Saturday, February 7, 2015
Coping 3: Talk to Others
Talking to others, at least for the first few months, can be really intimidating. It was hard to talk to my family about it because they had lost something too. It was hard to talk to my friends since hardly any of them knew and none of them were birthmothers. Talking to anyone in the health care profession was a crap shoot to see what they would or wouldn't say in response to, "Yes, I've given birth, but that child doesn't live with me." Talking to counselors was helpful, but none were birthmothers and hardly any had dealt with birthmothers before. The one birthmother support group near me was a good two hour drive away and at the time didn't have many people in it. I gave birth in July and it wasn't until February that I met any birthmothers that I felt like I could have a conversation with.
To be honest, I was kind of scared of talking to other birthmothers. I was 27. My child's father was still my boyfriend at the time and today is still my best friend. The family I had picked was amazing about communication and sending photos and such. There was no great drama. There were no insane circumstances. It was simply the matter of two people in the wrong place at the wrong time with not enough resources to help them. I was worried about being the only one.
But when I did finally come to a meeting where there were other birthmothers, I realized one important fact: we are all completely different from each other. No one's story matches the other's. Everyone came to this in a different way. Everyone had different reactions to it. Everyone had different experiences with family, friends, co-workers, boyfriends, adoptive families. Every single one of us is different.
The important thing, the thing that connects all of us, is that we are birthmothers. However we came to it, whatever circumstances we were in, whoever we had to deal with, we all made a choice for our child. We chose to place them with people that we had met recently. We chose to be braver than we have ever been and chose a path most don't. We chose to defy society, our friends, our families, and sometimes our own instincts, and make a choice that many will never understand.
But there are many who do. And I encourage each and every one of you to talk to each other. Go to support groups and talk to other birthmothers. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Just talk to anyone and shine a light in this corner of the world that doesn't often get revealed. A lot of birthmothers still live in shame and have stigma placed on them by society and, worst of all, family. But at the end of the day, this isn't a shameful thing that we did. This was the bravest thing we have probably ever done and possibly ever will do. When the time came, we did what we knew was right for our children. And that's all we could do.
It sounds trite to say we're all in this together, but we really are. We've all been to the same place. We all know the same pain. And we are all here for each other. That's one of the great things I've found about the birthmother community. There is an unending well of support here. And any of you who are new to all this. Believe me. We've all been there. We know what it's like. And you can talk to us any time you need to.