Thursday, August 5, 2010

Birthmother Support

“Birthmom Buds are like a good bra, close to your heart and there for support.”

While Teen Mom on MTV shows the difficulties of what it’s like for three girls who have had babies at a young age, it also focuses on the struggle Catelynn and her boyfriend, Tyler, have had post-adoption. It shows the nitty gritty of the raw emotions faced by birth parents after placing their child into the hands of the adoptive parents. This week’s episode brought up how important it is to have a good support system, to get through the feelings that not just anyone can understand.

While Catelynn dealt with her grief last season by talking to her adoption worker and meeting the other birthmoms at a retreat, Tyler never had the opportunity to grieve Carly’s placement. This season shows a different light, where the “loss” of Carly is starting to hit him and he is realizing that he is in a much different situation than others in his age range. He is feeling guilty for wanting to have fun and enjoy his last year of high school, and his emotions seem to be causing a rift in their relationship.

I love that Tyler is able to talk to his mom. She has been supportive of their choice since the beginning, especially when Catelynn’s mom and Tyler’s dad were against it. I think it’s great that she was able to try to motivate him to do things and enjoy his life, rather than make him feel bad for the decision he made. I like that the adoption worker is still in contact with both of them and that she is an amazing resource for the couple, because that’s not always the case in most adoptions. I truly felt happy for Tyler for reaching out to another birthfather who was able to give him the support that only another birthparent could give. The man to man conversation they had was important because it gave him the perspective of someone who has been through it already and the ok to do things and be happy.

As a birthmother for the past 5 years, I wish I had the support that Tyler has from his mom. While my family has been able to somewhat understand my feelings and reasoning for the adoption itself thanks to Teen Mom, they don’t entirely get it and support me. Getting pictures in the mail is only a reminder to them of the piece of them that they never got to know. They say mean things from time to time and it has caused some tension between all of us. My family is more like Catelynn’s family, angry for the decision I made and unable to comprehend why. It has been the biggest source of the pain in my heart, more than letting go of my beautiful daughter, because they’re support matters most.

I think it is great that the adoption worker for Catelynn and Ty is still a part of their lives, following up with them and providing them with the resources for more support. I believe that post-adoption care is so important, and not all of us are as lucky to get that. My original social worker wasn’t the greatest. When I called a few weeks after I had the baby to ask for resources for counseling, she said to just check online or the yellow pages. She left the adoption agency I worked with about a year after Hope’s placement. She never called or emailed me, she just disappeared. I felt “jipped”, like she was there for me when it came to taking my baby from me, but she wasn’t there when I was sad about it and needed someone to talk to. It only made me feel worse.

Having other birthparents to talk to seems to have helped Catelynn and Tyler. I know it has definitely helped for me. For 4 ½ years, I basically lived with an emptiness and had no one to relate to. My friends didn’t know what to say or do when her birthday would come around or Mother’s day would come up. I didn’t ever think there was anyone out there who understood what it felt like to miss a piece of my heart, to wonder what she was doing or if I’d ever meet her. That was until I met the ladies from BMB.

I know I mentioned it in my last post, but I do feel forever grateful for the friendships I have created with the wonderful women all over the country who have become my support system. These birthmoms have become like sisters and are people I could laugh, and cry, and share my life with. One of those women, in particular, has become my go-to person for everything in my life and I honestly forgot what life was like before her. While we are a few states away, we text nearly everyday, and I consider her to be my best friend, even though we have only met each other once. It feels good to have that connection with someone who understands the emotions and feelings that go through my heart and my head. She’s been a b-mom a little longer than I have, and so I appreciate her wisdom when it comes to certain things.

Having the proper support is so important to get through the tough times. Whether it comes in the form of a family member, social worker, church leader, friend, or other birth parent, it helps to have someone to vent to or cry on. A good support system is crucial in processing the grief and guilt and heartache that we may carry. There is no need to go through that alone, especially when there are other people out there in the world who can relate to you.

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