One thing I didn't know about being a birth mother is the grief. I knew I would grieve, but I didn't realize that it wouldn't hit me right away. It didn't hit me until about a month or so ago, several months after placement. I also didn't realize that it was not an event to conquer and move on from, it will be a part of me forever. Grief will always be ingrained in my soul. Suddenly, I'm in this black hole that I can't get out of. It feels like part of me has died: the mother that should have been. When I explain this to anyone who isn't a birth mother, I can tell they feel I'm overreacting. Admittedly, I can be a bit dramatic, but this is not theatrics. I've often heard this feeling described as mourning the loss of your motherhood. Grief is overwhelming, it is one of the most powerful feelings that I have ever experienced.
Sometimes, it takes everything in me to just get out of bed. I don't want to. I don't want to face the world and figure out where I fit, post-placement. I see a child and my arms ache. I hear of a new pregnancy or birth and it makes me sad. Someone talks about getting induced and I panic, remembering what happened to me during my induction. Some days are worse than others. Sometimes I feels like I'm never going to be okay again. I know that I'll never be the same. I will never be as "carefree" as I once was. I look at everything from the eyes of a mother; a birth mother. The world has changed, if only from where I'm standing.
I was never taught how to handle grief. It isn't something that we allow as an open part of our culture in America. You can't grieve in public without people looking at you like you're crazy. People don't want to hear how hard it is. They want to hear how much you love your child and how grateful you are to have an open adoption because "it could be worse". I'm tired of hearing "you should be happy because your child is happy." I am elated at his happiness, but I am also devastated that he is not with me. I feel guilty for grieving because my child is alive and thriving. I feel guilty that I share my grief so openly, because I know that it concerns those who care about me. My brain is a complicated mess of emotions, as is the case with many birth mothers that I know.