Holidays can bring great joy or deep sadness. Some people live year-round just for the holiday season, while others could happily skip it. The sentiments revolving around holiday time have to do with past experiences that people have and the memories they have around holiday times. For a birth mother, the holidays can definitely prove to be challenging. There are so many emotions that swirl around choosing adoption for baby, and many of them can rear their ugly head around this time of year.
One of the toughest emotions I have had to deal with is loneliness. I had my son co-sleeping for six months, and I’ll never forget, after adoption placement, rolling over and there was no baby there. I felt awful. It hurt my heart so bad to miss my son in bed with me. However, over time, it became easier and I stopped rolling over to see if he was there. During the holidays, feelings of loneliness have come up as I am surrounding by other children, except for him. Except for my birth child. It used to eat at me. On Christmas day, I would watch other children in my family get excited to open presents from Santa, but I just couldn’t bring myself to partake in the joy. I felt so lonely and empty without my child’s smiling face. The first Christmas after placement was the hardest. However, I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year!
Grief is almost guaranteed when it comes to going through an adoption process as a birth mother. No matter how much you might want to escape it, it’s just there lurking. The best way to handle grief is to allow for its waves to come and go. In this way, the waves become less violent and frequent over time. Coming around to the holiday season, even many years later post-placement, may cause grief to sprout up again. Holiday pictures are something that I do with my family now, and my birth son is not in those pictures, as he is with his parents and his family. I miss seeing our faces next to each other’s in pictures. He looks like me. However, I get to see pictures of him around the holidays, and he is bursting with joy.
That’s another important emotion to hang on to: Joy. Joy is what fills your heart with pure love in the midst of despair. It brings with it a sense of peace. Knowing that your child is where they were meant to be, and happy and healthy, can bring tides of joy. I receive photo books from my son and his parents, and I love them. It reminds me of why I made my adoption decision in the first place, and I’m so grateful that my adoption is as open as it is.
The intricate beauty of these emotions is that they can be felt at any time in any place. Don’t let them dictate your holiday decisions, though, and don’t let the negative feelings take away the joy from the positive feelings. Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace the point you are at in your healing. Enjoy where you are and perhaps even be grateful that you will be even farther on your healing journey tomorrow.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.