Monday, October 26, 2009

Music Monday: Find Your Wings

For this week's Music Monday, I chose the Mark Harris song Find Your Wings............



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Week: Rise when You Fall


"Our greatest journey is not in never failing but in rising every time we fall."

~ Confucius

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sinner or Saint?


It seems like when society is thinking about birthmothers we often fit into one of two categories. We are either a sinner or a saint.

Some of us are viewed as sinners because we were unwed at the time we unexpectedly became pregnant so we committed what many view as a “sin” by getting pregnant. We are sinners because we shamed our families by getting pregnant. We are sinners because we did the unthinkable and “gave our babies away.” Some of you may be thinking that people don’t think that sort of thing in this day and age and granted that line of thinking probably isn’t as near as common as it once was, some people still do think that way.

Then there is the flip side of the coin. There are those who view me as a “saint,” an “angel,” or whatever similar word of their choosing. They say how happy I made Charlie’s adoptive family, what a blessing it is for me to be in their (Charlie’s family) lives, etc. They also tell me that I am brave and courageous. Yes it is true, that making an adoption plan for Charlie made his family happy but that wasn’t why I made an adoption plan. I also didn’t make an adoption plan in order to be angelic or saintly and most days I don’t feel very brave or courageous. I did it because it was what I felt was the best decision for Charlie and all involved at that time in my life.

Where do I view myself on the sinner or saint issue? I’m neither. I’m just a girl and a Mother who made some mistakes (not Charlie, but the acts that led up to his conception) and then did what she felt was best for both of her children.


Photo Credit






Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quote of the Week: Winnie the Pooh Quote


I wrote the following quote in Charlie's birthday letter this year. It would be a great quote to write inside a birthday card, a book, a Bible, or even a thinking of you card sent at a random time of the year for your child.

"Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think."
~ said by Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh







Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Assume Best Intentions"




It's some of the best advice I've ever received, and it's only proved more and more helpful as I dealt with pregnancy, the placement decision and openness after placement.  

The advice comes with the assumption that most people don't intend to be mean.  Most people have good intentions, but their comments are often misinformed/misdirected/misplaced/etc.  In these situations, I always try to remember that advice.  It doesn't completely remove the sting of hurtful or insensitive comments, but it can help keep that comment (or action) from ruining a relationship.

So, how do you employ this piece of advice?

First, consider the source.  Is this someone who is typically nice? or have you had unpleasant run-ins with him or her before (or do you know others who have)?  If it's the latter, this advice isn't really beneficial.  Generally, if it's someone I don't know well, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

If it's someone you have a history with, remind yourself of times this person has been kind or supportive.  If it's someone new, you can simply remind yourself that most people are generally pretty decent and don't mean to go around offending people they just met.  Either way, these acknowledgements can help to calm you down.

Next, it's helpful to consider some possible motivations for the comment or action.  This practice will also help you figure out how to respond.  Is it a friend who is simply uneducated about adoption?  Is it a family member who is dealing with his or her own grief?  Is one of the adoptive parents exhausted from parenting a newborn, keeping a birthmom updated and handling ceaseless visits from family and friends?  You may not be able to pinpoint the exact motivation, but mentally putting yourself in their shoes can, again, help keep your frustration with the comment from turning into anger toward the person.  And, if you can pinpoint the probable motivation, you might just figure out the best way to address the comment.

When I assume someone is being purposefully hurtful, I react emotionally... then they get defensive... and everyone loses.  While there's way to undo the comment, using these techniques can minimize the damage the remark does to me and, sometimes, give me an opportunity to comfort or educate.

Have you learned any other techniques for handling hurtful comments?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music Monday with Marilee: Whenever You Call

Whenever you Call- Mariah Carey
video

Adoption Related Secret


I'm a fan of Post Secrets and from time to time secrets that are related to adoption or unplanned pregnancy are featured. Sometimes the secrets break my heart but this week when an adoption related secret was featured my heart smiled.

This is the adoption related secret revealed on Post Secrets this week: 


Nice! :)  

 Have a good Monday!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quote of the Week: Attitude We Bring to Life


"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens and not by what life brings to us but to the attitude we bring to life."
- Author Unknown



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dealing with Others


“I could never do that.”

This statement makes my stomach churn every time I hear it and I’m sure there are probably some other birthmothers out there reading this, sitting at their computer desks, nodding their heads yes in unison.

First, let me clarify the context that I’m referring to in this post. I’m referring to the “I could never do that” statement in the context of being a birthmother, typically when I’ve just shared with someone who doesn’t know my story very well or even know that I am a birthmother.

“I could never do that.”

It seems like such a harmless phrase, doesn’t it? A simple comment probably made when the commenter can not think of anything else to say or has no clue what to say. The commenter probably did not intend for it to be hurtful. But it can be hurtful.

Why does that seemingly innocent comment hurt me and make me green? Those five little words usually uttered carelessly make me feel so judged. Instantly I feel as if the person is sizing me up thinking, “how COULD she do that.” I feel like in that moment they think they are superior and better than me.

The truth of the matter is, I probably said that once upon a time before I wore the scarlet B and I probably made someone feel as low as I feel when that is said to me.

So what do you say when someone makes that comment? I usually respond in one of two ways, depending upon my mood at the moment. I will typically either say “I never thought I would have to either,” which is the honest to God truth. I never in a million years thought I would become a birthmom. Or response number two is “And I hope you never have to,” because I don’t want others to feel the pain of being a birthmother.

What do you say when someone makes a similar comment to you?




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Triggers



Coley mentioned in the newsletter this month that adoption is everywhere.  Lately, I've felt like every TV show I turn on or movie I rent has some sort of storyline about adoption or unplanned pregnancy.  I go to dinner and the people behind me are talking about adoption.  The radio station I work for did an entire two hour program on unplanned pregnancy and I had no choice but to listen.  I'm constantly getting baby-related mail.  Some days, I really really want a break from these emotional "triggers."

On good days, these emotional triggers are frustrating, and can leave me in a funk.  On bad days, they can bring on some pretty strong emotional reactions.

So, how do you handle these triggers?  Here are some things I do:

  • If I'm feeling a strong reaction coming on, I will try to excuse myself for a few minutes.  Bathrooms are great for this.  So are cars.  Sometimes just stepping away from people gives me enough of a chance to calm down.
  • Internally praying, reciting a comforting Scripture or quote, or singing an encouraging song.  Any of these can help to calm my thoughts and focus me.
  • Finding a task to distract myself.  This is especially helpful if I'm faced with a trigger at work.  Anything that takes significant concentration will do.
  • Turning off the TV show/radio, stepping away from the conversation, etc.  Sometimes it's hard... especially with adoption themes in shows.  But, I'd rather miss the rest of the episode than let it drag me down.
  • Send a text to another birthmom.  Sometimes just venting to someone who understands makes a huge difference.
  • Sometimes, thinking about or looking at a picture of my son helps... other times, I know it would just make things worse.  I always keep a few pictures in my purse for times I think it will help.


Unfortunately, these options aren't always available.  Sometimes, I just have to deal with it.  If I do start crying and I'm with people who don't understand, I just explain that I'm having a hard day.  Most people are kind enough not to pry.  I also try to remind myself that it's a normal part of the grief process and, next time, I'll be a little stronger for it.  Each time I face these types of things, I get a little better at managing them and at figuring out what I need to recover.

What do you do when faced with unexpected triggers?



October Newsletter


The October Newsletter is now up. Check it out at www.birthmombuds.com/oct09.htm.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Music Mondays with Marilee

This is a new feature to the blog called...you guessed it! Music Monday. Every Monday we will share a song that either deals with adoption, a mother's love, or just inspires and gives a person strength.

This week's featured song is I Give You to His Heart by Alison Krause and Union Station. Orginally from the movie The Prince of Egypt.




video

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quote of the Week: Not the End of the Road


"A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn." 
- Unknown