The past few weeks have been some of the most emotional weeks I’ve had in quite awhile. It doesn’t help that the past three episodes of Teen Mom almost seemed to coincide with situations that were occurring in my life as a birthmom, and writing about that was just too hard to do. So here I am, 3 weeks late on what I think about Teen Mom, but ready to share my thoughts and feelings.
Coming from a two parent, middle class household, where mom and dad did everything they could to provide us with the things we needed, you would’ve thought my family was the Cleaver family or the Brady Bunch. But that’s what things looked like from the outside. The emotional and verbal abuse from my family has always gone on for as long as I can remember growing up. Being that I was the oldest of the three of us girls, there was always more pressure on me to do what they wanted me to do, and there was hell to pay when I deviated from their plans for me. It was more subtle when I was younger, but definitely became more apparent once I told my family that I was pregnant with C 7 years ago. That’s when I got labeled as the “Family Screw Up.”
The verbal and emotional abuse continued well after I had C. It was the main factor in deciding to place Hope for adoption. I didn’t want another child brought into a home where they saw their mother constantly brought down by their family. I didn’t want her to see me cry or be sad because I wasn’t “good enough” for my family. It was bad enough C has to see his mommy go through that from time to time, even though I do my best to suck it up when he’s around. But there was no way I could bring another child into this mess.
This “mess” ended up only getting worse after I gave birth to Hope. My family has had the hardest time accepting the adoption and the fact that my princess is in the hands of a wonderful couple who are better suited to give her all the things I could never provide. I know they are angry and hurt by the fact that I didn’t give them the opportunity to get used to the idea that they were going to have another grandchild. I understand that they are hurt because she is a piece of them since she is a piece of me. I get it, but I don’t get why they continue to bring me down when they see for themselves how bad I hurt.
I will never ever forget the day my family and I were sitting at the dinner table a couple of years ago and my dad blurted out “All the problems in this family are because of you. It’s all your fault.” I know he was referring to my choice to place Hope. I remember not wanting to live anymore after that day. I remember hurting to the point of being unable to breathe because, while they didn’t respect me, I respected them, and could not believe my dad would say that to me. Those words stuck to me even after my dad denied ever saying that to me. This is part of the reason why I push myself to succeed in life – to have the last laugh.
During last week and the previous week’s episodes of Teen Mom, I felt a heavy pain in my heart. I wanted to hug Catelynn and tell her that even though her mom didn’t understand her, I did. I wanted to tell her that I support her and am proud of her and would never make her feel bad for the choice she made to give Carly a better life. I would tell her those things because they are things I wish my own mother would tell me. Just like Catelynn’s relationship with her mom since the adoption has crumbled, so had my own relationship (or what little I had) with my mom and it breaks my heart. The anger and rage that her mom has, the emotional outbursts, I totally understand. While my mom is mild compared to Catelynn’s mom, and my mom is way straight edged compared to the mess that makes up her mother, the feelings that they share towards our choice for adoption are similar, if not the same.
I find that after watching the previous two episodes before this week’s, it was hard to take in for the mere fact that Hope’s birthday was coming up and watching the show was only a constant reminder of the pain in my heart. This year, on September 9th, my sweet angel turned 5 years old. Her birthday marked 5 years since the moment my life changed forever, since I fell in love with those beautiful brown eyes, dark curly hair, and inherited dimples. This was the hardest birthday to get through, one I labeled as a “Milestone Birthday”.
I considered this to be a Milestone Birthday because SO MUCH has happened in the past 5 years, let alone 5 months or so. I have grown so much as a birthmom and have felt emotions I never had an opportunity to feel since placement. I have accepted that I am a birth mother, and while it doesn’t define who I am, I can no longer deny that it is a big part of who I am today. I have “come out of the closet” and am no longer afraid to share my story. I no longer have fear of being judged or looked down on because I know that being a birthmother is one of the greatest jobs I could have ever been given.
Watching this week’s episode of Teen Mom couldn’t have come at a better time. Just 5 days after having gotten through Hope’s birthday, this episode featured Catelynn and Tyler celebrating Carly’s first birthday. They sent her a gift and got to talk to her on the phone. They were able to talk about their memories and share their feelings with one another. It was a bittersweet episode that ended with the two of them blowing out a candle on a cake for her birthday. It proved that they didn’t need her mom or his dad, or anyone else for that matter. They had each other.
Getting through the tough times, like birthdays and holidays, wouldn’t be possible without the support from others. No one in my family directly mentioned Hope’s birthday last week, at least not to me. No one in my family gave me a hug or said that they were thinking of me as I got through this tough time. My mom did get mad, however, because an aunt questioned her about my status on Facebook and wanted to know what it was all about. Afterall, the adoption is a “family secret”.
It’s ok, though, because I have an amazing group of friends and coworkers who made sure I got through this Milestone in one piece, and I did. I got texts, phone calls, e-cards, Facebook messages and ims. I got flowers delivered to my job (thank you, friend ). I went out to dinner with friends and hung out with my boyfriend and my son over the weekend to help ease the pain… and it did. Without all of that, I don’t think I would’ve been able to make it through, so I thank those of you who were there for me. It means the world to me to know that so many people care about me. Once again, thank you, friends, because of your support, I’ve made it one year closer to the day I hope to see her again.