I have been struggling lately.
The move to China has been slow and there are a million things that have made me angry. When I get angry I do one of three things: clean, write and/or search for a connection.
Now, while those may sound super healthy, trust me, they aren’t really. It is more of my way of hiding from what is really happening in my heart. Also, I spent a lot of years self-medicating with negative coping mechanisms and so I try to avoid those these days…
Anyway, I have been searching for connection to the struggle of transition and moving cross-culturally and I have found some. Most of it was laced with a caveat of “other people who haven’t done this won’t get it.” However, I have a couple of friends who know and love me, who have recognized that it must be incredibly hard to be homeless and dependent on other people while lingering in uncertainty of when we will leave the country, yet constantly sitting on GO. It is. But to my knowledge, neither of these women has been homeless and/or moved cross-culturally, and that got me thinking about birthmom pain.
In my new book Mine, Yours & Ours (coming soon) I make an attempt to get the reader to understand birthmom pain. I wonder though, if you already get it; you just don’t know it yet.
“And here is the best way I can relate it to you: Being pregnant, when you don’t want to be, is similar to killing yourself.
Too extreme? Bear with me. You have this image of yourself that you are constantly projecting. It is the person you want to be and you want others to believe that you are. When you get caught doing something that destroys that image, you kill that image and therefore a part of you…So, if you have ever been caught with your pants down (pardon the pun), you know how it feels.”
There is also the post-placement pain. The one that wrecks lives. It goes a little more like this:
“There are consequences to our choices. The shadow of Dylan is part of mine. If anyone thinks that women who place their children for adoption are not owning the consequences of their actions, if anyone thinks they made their bed and they should lie in it, or if anyone thinks they have taken the easy way out, let me put that to rest. I live daily with the ramifications of getting pregnant and placing a child for adoption. It is in my marriage and my family. It is explaining to my young children what I did and that I am not placing them with another mommy and daddy to raise. It is in the seven year old newly placed boy, who asked me point blank, ‘Why did you give your baby away? Didn’t you love him?’ It comes when I walk one of my clients out of the hospital without the fruit of her labor. It leaks into my overeating and my driven work habits. It is present in my distance from former loved ones. Perhaps most grievous would be the mask I wear to protect myself from caring what others think, and when someone comes along, my mask gets the love and I don’t.”
Have you ever made a choice, seemingly innocent, that haunted you the rest of your life? An abortion, a left turn before that wreck, one too many drinks before an overnight stay in the county jail, a lie to your husband about spending that extra cash before you can’t pay your light bill, watching porn ignoring the rampant sex trade industry you are participating in, letting your mind wander before you heart does out of the sanctity of marriage, believing you are not at fault about anything before finding yourself alone, and on and on and on.
Have you ever suffered a loss? The loss of a child, the loss of the ideal child, the loss of status, the loss of a role, the loss of connection, the loss of relationship, the loss of control…
There are moments in time and losses in life that shape us, that give us charged emotions for years to come. You are probably thinking of yours right now. Friend, you get me. You get this kind of pain, which doesn’t minimize the pain of a birthmom but gives you the power to empathize and connect. What a gift!!!
There has been some buzz around the internet lately about the ability to connect to birthmoms and the challenge of walking with expectant moms on adoption plans. If you are wondering how to love these women well, get in touch with that part of you, that moment, that loss, and use it for good to create a connection to that part of her. She needs it and it gives purpose and beauty to both of your stories.
Dig deep, friends. Love big.