It's nearly impossible to explain what I feel at this stage in my second accidental pregnancy, but this is where I try. I have gone over and over the events in my life that brought me here, twice. The actions and lack of actions cause most to shake their head in disbelief. Believe me, I am shaking my head right along with them.
If you are unfamiliar with my story here it is in a nutshell. I had my first child in 2014 in the middle of an unhealthy marraige. After seperating with my now Ex husband I became pregnant in a short lived relationship. I placed that baby with her family October 2017 through the process and blessing of adoption. I am still a single mom just trying to figure out life and love after so many unexpected things.
My adoption experience in 2017 taught me so much! It taught me sacrifice, selfless love and an inner strength I never imagined I could have. I learned to trust my instincts and fight for my children when certain parties didn't agree. I gained a second family and a self respect I may not have found otherwise. Through choosing adoption I faced questions of why and I'm hoping this post can answer those questions.
Even with all the positive that came from placing Juniper in 2017, I've come to realize it didnt cure all my flawed decision making. I thought wisdom and control in my intimate relationships was among the lessons learned, but in August of 2018 another positive pregnacy test found its way into my hands. Shame and embarrasment filled me first, then fear and confusion followed them with hearbreak. Joy and excitement weren't among the emotions this time around, very much like my other pregnancies. I have conducted my life in a way that each positive test has only brought panic! These negative emotions surrounding pregnancy are ones I am very familiar with. Some may say that's dark and sad but the truth is the truth. I haven't had the stability a baby requires and deserves.
My opinions about what children need and deserve in the home are not everyones' opinions and I understand that, but until I find a positive test in my hand while in a healthy marraige where my husband and I are committed to eachother and the success of our baby, I won't feel that excitement. I can't pretend playing house is enough for a child. I won't let the fun and cute anticipation of a baby cloud my judgement of what is actually best. Long term success and happiness for a child requires two parents in the home. I don't have that, the father doesn't have that, but there are plenty of deserving couples who do!
I'm sure all of this sounds harsh but I can say it because I've been on both sides. I kept a baby when I knew her parents wouldn't be together and I placed one with an incredible couple able to provide that stability. Each of my kids are perfect! They each have all the potential in the world to succeed but I am raw and genuine when I say the baby I placed has the home life and parental dynamic all kids deserve. My first daughter is with her dad half the week and then me half the week. That is a different enviroment and parenting style on constant rotation. No one can tell me that is best or healthy for a young heart and mind. No one can say that torn feeling between mom and dad doesn't affect her. I know because I face it daily. I see the pain in my child's face when she has to leave her dad to come with me or leave me to go with her dad. I feel responsible and even though I wouldn't trade her for the world I wish every second things were defferent for her.
I completely understand and empathize with those who have faced divorce and that is now the reality for their children. I am a statistic of divorce after all. Sometimes it's necessary. However, I am 23 weeks pregnant. I have the chance and time to change that reality for this baby just as I did with my second baby. I have the opportunity now to give this baby everything he deserves. I can't help but follow all these feelings up with the obvious truth that I have demonstrated irresponsibility in a big way with all three of my pregnancies. I have been wreckless with human life and the very least I can do is conscider better options going forward.
This is blunt, but having sex does not qualify you for parenthood. Making a baby is the easy part almost anyone can do but it does not mean you are ready or deserving to parent. Self control and building a healthy home life BEFORE having sex does. Preparation, dedication and intent make parents. I don't feel anymore deserving to parent this baby than a stranger on the street. Yes, having a newborn is so indescribably wonderful, being the one and only for that child is an amazing thing. However, the minute I chose to neglect safety options or abstinence in an uncommited relationship, this stopped being about me.
I am not here to condemn those who have parented from a similar situation. I am just sharing my opinion and feelings about my own hand in bringing innocent spirits to this world.
So why am I choosing to parent?
It takes two to tango. Both parents have rights.
As much as I already love this sweet baby; that love, for me, doesn't translate to keeping him and continuing to struggle to provide in hopes of one day getting it together. It doesn't mean dropping him off with a state funded facility 40 hours a week for a stranger to raise. The love God naturally gives mothers doesn't mean ignoring the facts. The facts are, I have to work full time to make ends meet. I am no where near remarraige or offering a complete family for my kids. The option for me to stay home and help delevop his talents and self worth won't be on the table for a long time. The time I will have with him is even less because I"ll be spliting it with his dad. The father has to work full time and is in similar circumstances.
Even though I feel one way, love translates different for everyone. Love, to him, may mean facing the struggle. It may mean finding peace with split parent time for the next 18 years. That love may mean focusing on what is good and fun about parenting. The difference in opinion is what makes this hard.
My feelings about this have been taken in all sorts of ways. I have heard I am selfish, I have been accused of just not wanting him and I have been asked why I am "taking it out on the baby." On the contrary, I am sincerely wanting what is best for him, even if that means it's not with me.
The past five months have been difficult. The past five months have brought justifications and acceptance for some things and just further confusion for others. The nine months it takes to bring a baby to the world forces you to take a good hard look at who you are and what you really have to offer. I have had the chance to bring this process to fruition three times and each time I have seen what I lack. I have also seen my potential as a mother. I have seen strengths and felt hope in one day having what I want, but even then I am overcome with the knowledge that adoption isn't my choice, it's God's. It is beautiful and beneficial for anyone blessed enough to be involved.
I have consistently had a hard time taking the option of adoption off the table and despite my strong stance, I know I can and will rise to the occasion of parenting. I will make the very most of the time I have with him and I know he will be exuisite!
I may feel one way people don't understand and that is okay because I know it is with my child's best interest at heart. The father may feel a way I don't understand but in time the gap will be bridged. The outcome will make sense and more valuable life lessons will be learned.
I love all my kids very much! I feel the way I feel because I love them. Bringing babies to this world is a special calling that I have come to accept. I truly believe there are bigger things at play and they will be made known to me in time. I don't get affected by opinions of others or lack of understanding because this is not about how people see me. This is about these children and their future. I am prepared to find peace with the results of my actions and as I move forward may I always focus on the bigger picture, and birth control. ;) A little humor to lighten the heaviness of this post... :/
I have debated keeping all of these things to myself but I need to face it in order to move on from the negative emotional reprocussions of a repeat mistake. I understand how huge it is but life is long and I have felt the mercies of God and support of so many loved ones.
As the due date nears I pray for understanding. I pray that this sweet boy knows I love him. I am sure of his need to be here and even from an unplanned beginning that his life will be everything he deserves.
What is it like to be a birth mom through the holidays?
I placed my little girl in October last year, just as the holiday season was beginning. It was raw through the following months and being around family was nice but I still felt a loss for a little spirit that could have been joining us. I guess I was surprised at how much of my emotional progress depended on me. I had assumed the holiday spirit and family traditions would carry me through it. I was supported immensely by family, friends and strangers who followed my story. Even with that added strength, somehow it still wasn't enough.
I had to fake a few smiles and force myself to attend some family gatherings. I felt bad I wasn't more in tune with the loved ones I did have around me but I found some peace in owning how I felt. I finally decided to give credit to the taxing emotional experience I has just gone through. My biggest saving grace, and not all birth moms have this mercy, was being around my baby girl.
I am blessed with an open adoption and an incredible friendship with my adoptive parents so as I look back to last year, being in touch with them was what made the difference. I was able to see them and remind myself she wasn't gone, she was just bringing another family joy. A joy without comparison! That time spent with them was doing a handful of healing on it's own.
If your adoption is closed and that relief is harder to find this time of year I have a few thoughts that may help bring some peace. Those moments of loss are incredibly difficult and can bring you to question your decision. My advice is to think back to your "Why." Why you chose this for your baby to begin with. Remind yourself of those peaceful feelings you had when you chose a better path for your precious child. Yes, they aren't with you for these special times but they are building bonds and memories with the people God placed here for them and you're an angel for making that possible!
It is absolutely challenging to stay positive and upbeat every day, all the time, I understand that. Continue to surround yourself with support and lean on your agency if needed. They saw you through the process and can give you the perspective to help you get through the heartache. I know I can reach out to my case worker for strength, no matter the time of year.
If you're years past placement or even decades, and adoption was a part of your past no one knows about. Don't do this season alone. You can also find a calm from support. Seek out an agency or fellow birth parents. Having someone know what you're going through will make a world of difference.
Open or closed, fresh or seasoned; regardless of the stage you're in, let those around you lend support! While families gather and what's meant to be joyous seems daunting, remember why you chose adoption. I personally found it helpful to do a few things:
- Light candles and bring in scents from my childhood that helped me feel comforted and close to my roots.
- Play traditional holiday music to remind me of the purpose of this season and in turn remind me how important my decision was.
- Write down how you feel and know it's okay to be sad, confused, lonely, etc. but try to find joy despite the pain. Reach out honestly for connection and support!
As we head into this holiday season I have been able to feel more in control of my emotions by preparing for those down days. I have set aside alone time to write, read, and pamper myself physically and emotionally. I have a system and visits scheduled with my adoptive family.
If your heart aches through this season or all year long, try to move forward knowing you are admired and loved for your sacrifice. My heart is with you during this season and I pray for happy holidays for you and your loved ones!
I haven't written, spoke or thought of the pain of my adoption process in months. Not because I hurt, or it's too much to handle but because I've taken time and steps to heal.
Four days from now marks my daughters first birthday. It marks a year of life passing by since I let go. A year since I signed legally binding documents stating I was giving up my rights to parent her. I was giving up my place as her mom, her support, her cheerleader. I was giving that role to someone else.
With every initial, every signature on those documents I denied the right to be there for her first step, her first word. She will grow and learn and become a beautiful little girl with dreams and goals and I won't be there. She will crush on her first boy and experience disappointments and heartbreaks and I won't be there to brush her hair and tell her she is beautiful. She will win the spelling bee and score a run in T ball and look to her awesome parents for their proud smiles. Life will go on as it has for the past year and she will know someone else as mom. She will know someone else as her comforter and hero.
As hard as all of that is. It's okay. I'm okay.
When I left the hospital after such a huge life changing experience I promised myself a year from that day I would be the woman I wasn't. I would be the mom I wasn't and I would change myself and my life into what I wished I had had for that baby girl. I foresaw me going back to school, starting my own business and possibly buying a place of my own.
Well here we are and I have done none of those things. I am no more fit to parent than I was a year ago. I have no more of a savings or education than I had a year ago and I have every reason to feel discouraged and disappointed. I could feel like this huge event really changed nothing. I could look at the lack of change and be angry with myself. But I don't.
Instead, I am proud of myself. I took the last year and made no big changes. I took opportunities and knew to wait. Even if I wanted to go for something I would normally just jump into, I grounded myself and I took time. There is a healing that comes with stability. I had never given myself that time before and I believe that was a contributing factor to the behavior that got me there in the first place.
Knowing your limits will make the difference between healing completely and a temporary bandaid. I may not have become a changed, 180° version of myself but the last year has made the difference in me moving forward. It has helped me feel okay that my little girl is a perfect one year old with her family. I am blessed to get to see her thriving and be able to work on thriving myself.
No, every day is not rainbows but I feel what I need to feel and allow myself time and grace to work through it.
If I were to offer healing advice to fellow birth mothers I would say three simple words a good friend of mine tells me. Give yourself Grace.
Nothing comes overnight and if you are working your butt off to become the woman your baby can be proud of, don't get discouraged by the amount of time it takes to be okay. You did one of the hardest, bravest things you could have possibly done. Now surround yourself with people and things you love and grace will do the rest! Life is long and the time to conquer your fears and weaknesses will come and you will be better equipped to do so if you have taken the steps to heal.
Whether you are an open or closed adoption, you deserve to grieve and process in your own way. Allow yourself to do that! Find resources if you hit a wall. Remind yourself why you made that selfless decision and fight for yourself in the same way.
My heart is with you and I admire your sacrifice. Each mother heals in their own way and like we should give ourselves, give all people grace.
I am sitting here on my bed tonight, next to my peacefully sleeping 3 year old and my mind is returning to all the nights she has laid beside me, all the kicking, the cooing, the drooling on my arm as I hold her little body. Those moments are surreal now. Time has a funny and unfair way of stealing feelings and memories from us, but not those ones. Those moments never leave you.
My second baby girl is never going to be snuggled next to me in my bed. I will never get to wake up to her coos and movements. The days of her waking me up in the middle of the night ended the day she was born.
The months leading up to her birth time couldn’t go fast enough. I was over being fat. I was over wearing the reminder of the lowest point in my life. I was tired of the anxiety anticipating what was coming. It was exhausting throwing that optimistic smile on day after day, month after month but it had to be done.
Through that time, as left right and sideways as the emotions were, I felt pretty peaceful in my decision and as the relationship with Christian and Chelsey developed that resolve only grew stronger. So by delivery day I was ready! I kept in together for the labor, delivery and surprisingly the relinquishment.
And then the light.
Turning that light off killed me.
It may sound strange but I loved that whole experience in the hospital! I adored the people there and the special event that took place. I got to bring the most perfect baby girl into the world to join her beautiful family. I watched it all happen and I never wanted to leave that feeling, that room.
Tears are dropping on my keyboard with each word I remember about that night. In 3 months, this is the first time I have cried about this.
The sun was going down on October 6th 2017 and after the papers were signed I started to panic inside that it was over. All of it was over. My fears started to sink in about the life after “the hospital.” I worried that this was the part where I fade out and became just a name in a story.
The night was gaining the essence of finality as the nurse went through the steps to check me out and I remember wishing they told me I had to stay. Unfortunately I was in great shape to go home. Everyone there was checking up on my emotions and I remained calm and kept repeating myself, “No I am good! I need to get home to Haven anyway.” Which yes, I wanted to hold my sweet Haven but I wasn’t sure I was ready to be reminded there was a life outside and I was all the sudden alone in my body with an emotional mystery ahead of me.
My dad was there to drive me home and so I put a bag on each shoulder and stood staring at the room that held my whole heart. That moment of scanning the room, wishing I could stay forever with that precious baby girl who was no longer physically or legally mine, broke me. I turned, held my hand on the switch for what felt like minutes and finally I turned off the light.
I don’t know how to describe everything that happened after that. My mind was foggy. My sweet dad was so cute walking my limp body out to the car. I watched Christian load the car seat into the car next to ours and my heart ached. We arrived at my quiet house to Haven playing with her toys and her aunt Rachel on the floor. I wanted to be alone so I kept trying to shoo everyone out, especially my dad as I knew he would get me talking when I didn’t want to. Luckily, he knew to hover because as much as I couldn't admit it then, I needed him that night.
I still don’t have a time frame from the time I left the hospital to the time I passed out asleep from sobbing. I talked it all out with my dad for literally hours and then slept really hard! It was way into the night before my dad felt okay to leave.
I can’t say that the reality even hit me until I woke up in my room, no belly, no baby and no freaking idea what to do with myself. In spite of the glazed-over state of mind, I just got up and took my first steps into the first day of the rest of my life.
What in the world do I do now?