My name is Lindsay, and I have been the birth mother of a child who was placed for adoption for seven years. I chose adoption
because I believed, and still believe, that adoption was the best decision for myself and my baby. Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy was almost terrifying for me, as I wasn’t even close to ready to be taking on the role of parent. Being a single mother for six months was overwhelmingly lonely. The adoption process was a rollercoaster ride, with very high highs and very low lows. To this day, I do not regret my adoption decision
. Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t face obstacles of misunderstanding as a birth mother.
I Am a Confident Birth Mother
I understand to the full extent why I choose adoption, and I am a confident birth mother. That doesn’t mean that I don’t face stigma and misunderstanding, even from family and friends. My family did not support
my adoption decision. I believe that certain members of my family have come to accept it, but some of them still disagree with my decision. Friends of mine believe I am brave, but still don’t understand what it’s like to be a birth mother. Strangers commend me, but sometimes I sense a hint of pity or judgement.
My Healing Journey
I have spent years writing about voluntarily choosing adoption and walking a path of healing
after going through the adoption process. It took me two years after going through the adoption process before I could really claim to be on a tangible healing path.
Healing started out as almost an impossible journey for me. It was so hard to process through my grief and loneliness
. However, over time, the healing process became a bit smoother, and processing the grief became easier. The reason that I have chosen writing as my main coping tool is because it comes naturally to me. I have been keeping journals
ever since I had my first diary when I was 11 years old.
My Goals in Writing
My goal in writing is twofold. First, I need to continue to heal. I have found that ever since I learned to put pen to paper, my healing road has been much smoother. The beauty of keeping a journal is that you can confess any emotion to your paper, and if you choose, it can remain secret forever. Just between you and your diary. You can even burn the pages or the entire journal for a more cathartic experience.
Second, I have a testimony to share that I believe may help others heal. I believe that testimony, or telling a story about your life and the miracle that follows, is a powerful spiritual tool. It can give others permission to accept healing into their own life. It can encourage others when they feel they have nothing left to give to their own journey. It can shed insight onto a situation that needs a few more lenses on it. Those are my goals in writing regarding writing about healing from choosing adoption.
Talking to Family
Although I am a confident birth mother, that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with the misconceptions that others may have
of me and my choice. When dealing with family, I have found that they don’t want to talk about the fact that I chose adoption. It’s as if they have skipped their own grieving process and went straight to acceptance. In my opinion, this is not the healthy choice. Sometimes, when I talk about my son with them, they take slight jabs at me. The truth is, they do not mean to hurt me, but they never processed their own hurt themselves. I am making assumptions when I state this, but I also know the members of my family very well. My choice for adoption is still somewhat of an open wound for some of them.
Talking to Friends
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. I have chosen my friends to be a small circle of women that I can trust with anything. I used to choose having many friends, none of whom I would get very close to. These days, I am very open and close with my best friends. While my friends are amazing, and they are incredibly supportive of me being a birth mother, there is one thing that they don’t understand: I may be a birth mother, but that means I am still a mother.
Sometimes when we talk about kids, they make comments about me not understanding what it is like to have children. The truth is, I do understand what it is like to have children, because I have a son. I worry about the same things that other parents do, like emotional growth and development, academics, and my son being happy and healthy. What my friends don’t understand is that being a birth mother doesn’t make me any less of a mother than they are.
Talking to Strangers
Strangers and acquaintances are the ones who are the hardest to deal with. One of the questions that someone will ask in general conversation is, “Do you have kids?” My answer depends on what I feel like talking about at the time. Sometimes I say, “Yes, but not with me.” Other times, when I am not feeling like opening up, I will simply say, “No.” However, when I say no to having children, it makes me feel guilty for not acknowledging my son. Yet, when I say that I have a child, it is usually followed by a brief explanation that I chose adoption for my son. My quick answer to having a child I placed for adoption is this: “I have a child that I placed for adoption years ago. However, it’s an open adoption
. I see him and talk to him. He is amazing, and I basically have the fairy tale open adoption.” I find that this answer makes strangers and acquaintances less uncomfortable.
The judgment and awkwardness of discussing being a birth mother is something that I am still not used to. There are so many stereotypes
that society has regarding being a birth mother. As a writer and advocate for adoption education and understanding, I have a personal agenda to inform others on what open adoption is and how beautiful it can be. However, just because I believe in this cause doesn’t mean I am always in the mood to deal with explaining my decision to others.
Birth Mother Challenges
As a birth mother, I still face challenges seven years later. I think that every birth mother does. In fact, I know many women who have chosen adoption, and every single one of them chooses to deal with it differently than the next one. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to be a birth mother, no matter how many years it has been since adoption was chosen and what circumstances led to that choice. The truth is that everyone copes with their issues differently. Everyone chooses a different level of personal privacy. It’s important that we respect the boundaries that others put up, even if they are not boundaries that we would not necessarily have ourselves.
I am a confident birth mother, but I am still prone to falling into the self-doubt of humanity. I am not perfect, but I sure try my best to be the most mature version of myself that I am able to be. I believe that is the best we can do at any given time. While there are challenges and speed bumps along the path of healing, there are also great victories and miracles along the way.
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.