Truth be told, I do not know what the most important piece of advice could be for you in YOUR MOMENT, so I’ll just break down a few things that I think are key to placement and being a birth mama.
I do know that you are amazing and you are loved.
I never knew that about myself until I reached out for guidance from other birth moms. I guess owning your story and who you are at this very moment is super important, but in the same breath remember that this is only a moment of your life and it cannot define you, good or bad.
You are so much more than a “birth mom.”
You are choosing life for your child. You are choosing to love this baby unconditionally and with complete selfless disregard for your own feelings to make sure he or she has more than what you can currently give to them.
For that, you are a hero.
You are my hero and you are so much more to many because of this decision. Do not let the people that strike at you and call you names define this journey for you. The uneducated can sometimes speak ill and hurt us. You have to do your best to educate and remind them that this is YOUR life and your decision. Stick true to this, or the hate will surround you and consume your spirit.
I’ve been down this road twice.
I placed my beautiful little girl in her mommy and daddy’s arms 5 years ago after learning very late in my pregnancy that I was even expecting. It was the hardest moment I have ever experienced in my existence. I chose to block the experience for four years. It was a dark secret for me. I was ashamed.
It was not until I found out that I was pregnant again last year that I started to own my story.
How could I be ashamed of this beautiful bright and fantastic human being? This was not fair to her. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching in this past year and through my second placement I have found that my beautiful little girl began my journey to a new me. I just didn’t see it until it was time. I was never ashamed of her. I was ashamed of me. For someone that feels that they are never wrong, that’s a huge deal to realize and own. For this opportunity I am forever grateful and in debt to this beautiful, smart, and amazingly fantastic human being that I proudly call my birth daughter.
The person you choose to parent your child is in it for the long haul.
They love you. You are creating a family for them. There is so much emotion tied into your hearts and they only want what is best for you. Trust that they will love you, good, bad, or indifferent. After all, you chose them. You know they are awesome people.
We all choose how to handle the fear and the pain in different ways. Unfortunately my way of coping is pretending it doesn’t exist. DON’T DO THIS if you can avoid it. Reach out and find women who have walked a day in your shoes. They will understand your stages of pain– the denial, the anger, the sadness, and the frustration. They will also know the love, the joy, the pride, and the happiness.
When your baby comes, do not hesitate to spend every moment that you possibly can with him or her.
Soak them in. Smell them. Cuddle them. Close your eyes and feel them. Memorize every little piece of their body from their head to their toes. Take it all in. When I was getting ready to deliver my son, my best friend walked in the room and stood next to the heart monitor. She turned to me and said, “Take in that sound. Listen to his heart and never, ever forget that sound. It is the most amazing thing that God has given to you.”
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I took her advice. I closed my eyes and listened to his precious heartbeat. I listened to my heart beating with his. We were in sync. My heart was the first sound he ever heard. My heart. The heart that broke the moment he was placed in his mommy’s arms by me. I am their first mommy. No one can ever take that away from me. I OWN that. That is who I am. I was their heartbeat and life line. I made those beautiful babies and I chose life. I chose to place them in the arms of their mommies and daddies. I am my own hero.
Plan higher and expect lower.
Plan for an open adoption. Speak to the parents and decide what “open” or “semi open” means to them. Be honest. Communication is key. Do not expect it to always be the way you want it to be. Everything happens for a reason in adoption. What is best for the child is key. Remember that they are looking out for the safety and heart of this child as well. Always have open communication. Never take any thoughts for granted and never ever think that you are not worthy of an explanation.
With that said, remember that if you asked for open and decide that it is too much for you at the time, you can always take a step back and build yourself back up to a level of acceptability with visits/updates. If you say you only want a semi-open adoption and later crave more, they might not be willing to step out of their comfort zone and allow you in. Please, remember this above all. You can set these boundaries and as long as you keep open communication and do everything in the best interest of your child, nine times out of ten the little one’s parents will be more than willing to work with you. Communication from day one is key. Never hold back. You are entrusting your child in their arms. You have the right to tell them how you feel. Be gentle, but be firm.
Finally, I would tell you to take the time to physically heal before you start working on the emotional aspect of placement.
It’s a forever decision. You have an entire lifetime to build yourself back up from this. You will be okay. We all mourn in different ways. We all strive in different situations. Do not expect your story to be like anyone else’s. You will often hear, “Our stories are so different, but still all the very same.” It is because you are among a beautiful group of women and men who chose to make the ultimate sacrifice, and we all know exactly what you are feeling. There are wonderful groups of people who will love you no matter what. Find a solid support group– no “anti” adoption groups. Surround yourself with people who love adoption and everything that comes from it. You will realize very quickly that you are among earth angels and they will get you through the roughest and darkest days of your life. They will pick you up when you are falling down. They will also be the first to congratulate you on baby steps, jumps, and leaps and bounds. They will be your sisters and sometimes even a lifeline. Just know that in this time of your life, you are our hero!