Being a birth mom is a one-of-a-kind experience, with plenty of highs and lows. Sometimes, the journey can be very lonely. Placing a child is a very unique, beautiful struggle that can be hard for others to understand. It’s easy to have misconceptions about birth mothers if you haven’t been through it yourself. Here are four things that this birth mom wishes you knew:
1. Placing my birth child was a loving, unselfish decision.
Baby R is the light of my life, the center of my universe. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, miss her, and love her with all my heart. The main and most painful misconception I have come across is that I placed because my pregnancy was “unwanted.” Unplanned, perhaps, but NEVER unwanted.
I did everything I could to ensure her a bright future with every opportunity. And that, for my situation, meant placing her with a wonderful forever family that I could not provide myself. My decision to place had everything to do with my love for her, and nothing to do with my own wants and needs. In the words of another wonderful birth mother, “We faced our consequences, reached deep down, and shattered our hearts for the child we created. It killed each and every one of us a little (or a lot) and it was 100% about what is best for the child.”
2. The decision to place does not make me a bad mother.
Although it is not often thought of this way, placing my birth daughter was a parenting decision to give her the best the world has to offer. But that does not mean I would not have been a perfectly capable single mother. A common stigma of birth mothers is that we are very young, destitute girls, often with drug issues and criminal backgrounds.
While I can’t speak for everyone, I know I could be a good mom and would have had plenty of emotional and financial support from my family. I do not have any legal or substance abuse issues. I am well-educated. And I believe that I am mature enough to handle the ups and downs of motherhood. Baby R would have been raised in a loving home had I chosen to parent.
But I couldn’t promise her the stability and security that would come from a two-parent home. I could not provide her with a stable father. And I would not have been able to give her the time that she deserves between working and school. I know, as her biological mother, that she was meant to be with her mommy and daddy and most amazing older brother.
3. Open adoption is not co-parenting.
Before they adopted, one of baby R’s parents’ greatest fears was that an open adoption would be akin to co-parenting. This is not the case. I respect their roles as her parents, and they respect my very different role as her birth mom. Although the adoption is very open, we absolutely do not make parenting decisions together. I would never try to threaten or take over the divine role of mother. I have mourned the loss of that relationship and moved on to the very special role of birth mom, a role that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
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4. I’m a birth mom – but I’m still normal!
A few months ago, I was in the store and ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen since before I had my birth daughter. She seemed very uncomfortable. When I asked her what was wrong, she said “I’m just surprised to see you here.” I responded, “What, because birth moms don’t buy milk?” That made her laugh, and helped her to understand that being a birth mom is not my only definition. I’m also a student, girlfriend, sister, daughter, and friend. I’m still human. I still have normal problems, normal fears, and normal joys. From another birth mother: “I’d like to finish college, I’d like to travel one day. I would like a lot of things.” We are just as three dimensional as any other human beings. We’re not so different, you and I.
I’m a birth mom, and I love it, the highs, the lows, and the in betweens. Just like everyone else, I feel the need for my road to be understood. Our experiences make us who we are, and with a little more acceptance and understanding, we could make this world just a little brighter.
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