What comes to mind when you picture a birth mother? Thanks to the media, you probably picture either a stupid teenager who doesn’t want to grow up, or a meth head who couldn’t care less. While these things could happen, most are far from the truth when it comes to birth mothers. Here is a realistic snapshot of your typical birth mom.
Janelle* was the student council president at her Catholic school when she was raped. She chose to go through with the pregnancy and placed that baby for adoption. She now has a dozen full ride scholarships to Catholic Universities and is happy and thriving.
Lauren wanted her son to have the very best in life. She was adopted, and she views her adoption story positively. She decided that she was not in a place to give her baby the best life possible, so she chose adoption. She has worked with his adoptive parents to create a wonderful open relationship.
Sarah was a married mother of two. At 24 weeks, she and her husband learned that their baby daughter had down syndrome. This didn’t make a difference to her; she wanted to parent her child. However, her husband pushed for an abortion. He threatened her child’s life and convinced her that she wasn’t capable of caring for all three children by herself. She decided that adoption was the only way to keep her baby safe from a husband she had to run from.
Michelle found out she was pregnant in her mid twenties and wanted to explore her options. She walked in to an agency and was promised emotional and financial support. She was struggling with crippling poverty, and the agency led her to believe that adoption was the only way to keep her child fed. She did not want to place her child, but she felt pressured and coerced. After she placed, she did not get the counseling she was promised. She still struggles with feeling that she was taken advantage of.
Aria was very young when she became pregnant. She and her boyfriend knew they weren’t ready to parent a child, so they chose adoption. Several years later they married and are in a place to parent. Their baby boy is due in just a few weeks.
Sasha is now 29 years old. She had been addicted to cocaine since she was 13 years old. She didn’t know she was pregnant for several months. When she had her baby, she didn’t know what to do. She learned that in many states there is a safe haven law. She could leave her baby at a hospital, fire station, or police station anonymously, and she would not face charges for abandonment. She thought this was the safest for her son, so she left him at the hospital where he was born.
Decades ago, Meagan was in high school. When she found out she was pregnant, she was sent away from her home to have the baby. She placed into a closed adoption and wondered where her child was for many years.
I was 17 when I got pregnant. I was raised in a very stable, religious home. As soon as I moved out, I met someone who made me feel loved. After I got pregnant, I realized that the relationship was not healthy or safe. So although I desperately wanted to parent, I knew adoption was the only way to give my baby a stable home like I had growing up.
There is no “typical” birth mother. Each one has her own story as unique as the child she bore. Each woman loved her child enough to carry them and to do what she believed was best. So next time you talk about birth mothers, remember that they are people, just like you.
*names have been changed
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.