I believe being a birth mother is an amazing blessing. I have learned so many things through my journey, and it has made me the person I am today. I also believe in some ways, it makes some things harder. Obviously there are all the emotions and pain we go through, but I also believe being a birth mother affects the relationships we have. In my life I see this, particularly in new relationships (ones who didn't know me before I was a birth mother). I do not think these relationships are harmed in any way, and often they are nourished because of my journey, but they are very much affected. These people never knew the person I was before, and they cannot understand the journey I traveled to get to where I am today. Without the experience of those very formative months of my life it is hard to fully understand me.
I have recently been very aware of how my husband (and I'm sure others) pay for some of the things I went through during my pregnancy with my son. I had a very difficult time with the birth father and his entire family. There was very little respect or concern for what I was going through. When my son was born they showed a sense of entitlement to this baby which they had not done anything for or seemed to care for in any way. I was this pawn for them in their game, and only useful when they were getting something from me.
As I have gone through other pregnancies I have experienced similar feelings with
my husband's family. It is in no way the same situation, and there is not the same hatred and disrespect surrounding it all. However, there is enough that the feelings are the same for me, and because of my experience with my son's birth, I am thrown right back to that time six years ago.
I know in many ways this is not fair, and it is very hard for people to understand when they did not walk that path with me the first time around. For me, it is real. The feelings hurt all over again and the fear of a repeat is clear in my mind. It brings it all back in the form of flashbacks and memories which feel as if they are occurring at that moment.
It has become important to me to set boundaries. I know that I have certain triggers which make everything harder, and unfortunately, just giving birth is one of them. While the experience with each child is different and special, it also puts me back in that place. Being in the same hospital going through labor once again, it is impossible for me to completely separate the situations. I know this is hard for others to understand, but for me it is my reality. So I try my best to help others understand and I work very hard to prepare myself for these feelings and prevent what I can.
Being a birth mother is such an incredible gift. It is part of my story, and whether people realize it or not, it reaches into every corner of my life. It can pop up at any time in any way imaginable. I don't have it all figured out yet, and I probably never will. What I do know is that those people who are worth having in my life will take the time to try and understand, and still accept me when they cannot understand. It's all part of the journey.