"I am a... birthmother. Yes, I am a birthmother. Hi, I'm a birthmother! Yes, I'm a birthmother. A birthmother is part of what I am. That's not the only thing that I am, but that is part of it."
Welcome to my brain ladies. And yes, it is just this nutty in here.
The above statement is kind of a rewind, a playback to a different point in time. After placing my son for adoption, it was hard to even say to myself that I was as birthmother. I had to spend a good amount of time getting used to the title myself. It wasn't taking over my whole identity. But it was now a part of me that was never going to go away. And it was a part I needed to learn to accept. So I spent a good amount of time practicing saying and explaining what I am now.
"I'm a birthmother. My son was placed for adoption when he was born and it's an open adoption and it was the best decision for him at the time."
The early days were tough. First there were medical professionals who aren't that difficult. Then there were old friends. Then new friends. Employers. Co-workers. More new friends.
In the early days it almost all came out as one word: "I'mabirthmotherandmysonisfineandIgettoseehim." Yeah, that was really clear. The questions seemed invasive even though I answered with a smile. And somewhere in the back of my head I was always worried that I was being silently judged for this.
But as time went on, it got easier. I got less and less afraid of the reactions people would have as the good reactions far out weighed the bad. I got used to the questions and am now able to tell the difference between those who just don't know and those who are trying to peck away at my decisions and defenses. And these days if they are silently judging me, I do a passable job at not caring about it. In the end it was my decision and not theirs. They were not there and therefore have no say in what I did.
Telling people that I'm a birthmother, to this day, is a gamble. And it's one that for now I'm still willing to play. I am more confident now in who I am and what I did and why I did it. Those who try to argue with me are very calmly told the facts and what would have happened had things gone differently. If still not convinced, I move on and try to put them behind me. The simple fact is this is not going to change. This is a part of who I am now. It's something I will have to deal with every single day. And those who know me and want to know everything there is to know, they need to know and accept this too.
We shouldn't be ashamed of being birthmothers. But I do completely understand that desire to just push it away and not deal with it. Sometimes it's necessary when dealing with people who are closed-minded or judgemental. But other times, it is something that needs to be said. I hope all of you find acceptance from everyone you talk to about this. And I am with you when people can't understand and treat you poorly. But do remember this: you should never be ashamed of being everything that you are. And that includes being a birthmother.
I am a librarian, a writer, a teacher, a musician, a knitter, a dreamer, a thinker, and a birthmother. But most of all. I am human and deserving of respect just like everyone else. None of these things make me any less than anyone else.