Last month, I went to my very first birth mother’s support group meeting. It’s hard to believe it’s been thirteen years since I placed my son, Noah, for adoption. My life was much different back then than it is today. Not in ways one might imagine. I mean, I’m still single, I still live in an apartment and I drive a ten year old Toyota. But emotionally, I’m a different person today than I was thirteen years ago.
When I discovered I was expecting Noah, I was already a working single parent of my twelve month old son, Jaren. This new pregnancy was unsettling to say the least. I was very aware of the backlash I would get from my son’s father (who by the way was Jaren’s father), and my family, and friends, and co-workers. To my despair, my greatest fear was realized when I confronted my son’s father and confessed to my family.
My first instinct was to hide this pregnancy from the general population and have an abortion. I had had an abortion previously and I knew what to expect. And my son’s father requested for me to have an abortion and even provided the funds to help guarantee his request. But for some reason, when the day came for the abortion, I couldn’t go through with it. I don’t know why. Maybe because I had gone through the experience of growing a child inside me and giving birth to a heavenly human being, it somehow changed me. For whatever reason, I decided to carry this new baby inside me and place him for adoption. However, I would not be emotionally prepared for what was about to occur next in my life.
Any woman who has ever been pregnant knows our emotions are in a bi-polar stage as our body and hormones go through a variety of changes. Add the fact that I was a single mom, no supportive partner or family, and then having to face the facts that I may need to let go of my baby boy once he is no longer attached to me would discharge any human’s beings emotional state off the charts. Luckily, I was drug free because if not, it would have been very easy to escape into some kind of comatose reality.
After Noah was adopted, I went into a deep depression. My eyes fought back tears daily, my face lay heavily on my skull and the mere sound of laughter sounded like hyena’s cackling. Subliminally, I was thinking, “How can they laugh when I am hurting so much inside?”
It seemed everyone around me was enjoying life but I was stuck; stuck in a world that no longer existed.
Now, thirteen years later, sitting in that meeting room, I realized I am in a much better place today, at least emotionally. You see, I recognized the sadness that penetrated these birth mother’s eyes, I felt the sorrow they were trying to hide and I understood the heartache that drenched their body. All those emotions lay heavily on the birth mother and we want so much to ring it all out of our body like a wet rag but we can’t. We’re trapped in this state of helplessness. We’ve been stripped to our core and our weakness is exposed and we become vulnerable to any attack that is thrown at us. We are at the mercy of our choice and sometimes, our regret.
No, I didn’t know these birth mothers personally, but I already knew their emotions and their heart. I know who they are. They are amazing women who were forced to make decisions under turbulent conditions. They are women who were willing to risk their reputation and public judgment for their sacrifice. They are women who helped other women become mothers so they could experience motherhood through the generosity of a birth mother.
I wish I had a magic wand to erase all the birth mother’s sorrow but I don’t and I can’t. And even though we share this experience, I know that each birth mother needs to grieve the loss of her child under her terms and in her own special way. In the end, I hope my support and seeing me at thirteen years out, that these birth mothers could see that I am still standing and I continue to heal every day, and my quality of life continues to increase.
Life after adoption is not the end of a birth mother’s story. But rather, a new life emerges, new chapters begin and our stories continue. It’s a story of love, strength, perseverance and faith. And hopefully, one day when her child is fully grown into adulthood, it will be a story of thanksgiving. Thanks be to God.