A little over twelve years ago, I was in my mid twenties, single, scared out of my mind, and pregnant. For a myriad of different reasons that aren't the point of this post, I’d made the choice to place my baby for adoption. I had chosen a good family and things were falling into place logistically but they weren't in my heart. There is absolutely nothing natural about rubbing your own belly to calm your kicking baby knowing you’ll only spend a few short days with him (or her) before you hand him over to the woman he’ll call Mom. But, I needed a way to cope, a way to be strong enough, and follow through with what I felt was best at that time in my life.
So my defense mechanism became referring to Charlie, referring to my son, as “their baby.” “I’m having this baby for them. This is their son.” I’d tell myself that over and over. I’d use it in conversation with strangers. I’d even go as far as to say “I’m having this baby for friends” because at that point, they had become my friends so it wasn't totally a lie but it wasn't the truth either. I was in big time denial of the way I was about to feel. I was trying to detach myself from my baby. It was my way of coping and it continued until the day I gave birth four weeks early.
As I sat cross legged in a red t-shirt and watermelon boxers in the hospital bed holding a sweet four pound, six ounce little baby boy in my lap, I cried. He wasn't theirs. He was mine. I was his Mother. He was a part of me and he was absolutely beautiful. I saw my nose in his, our complexions were similar. As I counted ten toes and ten tiny fingers, in that special moment many, many Mothers have with their babies, I realized that I’d just been telling myself he was theirs to make it easier on me. It didn't work. It was silly. I’d tried so hard to not bond with him but the bond I felt with him those moments was absolutely overwhelming and undeniable. I wish I’d fully experienced, accepted, and enjoyed that pregnancy as my own because sadly it will probably be my last full term pregnancy ever and I spent most of it pretending he wasn't mine.
I’m not the only birthmother I know who has told herself this – who used this defense mechanism to cope and make it through the difficult process of placing a child for adoption. Did you do this during your pregnancy? How do you feel about it now?