The experience of placing my baby for adoption was a challenge and a joy. Many people view placing a baby as a temporary life event. This is true, but it has had lasting effects on my life. One of those changes is that I love a little differently than most.

I know what true love is. Some people say true love hurts, but I disagree. True love doesn’t have to hurt, but it does require selflessness and sacrifice. It means prioritizing someone else’s needs. True love isn’t about you. It’s about the joy you feel in serving another, and feeling their love and appreciation in return.

I love differently in that I am guarded. I don’t regret my decision, but placing my baby was still a loss. I don’t want to feel that kind of hurt ever again. I often find myself building walls around myself, not wanting to let others get close to me. Making friends is harder than it once was, because I don’t want to get invested for fear that it won’t last.

But when I do get invested… I get invested. Having a child opens your heart to a whole new level of love, and I share that love with those I trust. I protect my loved ones fiercely, I support them wholeheartedly, and I never take them for granted. The sheer magnitude of the love I have to offer surprises even me.

Being a birth mom doesn’t make me love better or worse, just differently.

I am a strong woman. I have faced a lot of trauma in my life and come out the other end better for it. But there will still always be a part of me that is soft and vulnerable and easily hurt. I am so sensitive to negative comments about my choice to place.

I know that it was the circumstances of the situation, not who I am, that made placement the best decision, but I don’t always feel that way. Sometimes I feel like I wasn’t good enough to raise her, and that I’ll never be good enough to be a mother. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved.

Being a birth mom doesn’t make me love better or worse, just differently. Love is love, and I’m proud to love the way I do. My experiences have given me a new understanding of the complexities of emotion, and the beauty to be found in each of them.