I am convinced that I should write a book or do something amazing. Oh wait, I did.

Five years ago, on a cold and snowy evening, I gave birth to a son. I called him Phoenix (AP named him Jimmy). When I held him in my arms for the first time, I didn’t let go. In five days of me being in the hospital, I held him almost the entire time.

I cried until my eyes were swollen shut and I could hardly speak. I was incoherent at best and not even aware of anything going on around me at worst. I was oblivious to the nurses, to the medication being administered, or the prying questions or unkind glares.

In short, my experience wasn’t pleasant.

Five years later, I am not the woman who could barely hold a conversation or speak up for herself. Ask the people around me now, and I am not even a shadow of that woman.

The journey of being a birth parent has been transforming, to say in the least. In the last year I have come out of a fog of depression that held me under for years. That being said, I still get sad. I really think its normal. When grieving any loss, its a process. If I have learned anything, it’s that I need to be really kind to myself.

I had a counseling appointment not too long ago, and the words that stuck with me were powerful yet simple.

She said to me, “There are three rules; 1) Be kind, 2) Be kind, and 3) Be kind” in regards to myself. We often forget that the same kindness and compassion of any kind we show in grief or sorrow is what we deserve, as well.

Fact is, if we treated ourselves with as much kindness and compassion as we gave out and believed for one moment that we were worth loving, I don’t think it would be as hard as we make it.

It comes down to a choice. Who do you believe you are? What are you worthy of?

Five years later, I am empowered, alive, loved, and loving. I am learning to be kind and give out of my heart. I am learning that life itself is worth living, and I’m living it well.

The best part of all this journey thus far is that as I think of that beautiful little boy with no regrets. He was worth it all, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy 5th birthday to you, Jimmy. You are so very loved.