When people find out I am a birth mom, there is usually a moment of silence and then, “I can’t imagine how hard that would be” or “you are so amazing.”
As a birth mom, I don’t really need praise or sympathy for a decision that I made willingly. I can only imagine the things that run through people’s minds when they first hear of my title as a birth mom, especially if their lives haven’t been touched by adoption. Through the conversation that so often follows, I can only hope that I can help others understand what being a birth mom means to me, that although I do not need to be praised for my choice, it is a title I am proud of.
Choosing to place my child for adoption was by far the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. When I made that decision, I never thought about what my title would be or how the world would address me once I placed her into her parents arms, but once I discovered the title “birth mom,” it was instantly a title I loved.
When placing my child for adoption, I knew I would be letting go of a lot in her life. I wouldn’t get to see her first steps or hear her first words. I wouldn’t be the one to snuggle her at nighttime when she cried, or be the one to put a Band-Aid on her knee when she fell. I would be saying goodbye to a lot of things– but there were also a lot of things that could never be taken from me. I would always be the first and only person to feel her kicks inside my womb, and be kept up at night with her hiccups. I would be the first one to hear her cries, and the first one to hold her. I would be the one she saw first, and the one who loved her before anyone else did. In the end, no matter what I have or don’t have, I am her birth mom, through and through, and that can never be taken from me.
In a world of open adoption, it can be hard to find our place as birth mothers. There are hard questions– “where do I fit in?” and “what role do I play?”–with answers that sometimes require a delicate balancing act. Many birth moms wonder what the child they placed for adoption will call them and if they will recognize them as a mother. I don’t understand why we question this so much. When I chose to place my child for adoption, I chose to place her into the arms of an other mother and knew that this woman would now take the role as her mom. I placed her in her arms with the full knowledge that my role wasn’t going to be as important as that of the woman who now held her in her arms, but I also placed her knowing that she would ALWAYS understand my love for her, and know my title as “birth mom.”
I placed my birth daughter for adoption because I wanted to give her more. Once I had placed her, I promised myself that I would make full effort to live a life that she would be proud of. That while I couldn’t give her the life she deserved, I could still be someone she would want to know. I could and would be someone she would be proud of.
Although I do not need to be praised for my choice to give my birth daughter a better home, I do not mind saying it is something I am proud of. For the first time in my life I thought of someone other than myself and, for the first time in my life, I was proud of the decision I was making. I sacrificed so much of me to be able to give to someone else. And not only did I give my birth daughter a better situation, I gave a couple their family. If that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.