(For background story please see here: http://wp.me/P3wvcq-1z)
For the past 12 years I have always held tight to the fact that I am a proud birthmother. I have screamed from the top of the hill to anyone that would listen that I do not regret my decision and wouldn’t change it for anything. Today, Mothers Day, I really took the time to think about that. I came to some very hardcore self realizations.
1) I do regret that I had to choose adoption. I regret that I did not have the means to raise my child myself, emotionally or financially. I regret that I didn’t get the support I should have from my child’s father (now my husband and father of my other 2 children). I regret that I had to go through any of this. I regret that my daughter may truly resent me for my decision one day, shoot, may already. I regret that my other children have something missing from their lives, know that she is missing, and have to suffer that loss through no choice of their own. So, there. I said it. I have regret. Blindfold released.
2) Proud? Not so much. I’m not proud that that I wasn’t what I should have been in order to have kept my family together. I’m not proud of the choice I was presented with. I’m not really even proud of my decision. It wasn’t like there was much to choose from in my situation. I’m not proud that I put myself in the position to only have very few limited choices.
3) I really realized for the first time today that I am not my daughter’s mother. I never will be. I will not be the person who rocked her to sleep, kissed away her owwies, taught her how to walk, instilled values in her that sustain her in life, helped her pick out her prom dress, all those things a mother does for her daughter. I am not that person to her. While she will always be, to me, like any of my other children, I will not be, to her, like they see me. I am not my daughter’s mother.
This all sounds so very pessimistic. But I have to say it. Being a birthmom isn’t always roses, butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes it can be downright PAINFUL. It can make you angry, confused, hurt, and wanting more and more and more but knowing you will never get it. The selfish part of me is angry for the loss I have suffered all these years and may continue to suffer for the rest of my life. Maybe if things had been like they were supposed to. Maybe if our “open” adoption had remained so. Instead it has turned into an email or 2 from the adoptive mother every year. I haven’t had direct communication or interaction with my birthdaughter since she was 2 years old. But things changed. And I can’t help but feel like I was tricked somehow. I know the intentions for most people involved in my daughter’s adoption were good. I do truly know this even about her adoptive parents. Really I do. And I know life isn’t always how its supposed to be. But sometimes I just need to be angry at this one part of my life called adoption.
In my reflection today I did realize some positive things, believe it or not. I went back to that place where I was over 12 years ago. That scared little girl who only wanted to do best by her child that she loved so much. I realized:
1) While I do have so many regrets there are some things I will never regret. I will never regret the decision to carry out my pregnancy and give life to that beautiful little girl. I will never regret that when I couldn’t give her what I knew she deserved (even if the reasons for that really sucked!) that I choose a family that could. I will never regret that even when it seems her parents are slowly trying to distant themselves from me that I keep pushing for contact. I won’t be ignored.
2) I am a little proud. I’m proud that I had the courage it took to make the decision I did. I’m proud that God granted me the wisdom I needed to understand what it was to place your child’s well being ahead of your own feelings of regret, doubt and hurt.
3) I will never be my daughter’s mother, but I will always be her birthmother. I will be the one who watches her from afar. I will be the one who keeps my distance so as not to disturb her peace, even when I want to shout “Here I am!! Look at me!! I’m your mom!!” I will always be the woman who kept her safe and healthy in my womb for 9 months. Nurturing her from the outside, talking to her, singing to her, feeling her move. I will always be the woman who lovingly pumped breast milk for her those first few days in the hospital because I knew that it was the best thing for her. I will always be the woman who painstakingly screened potential parents for my child until I was sure that the perfect people were found. I will always be the woman who was willing to keep her overnight, even knowing that it would make it all that much harder to say goodbye, when the foster family she was staying with was mistreating her until another one was found.** I will always be the woman who forced myself to visit her almost everyday while she was in her foster home, even when I knew it was making things more difficult for me.
No, I will never be my daughter’s mother, but I will always be her first mom. Her birthmother. I fought for her like any mother would do in her most vulnerable days of life. And I would do it again in a heartbeat if she asked it of me. Some days its just really hard to be a birthmother. This is one of those days.
**Wisconsin state law mandates that a court hearing must happen for parents to voluntary relinquish rights to a child. This court date can take up to 4 weeks. Birthparents have the option of placing their child in foster care during this time or parenting. So as not to make things harder on myself, I chose foster care with visits everyday.