“Wait, so, why did you give your baby up?” is never something I like to hear. Aside from the cringe-worthy term “give up,” it is so hard for me to explain to people something so intensely personal as why I am a birth mother. But it’s a fair question: I come from a family that supports me emotionally and financially, and I clearly love the child I bore. So why would I choose to place my baby for adoption?

1. I was not prepared to raise a child. 

I love my baby. I wanted my baby. But that doesn’t mean I was ready for my baby. I was young, yes, but that’s not what made me unprepared. I was unprepared because I was not the person that I would want my daughter to grow up to be. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know how to care for myself, let alone another person. No one is ever “ready” to be a parent. But I knew deep down that my daughter needed parents who could be an example of who she should be.

2. I wanted her to have two parents. 

I hesitated to write down this reason, knowing that this is a very sensitive topic for so many. I know a TON of single parents who do a wonderful job with their kids. I am not saying they are in any way wrong for parenting. I am only saying that when I was growing up, I saw my parents have a healthy marriage, and their relationship set the stage for how I would view my own relationships in the future. I wanted her to have the same example I had.

3. It was meant to be. 

I catch a lot of flack for this one. Sometimes people think that by saying this, I fell prey to rhetoric used by unethical agencies or that I was ‘brainwashed’ by my church. This is far from true. I have a solid head on my shoulders. I don’t believe that the answer for everyone is “if you love your baby, you will place them.” I do, however, believe that in my case, placing was 100% meant to be. In the months leading up to my decision, I felt panicked and stressed all the time, trying to convince myself that I was meant to parent this child. But then I met her parents, the ones I believe she is meant to have. Call it God, fate, destiny, whatever—but that stress went away the moment I chose them. I felt peace that making them a family was the right thing to do. I still feel that way. Despite the heartache, loneliness, and what-ifs, I wouldn’t change a thing. My birth daughter thrives with her parents, and they are everything I want for her.

I have my reasons for placing. Other people have theirs. Some choose to parent for their own reasons too. And I respect all of them. When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, my biggest piece of advice is simple, and cheesy, and so true. Mother’s intuition is a real thing. When you know what is right, you’ll just . . . know.

If you’re pregnant and not sure what to do, you may have a lot of questions and concerns. What choices do I have? Who can help me? How do I plan for my child’s future? Click here to connect with an experienced, compassionate adoption provider who can help you answer these questions for yourself.