters. She knows my deepest darkest secrets and my fears, as I know hers. She has been there through it all. She was there for me during my pregnancy and the birth of my son as much as she could be from 3000 miles away. Today, I am trying to do the same for her. I have texted her love and sent many prayers her way. I am thrilled that she is going to finally have her baby in her arms, yet I cannot shake the sadness.

I can't stop thinking about "what should have been". The plans that we've had since we were children. I remember laying on the hill at her mom's house, talking about the future. We were going to have gold Mercedes with our names written on them in pink. At some point that changed to VW bugs. We were really creative. We dreamed that we would live together Golden Girls style, going out on fancy dates and eating ice cream together every night. Those dreams did not come true, and adult me knows that they were the fleeting ideals of children.  Seven year old me would be sad that my best friend and I don't have matching cars, but twenty two year old me knows that just having any car is a blessing.

Twenty two year old me is sad about the other dream that changed. Those carefree little girls had decided that they were going to have babies together and raise them as best friends. They would be as close as we were, they just had to be. As we grew up and got older, that dream faded. We realized the chances of our children being born close together were slim. She was getting married and I was single, leaving our hometown. Then, after I had decided on adoption, she found out she was expecting. At first, it didn't bother me. I was so happy that she was finally going to be a mom. When she found out she was having a son it really hit me. Our boys weren't going to grow up together. They weren't going to spend hours rolling down the hill like we did. They wouldn't build forts and play pretend while we drank wine and chatted about the good old days.

I feel blessed to have the open adoption that I do. I get to see my son grow up happy and healthy. I get to be a small part of his life. Days like today are just a huge reminder of what could have been. As much as I try not to, I think about the what if's. I ache to hold the baby that I haven't seen in months, cuddle him up to me, and just breathe in the scent of his head. Instead I am working. I am saving up money to go see him. For just a few moments, I hope that I will feel whole again with him in my arms.

I am patiently (impatiently) waiting the announcement that my best friend's son has been born. I am lucky to have an amazing best friend who understands that when I finally come home and see her son, I may not be able to stop the tears. As I breathe in that new baby smell, I will be flooded with memories. After that moment passes, I will celebrate with her. I will make her dinner and help her with laundry. We will fall back into our old rhythms, but this time will be different. This time we are mothers and know love beyond all reason.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

To the new birth mother.

Dear new birth mom, 

I can feel your pain from here. That pain that never really leaves you, but instead becomes a permanent part of you. Sometimes it's a burning, searing pain. You wonder if it's ever going to go away. That pain hits and you think there is no way you are going to survive this. Other times it's a constant ache. You are trying to go back to "normal" but there is no such thing as normal anymore. The thing they don't tell you about adoption is that you can't go back to how life was before the baby. Adoption is everywhere you turn. There's no "turning it off" or "checking out". You are forever changed. You have to move forward and make a new normal. 

Some days, it seems easier. You cheer yourself on. You can go on and make your child proud! They will always know that because they exist, you are a better person. You see pictures of the family that you helped create, and feel full of love and light. You look at the image of this happy child that has your nose or eyes and feel full of unconditional love. Nothing can bring you down! You've been through the worst pain imaginable and you survived. Better yet, you are thriving. Look at everything you've accomplished so far.  You are strong! You are birth mom strong! 

 Then there are those other days. You know what days I'm talking about. The days where it seems like all you can do is breathe. You go from telling yourself that you can get through the day, to telling yourself you can get through this hour, this minute, this second. It feels like you are never going to breath normally again. The elephant on your chest presses harder each time you see a baby or a happy family. You see pictures of your smiling child and realize that he is not smiling because of you. You didn't bring that light to his eyes, someone else did. You would do anything to cuddle him for just a few minutes, your arms feel so heavy.  You feel different. It's as if being a birth mother has built a wall around you. People don't understand, and how could they? Most people will never know this pain. You are a mother without her child. You feel lost and alone. 

You try to smile through the insensitive comments. Every time someone says "Oh, I could NEVER do that" or "You didn't want your baby?" You feel like you're dying a little inside. Sometimes, people are being supportive with the first sentence. They mean that you are strong and they admire you. Sometimes, their words are full of judgement. You know that they mean that they think they love their child more than you do. You want to throw a fit, tell them that they would do it if they had to. They would do anything for their child. But maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't. Maybe being a birth mother takes a strength that some people just don't have. 

I can't offer much advice, but I want you to know that you aren't alone. I am in this journey with you. There are others out there who know your pain. We are here to hold your hand, cheer you on, or just be there to listen. This journey is not one that I take lightly. The title of birth mother is one that I hold dear. Remember on those days when it feels like you just can't go on that you've made it this far. You made it through pregnancy, birth, and placement. You've survived things that you never thought you could. Reach out to another birth mom. We've been there and we know what you are feeling. You may find comfort and comradery.