Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grief and healing

Every birth mother places her child for adoption for their own unique reasons. Some may be the same as other women and others are completely different. No matter what those reasons are Birth mothers all feel pain. Every birth mother has to go through her own grief and healing process. The reasons that I placed B for adoption were things I clung to as my heart healed and mended. After placement I would pour over the tear stained photo album every single day looking at his picture with his new Daddy and his new Mommy.

After coming home from the hospital my arms literally ached to hold him.

They didn't hurt until the moment they weren't holding him anymore. My body knew I had a baby but didn't understand why he wasn't there. So in addition to the emotional pain, the physical pain was right along with it to remind me of my loss.

I was very lucky to have an overwhelming amount of love and support shown to me before and after B's placement by my friends and family. It helped a little, but there were still many times I felt my reason for living was gone. This was the best option for him although it was probably the hardest option for me. The reasons I placed him and the love I have for him were two of the biggest motivators as I began my grieving process.

I tried to be as strong as I could and eventually I felt that the days I cried became fewer then the days I didn't. The heartache I felt began to dull and I was able to move forward. I don't think it is possible to "move on" from placing your baby. That little person will always be a part of your heart. But it is healthy to move forward. 6 1/2 years later I felt that I had healed quite well. I still had hard days and I still cried when I missed him. But I was happy and was actively living my life as well as doing what I could to help other birth mothers heal.

Then a few months ago I felt as if my foundation had been kicked out from under me. One of the biggest reasons I placed B for adoption was because I wanted him to have two parents who were married and had a stable relationship. I also wanted him to have a father who would teach my son the values I wanted him to have. I wanted him to be honest and have integrity. I wanted him to be kind and charitable. M and I were originally engaged and I still remember the moment I realized that M would not be the type of role model I wanted for B. I remember sitting in shock as I listened to M describe his actions in an interaction he had that I completely disagreed with. It was a turning point in my decision making process where I realized I did not believe the man I was going to marry would be the type of role model I wanted for my children. Not too long after that our engagement was broken and I was lead to choose adoption. I hoped it was the right decision and went forward with faith.

A few months ago M randomly contacted me. It was a brief interaction but it sent my world spinning. M seemed to be VERY different from his 23 year old self I knew 7 years ago. It made me question all the reasons I placed B for adoption. Could I have married M? Would he have been a good father? Is he really as wonderful as people describe? Could we have made it work? Did I have to give away my baby? For the first time in my life I thought it was a possibility I had made the wrong decision. One of my worst fears might be true. That night I could not control my tears as I felt the hole in my heart that I had so carefully mended was torn open once again.

Eventually I stopped crying and I realized that the experience M had with B's adoption was probably something that shaped him and taught him to be the kind of man he is now (I am very happy for him). However, with my original reasons for adoption stripped away I had to find new meaning and reasons for my choice. I had to start that healing process all over again.

For the month of February I am going to talk a little bit more about grief and the healing process. I hope to have other birth moms write about their healing experiences as well. As I begin my journey of new healing I hope you can follow with me and find some healing of your own.

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