In my Facebook newsfeed the other day, I saw a picture with the quote:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
Since I'm always on the lookout for blogging inspiration, this quote really reminded me of a comment often made by those in response to birthmothers: "I could never do that." Sometimes it's meant genuinely, as a compliment of strength for doing what was right. Other times it's meant to degrade, from judgment of what sort of person you must be to abandon your child.
Usually, I've heard it from the former intent, though the person is often unaware how saying they could never do that or they just love their children too much could be offensive, because of the implication that the birthmother must not have loved her child as much.
I've written on that before so we won't get into whether or not making a decision to place your child for adoption is difficult.
Instead I'd like to focus on the quote above. Birthmothers aren't uniquely strong people, somehow born with the ability to do things the average person can't. Truthfully, we all deal with our difficulties, and tragic things happen to tragically average people who have no special training in how to cope with the situation. Families of all backgrounds have had to deal with unexpected loss of spouses, children, family members. People of all ages and experiences have had to deal with serious diagnoses, have been permanently disabled by accidents of all kinds. Sometimes I read the news or memoirs and just cannot imagine how I would get through some of the things others have had to get through.
And just like each of those people who have to deal with an unexpected hardship, women who find themselves in a position where they have to consider adoption simply find their strength out of necessity.
And we can all relate to that basic principle: sometimes we have to do very hard things in life, because it's what is right, or because we have no choice, or because the benefits of that decision will ultimately outweigh the pain. Childbirth itself is one such thing, though I was the girl crying "I can't do this! I can't do this!" at the hospital (before my epidural), I still decided to have more children. Why? Because the temporal pain is worth the outcome.
Likewise, sometimes circumstances mean that adoption is ultimately the best decision, that the rewards outweigh the incredible pain for the child, the birthmother, the adoptive parents.
And when you know the truth about a situation, you'll find the truth itself will repeatedly give you the endurance and strength to get through the tough times.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon