When I first found out I was pregnant, the last thing that came to mind was “I am grateful.” Throughout those first couple of months, there was no joy to be had or desire to “thank my lucky stars” for the situation I was in. I was afraid and felt alone. Looking back on it now, I wonder how much easier those months might have been if I had taken the time to find the blessings around me. Thankfully, over time, I was able to recognize the blessing my situation truly was.

From the first time I started to tell my story to this day, I still tell people that getting pregnant was “God’s way of throwing a rock at my head.” I can’t even begin to think where I might have ended up if I hadn’t been blessed with the life that was then growing inside of me. People might call me crazy and not fully understand my reasons behind believing this, but my birth daughter was my saving grace. It was because of my pregnancy and because of her that I took the time to reevaluate my life and think about the decisions I was making. It was because of her that, for the first time ever, I had to think of someone other than myself. The things that I once cared about, or thought mattered, weren’t so important anymore. She taught me how to love and how to view the world outside of my own little bubble.

It’s easy to get lost in anger in our moments of trial and even easier to drown ourselves in our sorrows. I could have cursed and kicked and been angry that the birth control I was taking didn’t work, or had the attitude of “why me” when all my friends who had been sexually active years before I ever was never found themselves in this predicament; but thankfully, I knew I had to rise above it.

Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments of despair, and I was definitely angry, but I knew that I only had nine months to figure things out, and sitting around being mad about the situation I was now in wasn’t going to do anything.

When I placed my T into her parents’ arms, I placed her with the knowledge that I may never see her again. Still, to this day, her life is only shared with me through pictures and letters (it’s been nine years), and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times where I wish I had more, but to make it through the hard times, I have to force myself to find gratitude for the things which I have been given.

In a world of open adoption, it is definitely a struggle to see so many other birth moms and adoptive couples have such a strong and close relationship, and it can be hard to keep myself from wanting that, but as the years have gone on, I’ve learned that longing for something I can’t have only hinders my healing process. I have hope and trust that one day T and I might find each other again, but until then, I strive to be happy for what I do have.

I am blessed to know her face through pictures and to get to know her personality through the words of her parents. I am blessed that I get to be a part of her life at all. While the world of adoption is definitely changing, I have to remember that what I have is also a change from the past and is a lot more than what birth mothers who came before me had.

There are times when I find myself in complete sadness, and there have most definitely been moments when I’ve thought, “I didn’t know my heart could hurt this much,” but then I stop and think of the love and blessings my situation has brought into my life, and the pain doesn’t hurt as much.

When I chose to place my birth daughter for adoption those nine years ago, I made the decision knowing it was what was best for her. I wanted her to have a life that I couldn’t have possibly offered, and by placing her into the arms of her parents, I gave her that. I not only wanted T to be surrounded by love, but I needed her to be surround by a love of two people who loved each other. In my moments of grief and struggle, I think of the love that her parents share and the love that they undeniably give her, and my struggles almost physically seem to melt away.

There is gratitude in my story. I am grateful that her parents were ready and wanting to be parents. I am grateful that they gave her the home that I could not offer. I am grateful that they accepted me and welcomed me as a part of their lives. While I so wish infertility never happened, I am grateful that there was a couple waiting to be the parents to my baby. Without them, I would have found myself in a situation I was not ready for, and I would have brought a baby into circumstances that were not fit for her.

What was once my greatest trial became my greatest blessing! My sweet T gave me understanding and purpose in life and, to this day, continues to bless me in my everyday doings. I may not see her, but she pushes me. She pushes me to be better and to live better. Each and every day, she reminds me that there is so much to be grateful for.

We all go through trials and pain. We all have our moments where we feel like there is no hope, but I promise you, if you look for it, you will find it. Our trials can be our greatest blessings, and while it would be nice to learn the lessons we learn from our struggles without them, it’s the hardest of times that make us stronger. It’s the fight that makes the victory that much sweeter.

I am so grateful to have my sweet T in my life, and I am even more grateful that her parents were there waiting to make both of our lives better.