I did it! I survived another Mother’s Day Weekend. Now I know that a happily married wife and mother of two beautiful, joyful and healthy children should not have a hard time getting through the mommy season. But you see I wear motherhood just a little bit differently.
Growing up the conversation about “what we would do if we got pregnant” would go around my circle of girlfriends. Not that any of us were even in a relationship, let alone thinking about boys in that way but for some reason motherhood was never off the table for discussion. We would throw out our very limited and un-educated responses to all the options that we assumed came with this circumstance but I have learned since then that until you are in it, until all the realities and consequences of that one choice are made clear, you have no idea what you would do or what you are capable of.
I found out that I was going to be a mother when I was 25 years old. I was in an off season with my “on-again-off-again” longtime boyfriend and I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I was pregnant. When that stick reassured what I had known for several weeks my life was changed forever.
After a few VERY lonely months full of secrets, lies, shame, hiding and denial I found myself against a wall. I knew that a decision had to be made about what I was going to do. Here I was, going through it, knowing that my childhood answers weren’t going to be enough, that they weren’t even close to what my current reality looked like. All I knew was that I was not ready to be a mother. After several options were crossed off the list, there was one left and in my heart I knew, no matter the consequences that this was going to be my best shot.
I had about a month and a half before delivery. It was all becoming very real. I knew that picking a family would help with the emotional detachment and was a necessary step, but I will tell you, there is nothing in this world that is more stupid and crazy and unbelievable, and ridiculous and unfathomable than to sit down with fifty scrapbook pages and bios and have to pick from the pile for who you want to raise the baby that will forever be connected to you and your heart.
Seriously? How do you even begin to work through that process? I remember it clear as day. I received a phone call as the process of elimination was about to begin. It was my sister, tears in her voice. We want to adopt him. Let us adopt him, to give you some time. As a mother, she knew what I was about to go through and knew that I had no clue.
She knew the instant connection that a mother felt with a child at the time of birth, how quickly that maternal instinct kicked in. Knowing what she knew and the love she had for her children, she didn’t think this was something that anyone could survive. She wanted me to have options. I could never take her up on that, so there I was at the kitchen table, a staple meeting place for my family.
I was joined by my mom and dad and brother. We spread out all the pages and started looking through them, pouring over them, studying them, laughing at them, crying at them. Creating the NO piles and the MAYBE piles and STRONG POSSIBILITY piles. Going through piles again, changing our minds, debating on likes and dislikes, deal breakers and requirements. Hours passed.
At the end of the night we had narrowed it down to two very different families. Finally I went to bed with these two profiles debating in my mind over and over the pros and cons of each, not knowing them but knowing everything about them. They were being judged.
I was going to deem one family worthy of a child and one family not. I did not want that kind of power over the life changing events for any person.
I was praying for a different perspective in the morning. To see things in a new light. I found that really unlikely given the circumstances.
Something happened to me the next morning that I was not expecting. I was dreading the decision that was placed before me, and I did not want to face the day. But I got up and looked over at the nightstand at the pictures, the faces, the lives of these strangers and I knew instantly. One family was picked; the other was put back in the pile. He had a family, I was carrying their child. The perspective had shifted, just like I had asked it to.
As I prepared for the hospital and what relinquishment of my rights looked like I spent a lot of time with my case worker going over everything in great details. Nothing could prepare me for the reality, but I was glad that I knew what I was signing before I was in that moment under so much pressure and emotion. The birth father had signed his papers a few months before, so I was literally the last thing holding the parental rights in my control.
I sat nervously on the couch in my parents’ family room waiting for the hospital to call, to tell me that they were ready for me to come in to deliver. I was hungry and scared. I wanted to talk with my mom about what was about to happen to my body, my emotions. She didn’t look at me, didn’t talk to me that morning. We all had to deal and process this in our own way. I knew she loved me and she was going to be there at the hospital but that was all she could do. I don’t blame her for that.
For weeks I had been telling myself that I did not want to see him after delivery. That as soon as that baby was born, I needed to be able to pass him along to the loving arms of his mother….or I never would have been able to let him go! I was very glad that his family was going to be there. They were all SO HAPPY, and they are an incredible family!!! I couldn’t have picked a better family for this baby boy, but I was dying inside and it was so hard.
I sat in the delivery room alone for most of the day. A few visitors in and out but everyone left me alone for the most part. Either they were trying to be respectful or they couldn’t handle the reality of the situation. I would have given anything to be pacing the waiting room with them.
I learned something so sacred and special that day. There are very few things in this world that are more precious and more amazing to a mother than hearing their baby cry for the first time. The second he came into this world, I wanted him close. They placed my son on my chest and he cried.
That sound, that precious, sacred sound filled the room. My heart was breaking. I knew that I was sharing that very first cry with someone else. That cry wasn’t just for me. I knew that out in the hall, listening and waiting through that door was his mother. I know that when she heard the very first cry of our son, she wept.
I became a mother for the first time 9 years ago. 3 days after my son was born I became a Birth Mother. He is always with me. On Mother’s Day I wake up to my beautiful children running into my room, crawling into bed with me and my husband, telling me how much they love me and our family. My heart is so full. But he never leaves me. Just for a moment the world gets quiet and the reality of my life is very clear. I made a choice many years ago that changed my life forever.
I wear motherhood a little differently.