Read the previous article in this series: A Year and a Half After I Became a Birth Mom, I Was Able to Begin College 

There are numerous reasons a woman considers placing a child for adoption. Whether she is single or married, a teenager or not, with a good support system or not so much, the ultimate decision to abort, keep, or place is one that will haunt her for the rest of her life. For me, I was 16 years old, with a loving, supportive family and an awesome boyfriend. I was simply too young. It was 1984 and choosing to place was a forever deal—closed and sealed with no choice about who the parents would be and with no option of ever seeing your baby again. This is my story about grief and healing but most of all, about love. I dedicate this series for all birth moms, whether their adoption was closed, partial, or open, for their sacrifice and grief and loss that is so profound and so deep and complex that even their closest loved ones don’t truly understand. May you find healing and peace.

I ached for my son. Sometimes the grief would wash over me, and I couldn’t breathe. The paralysis of grief would drive me to my knees, begging my Heavenly Father for relief. I never doubted my decision. I knew letting him go was right, but it was so hard. The Savior was no longer walking with me all the time, but when I needed Him, he was there.

After breaking up with my son’s biological father for the final time, I was truly able to embrace my new life and a new me. There were a few male friends in my friend group and one I developed a crush on, but after a couple of weeks of relationship game-playing, I decided that I was done. The only guys in my life that I trusted were my dad, my Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. My motto became, “Men are poo. Don’t step in it because you’ll get messy. The best way is to just avoid it.” I focused on my faith, family, friends, and school and divorced myself from caring too much what other people thought. It was very freeing. From the moment I broke up with Robert through the rest of my freshman year of college was the single best extended timeframe of my life. I was very happy.

I was learning to trust myself and to not be ashamed of my past because it had shaped my present. The grief, sorrow, and tears for my son came often, and I would have to take a drive in my trusty Saab to pray and grieve and clear my head and heart, but once it was done, I was able to smile and laugh and move on. I discovered that not only was I a good person, but that I actually liked myself! People began to comment about my confidence and my faith. I even received a couple of letters from girls in my dorm saying that they admired me and wished they could be like I was. I was surprised with the accolades because I knew that my strength was fragile and that even though the pieces of my soul that had once been shattered were being put back again, they were only being held together not by super glue or cement but by tape, and I was afraid that if a real trial came along, the tape would fall off, the pieces of myself would tumble apart, and “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men would never be able to put them together again.” The “men are poo” mantra shielded me from possible soul disintegration.

One night I woke after the world was asleep, awash with grief. My car didn’t have any gas in it, and I didn’t have any money, so going for my usual drive was out of the question. The day before, a late, wet, spring snowstorm had blown through, and there was at least six inches of snow everywhere. I put on my boots and got on my coat and gloves and decided to walk around campus. It was about 2:00 a.m. My footprints were the first to track through the new-fallen snow. The snow sparkled as it reflected the street lights. The sky was clear and crisp.

My tears added to the sparkle of the snow as I wandered, trying to get hold of grief as I prayed for solace. I began to pray out loud, having a genuine conversation with my Heavenly Father. I told Him of the new strength I was discovering, but that I knew a small nick in my armor would send a spider-web of cracks that would weaken, crack, and then shatter that exterior. Even a windshield made of shatterproof glass will explode with a great amount of force. I pleaded with God that I wouldn’t have to test my strength any more because I knew that if I shattered again, I wouldn’t be able to rebuild my soul. In the quiet of that night, the whisperings of a loving Father to an embattled daughter taught me that Humpty-Dumpty relied on an earthly king and men to put him together, but I needed to rely on the King of Kings, who could put my pieces together over and over and over again—but each time, I would not be put together in the same way. I would be better. Stronger. Different.

As I walked back to my dorm room, filled with the light and warmth of my Lord and Savior, my Redeemer, I realized that some of the tape holding me together had fallen off. I had been mistaken. The tape was not what was holding me together—it was just support until the mortar, placed by the Supreme Craftsman, hardened. knew that pieces of me were still fragile, but that other pieces were stronger than I realized. My grief and sorrow had been part of that cement, and the anguish was needed to cleanse and wash away the debris that I had been straining to hold on to for fear of what would be discovered underneath. That night, I caught a glimpse that what was underneath was beautiful.

Read the next article in this series: “The guys want to get married to someone who is pure. You haven’t kept it a secret that you had a baby.” 

Read this author’s other series: “Silenced by Society: A Birth Mom’s Tale.”