I just wrote this for consideration to be on the National Council for Adoption website, only I was supposed to use 450 characters, not words. Oops.
So, here I am. A recap of my story in 450 words, most of which will not show up on the NCAF website.
When I was twenty I faced an unplanned pregnancy and a choice that would shape me as a person. Through time and consideration, I knew that I was supposed to choose life and place my baby for adoption. At the time my heart was like a cup with a small hole in it. I couldn’t ever quite fill it up, as desperately as I tried. Being pregnant and not married, after being raised in the church, only compounded the problem.
I went into a maternity home and hid from the world, feeling ashamed of my situation and myself. My life was ruled by fear. The fear of what people would say or think being the foremost among my fears.
In March of 2000, I had a healthy baby boy. After I handed my baby to his parents and walked away, that small hole was ripped into a huge, gaping wound. My heart no longer had the capacity to hold anything, good or bad. I was numb.
As time went on, my wound wasn’t healing. My grief was a nasty little man with pale skin and a whip, reminding me of my slavery to a great loss. How could I move on? And if I did move on, would I lose my connection to my baby boy? If I wasn’t thinking of him every moment of every day, what did that say about me?
Fear, grief, and sadness—a perfect cocktail to keep me numb to my pain and never heal. As I kept drinking from that cup, I was getting worse.
Then, a few years ago I decided I had nothing else to lose. I would face this pain head on, feel it and grieve it. To do this, I began to write my story just for myself. Reliving the events and moments was incredibly painful. I would sit at my computer and weep while typing.
To my surprise, grieving didn’t look like giving up my experience or loosing my connection with my son. Instead, it looked like living without fear and being filled with joy. Now, I do not grieve the loss of my son as much as I celebrate the life of my son. That is a very healing thing.
Being a birthmother is a wonderful, gut-wrenching experience. It is a unique and quiet journey that most of my birthmother friends only talk about with other birthmothers. Because I wished others knew more of our side of the story, I published my book, Delivered: My Harrowing Journey as a Birthmother.
Unshackling myself from fear and speaking out about my experience as a birthmother helps me continue to celebrate my son, my choice, and life.