As a birth mother we experience pregnancy in a different way than many other mothers. When we face the difficult decisions ahead, the thoughts, fears, and realities we see are unique to the birth mother experience. We may not all have the same experience exactly, but many of the emotions are shared. There is no doubt that regardless of our journey, the birth of our child and the creation of an adoption plan left a mark on our lives.
For many of us there are the physical marks left on our body from the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth. We may never feel like we can fully return to our post pregnancy body. For me I see the signs each day when I look in the mirror. My son left me with stretch marks, which have faded, but are still there as a constant reminder. For me these are my "Aidan Tracks." They have been a source of sadness for me as I feel I lost my body in some way, but I have come to love these marks that were left with me. They always bring me back to a time in my life which was extremely difficult, but they make me feel close to my son. He left his mark on me.
The biggest mark we are left with is the one on our heart. Pregnancy and childbirth are an experience like no other and regardless of the circumstances surrounding it, you are never the same after it is all said and done. Our hearts are left with a mark forever which is characterized by pain, suffering, sadness, confusion, but most of all, by love. Through our journey as birth mothers we learn what it means to sacrifice our own wants and needs for that of another. When I made the choice for my son I knew it was not what I wanted, but it was what HE needed. This gave me the opportunity to learn something at such a young age that many never learn. This mark has changed who I am. I know a kind of love which is manifested in my life each day. I have felt a kind of pain I never knew was possible, and I lived through it. I face each day with the thoughts that I can do ANYTHING. I have all the LOVE in the world to share, and I do it for MY SON.
Through my journey I have come to see that for many birth moms these "marks" we have are often kept to ourselves. For some this may be exactly the way we want to keep it, and that is great. These are our memories and we have every right to hold them close to our hearts. For others, it may be a cause for pain in the silence we feel we are forced to keep. When my son was born I found my solution to this problem. So many people aren't sure what to say, or if they should say anything. Other people don't even know my story. I have a tendency to share each thought, feeling, or emotion that comes my way, and through my journey I wanted to share. I always wanted everyone to know. It was so hard for me to have this huge part of my life and think that people didn't know or care who he was. So I made a point to carry with me an outward sign to others to be my mark for the world to see. Over the years this has been many different things, but typically I wear a necklace which has a baby on it. I also have a baby shoe necklace which holds my son's birthstone. I have had several bracelets bearing my son's name, as well as a ring, which I wore on my "married" ring finger before I was engaged as a sign to my future husband of the mark my son had left on my heart. Other people may have tattoos or other symbols which share the same purpose. It gives others the opportunity to ask about these items if they choose and learn something about your story. It allows the door to be open. As we journey through the healing process and grow as people with a unique story to share, sometimes it may be helpful to give the world a glimpse of our mark.