Living the Life of a Birthmother
Dealing with Birthmother Grief the Only Way I Know How
This blog is mostly about living as a birthmother because since November 18th, 1987, that has been the only way I have left to live. That’s the day I signed the relinquishment papers in some dark office in Newton, MA and there has never been a way to get back to the life that could have been. I gave away my baby to people I had never met and then tried to go on living my life as the agency and everyone else expected me to. It didn’t work.
Adoption Affects Birthmothers for a Lifetime
So, more than 23 years later; adoption is a huge force on my life affect me and my whole family every single day. I have no choice anymore. I can’t go back and change it, so I blog. Chances are, if you have found your way here to this blog, you are needing to know what it means to live the life of a birthmother.
That means you are most likely:
- Another birthmother
- Pregnant and thinking about placing your baby for adoption
- Are an adoptee
- Could be an adoptive parent or considering adopting a child or infant either domestically or through international adoption
- Know, care for, love, are sibling of, are married to, in a relationship with, researching on, or
- somehow interested in one or all of the above.
That’s good. Because most things I write about are related to birthmothers, adoption and adoptee rights in some way, shape or form. I’m definitely a “niche blogger”.
No Escape from the Birthmother Club
I think the most important thing to know about living the life of a birthmother is that it is never over. It comes in and settles on our skins and we can never wash it out. Forever stained and continuously affected in ways we never dreamed. And no one can tell us how it feels, or prepare us for what it feels. There are so many things I never knew about being a birthmother until after I let adoption into my life and then it was too late.
What Adoption Experts Told Us to Expect was Wrong.
We can’t get over it.
We don’t always go on to have other children when we are “ready”.
- It didn’t get easier as time went on.
- The sense of peace actual erodes if you are lucky enough to buy into
- it for a while.
- Our children were not always better off.
- Reunion isn’t always a perfect happy ending.
- The years are gone forever.
- We are hurt. We are sad. And it won’t go away but only changes through time.
- And you ask yourself “What is wrong with me?”
- It’s not you.
Adoption Doesn’t Play Out the Way the Professionals Told Us
How you are feeling is normal and you are not alone. Because so many of us feel this way. And if you don’t, well then god bless you and I mean that in the purest of ways. God bless that you have somehow managed to avoid the pitfalls that comes with many lives of birthmothers; the grief, the loss, the unavoidable sadness around your child’s birthday and holidays, your sensitivity to all things adoption and or baby related. If you’re not in the same reality I am, then who am I to push it? But for so many of us, I think we have to face the fact that the birthmother rules that were provided to us was a bunch of untried hopeful theories based on now debunked beliefs regarding the human psyche.
Please know, again, you are not alone. There are many of us out there and many, most of us, feel this way. If you are looking for additional support, there are many adoption support networks, groups, and pages on Facebook.
Adoption Relinquishment = Trauma = Unresolved Grief
I think I write about adoption so I don’t have to feel it. I hate feeling it close within my own life. Sometimes, I’ll be listening to someone else’s adoption story and I will think “How horrible. How can they live with that in their lives?” and for a second I will forget. And then it hits me and I know that I don’t have to image how that person feels affects by adoption.
I know because I live it too. And I hate that about my life.
For non birthparents, the closest way I can describe it is this: When I watched the towers fall on 9-11, I know I shared with millions of fellow human beings the shock and horror of that day. As the day went from bad to worse to unbelievable, we collectively thought ” how can this be happening? No, this isn’t true!”
And if though hope and desire alone, we could have made it stop, we would have; but we could only watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolded. That’s the feeling I get when I allow myself to actually feel the deep loss that accompanies the reality of placing my son to adoption.
While I will always miss the sight of the Twin Towers in the New York skyline, I can only drum up a pale vestige of the complete physical revulsion and horror that accompanied that fateful day. Even when I watch the news footage. But, when I think about Max’s adoption, I could be 19 years old all over again and sitting in that hospital rocking chair getting ready for that last goodbye all over again.
And so I blog about being a birthmother instead of feeling that pain alone.
I share it with you.
More Posts About Life as a Birthmother
Below are ALL the post generally about life as a birth mother. I have also broken things down to help if you are looking for something particular.
Many people enter into adoption believing in some form of its innate goodness. There is often a real shock and a true disbelief that what they wanted to believe about adoption is different than the truth. That’s not denial, but just being unaware. The question is whether or now, we are able to see past what we want to believe and see the reality presented by the facts. This takes time as we need to process those changes in thought. Some resistance, the continued disbelief, is normal. if it gets pathological and one refuses to face facts, it is denial in some form.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering giving the baby up for adoption, there are many things you should know before making an adoption plan.In fact, there are many things that you should know about the process of adoption before you make any contact at all with a infant domestic adoption agency. Even if you think it would be a good idea to make a few inquiries and get some information about their newborn adoption programs, please STOP TALKING TO THE ADOPTION AGENCIES and READ.
The established stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, often don’t seem to help the grief experienced by birthmothers and adoption losses.Unlike the grief felt from a death, the loss from adoption is often said to be a complicated grief or a continuous grief. As life for both parties carries on through the years, the separation continues to add more missed opportunities or milestones that are normally shared with one’s children.
While other people also suffer from the holiday blues, and other life issues to trigger adoption feelings during non-holiday times, a birthmother experiencing painful memories and sadness is normal on an adoptees birthday. It makes it easier to overcome this depression in some way by understanding that the adoption holiday/birthday depression is normal and to expect it, rather than fight it. Know that it is situational depression and often, will pass with the change of the calendar pages. Know that you are not alone in feeling this way.
After you relinquish a child to adoption, the post adoption birthmother support offered by most agencies doesn’t really go far enough. And that’s assuming that there was any post adoption support and birthmother “counseling” offered to begin with. The rest of the world often doesn’t “get it” at all. There are a limited number of counselors who understand what life as birth mother is really about. I certainly have found that I was not prepared for what it all entails to be a birthmother, but I did learn some things along the way that might help.
Just my personal story from soup to nuts.