Monday, September 30, 2013

Music Monday: In Your Eyes by Jeffery Gaines (originally Peter Gabriel)

"Love, I don't like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive"

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quote of the Week: Don't Wait!

"Don't wait to realize you shouldn't have waited."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Birth Grandparents

Today I was asking my mom for ideas for some topics to write about. She suggested a focus on birth grandparents. There's really no outlet for birth grandparents to grieve. But how do you inject the Birth Grandparents into your adoption plan? My mom tries to go to as many visits as she can (my dad can't because of his COPD), but it's still hard for all of us.

I never knew how much my mom missed Micah until the last visit we had in August. The ironic thing about it is she was the one that put her foot down about adoption. (My dad's sick, and my mom works full time. It was just common sense for my family.) It was really surprising for me hearing my mom say how much she missed him and wished Micah could be with us. I was really upset about that statement. If she wanted her grandson so badly, why did she give me an ultimatum. (Either place the baby or get out). I couldn't help but feel all kinds of resentment towards her. But then I realized she's going through something very similar to what I'm going through. When I first placed, I was concerned about my own feelings. But I never realized my parents were hurting too. We've become much closer as a family since this all happened. 

How is your relationship with your parents since placement? Comment below! I'd love to hear some of your thoughts about this.

Also, if your parents are looking for support, there is a Birth Grandparents page on BirthMom Buds.

Until next week, beautiful birth mommas!

Photo: Mom, Steve, and Micah on his first birthday

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Threads of Feeling

Recently my family traveled back in time to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. My daughter is studying that time period this year in history and we thought it would be fun to build a vacation around some history.

I can remember going there as a child and how other-worldly I remember it being. The costumed townspeople are all very well read as to their roles and the specifics of that time period. I learned so much!

Anyway, my daughter took a couple of classes at the Art Museum so one day we were in there and I was wandering around. I came across an exhibit entitled Threads of Feeling and, having no idea what I was in for, started looking around.

Inside the glass cases I found books full of scraps of fabric left as tokens and identifiers when moms left their children at this hospital or orphanage. In the 19 years the Foundling Hospital was up and running, it took in some 17,000 babies. About 11,000 of them died and 152 of them were eventually collected by their mothers.

The hospital got so busy at one point that when mothers came to the door with their babies, they had to reach their hand into a bag full of balls and draw out either a white or a black one to see if the baby would be allowed to stay. What about the babies that didn't get admitted? If the circumstances were so dire that the mother would take them to that place to begin with, how desperate were they? And what happened to them after being denied safe harbor?

This was a different time and while perhaps births to young women not yet married may have been low, there were obvious issues in caring for children. I wish I had been able to go on a tour and hear more of the backstory. Emotionally, this exhibit slapped me in the face. I was not prepared for what the exhibit was about or what I was going to see.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Monday: Reason Why by Ron Pope

"I'd had enough, I'd given up, I was broken
Left to rust, hollowed out, life seemed hopeless,
Here you are, you see my scars, but still you're dryin' these eyes
Cause you are my, you are my, you are my reason why"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quote of the Week: Be The Kind Of Person You Would Like To Be With

"Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. People are lonely because they build walls instead of

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dealing With Post-Adoption Depression For Birth Mothers

So just out of curiosity one night, I googled "post-adoption depression". I mainly found sites and articles about adoptive parents. "Many adoptive parents are suffering from a common complaint called Post-Adoption Depression. It's a real condition that many in the adoption community are unaware exists." That's valid, but what about birthmothers who are experiencing post-adoption depression? It's no secret that every birth mother grieves the "loss" of their child. But there's really no information out there on post-adoption depression relating to birth mothers. 

I was honestly shocked when I saw that. Without birth mothers, there would be no adoption! Sure, there's sites and articles about postpartum depression, but in a sense, that applies to mothers who are actually raising their children. I tend to stay away from that term. In this quote from the Mayo Clinic, "Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms — and enjoy your baby." The main thing that sticks out to me from that quote is to "enjoy your baby." But the truth is, I can't really do that. None of us can. 

Birth Mom Buds is a fantastic resource for us, I just wish there were more "medically accepted" articles for birth mothers to explore the disorder. Depression is depression, and you can call it whatever type you want, I'm not trying to take away from that. I just wish there were more medical professionals who acknowledged the loss we've all went through. There's so many articles on postpartum depression and even post adoption depression. The month after I placed, my adoption counselor recommended a therapist who specialized in placement depression with birth mothers. I recommend this to all birth mothers I come in contact with. (By the way, if you google "post-placement depression", it's mainly geared towards adoptive parents, too!) 

So, as of today, I'm creating my own diagnosis for our grief. "Birth Mother Placement Grief  Disorder." Sounds professional, doesn't it?! If any of you wonderful ladies would like to share your experiences with "Birth Mother Placement Grief Disorder", please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your stories/opinions. 

Until next week! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

They're Lurking Online

In my post a couple of weeks ago titled Where are the Others?, I made the observation that while some of us are known to each other as fellow birthmoms, there are still many women in the general population who are not known. For the couple of weeks since then, we have been spitballing ideas about where those women are. Today's installment is intended to be the last unless you have other ideas we can talk about.

The last couple of posts have highlighted both our churches and our communities as sources for where 'they' are. While some of us have managed to connect online, I dare say there are many others who are lurking, looking about for what groups are legit and who is not. Many of those women have been burned by a group or two or a connection or two before and are reticent to put themselves out there again.

However I do believe there exist online groups that are well-run, well-led and seek to truly help women heal. Take this one, Birthmom Buds. What a great organization run by women with true hearts and no desire to lift themselves above anyone else. I do believe there are other groups out there run by some very motivated women. I belong to several of them and appreciate the words of encouragement the women share with one another.

So to sum it all up, we're out there on our own journey. I once read a quote that said, Be nice to everybody for you have no idea what battles they are fighting. That applies to us as well. We should be sensitive to other women out there who are hurting privately without the support of others, like we have.

Photo credit

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quote of the Week: Dreams

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Deciding When Enough is REALLY Enough

On Saturday, August 31st, I had my 6th visit with my son, Micah. S and H met my mom and I at a local kid's amusement park around 10 AM. We've made it an annual thing now and it's never effected me the way it did for this visit. Actually, none of the visits have effected me the way this one did.

My son is now 17 months old and he's starting to develop his own personality. The first thing he did when he saw me was wave and smile. It was so sweet, but heart wrenching at the same time. As the day went on, I started getting back spasms (I've been having some medical problems, back spasms being one of the symptoms). I just brushed it off, hoping that I'd be able to continue with the visit. We were having a great time when all of a sudden, Micah started running around. I know, it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it hit me really hard. It was the first time I've really been able to see him move around. Finally, at 12 PM, I decided that it was too much, I couldn't emotionally handle it anymore, and I had to leave. 

This visit has been the first time that I've actually questioned my decision about his placement. The more S and H talked about his milestones, even just day to day stuff, the more I thought about my actual role in his life. It's frustrating, to say the least. 

Have any of you birth mothers ever felt this way? Have you ever had a visit end this way? I'd love to hear about your experiences and stories! Feel free to comment below. Always remember, you're not alone! 

Until next week!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In our Churches

In a continuing attempt to locate The Others, I am spit balling where I think they may be. No, I don't think they are all together in some undisclosed location. I think they are right here in our towns and cities living among us. That's where we live, right? So why should it be any different for them?

Who are The Others, you ask? Birthmothers who have moved on with their lives but have never forgotten about that child they placed two or more decades ago. That's who I'm talking about. I love it that the younger generation is so open about their adoption and are getting connected with each other. But that's not always how it's been.

So today's entry focuses on another likely place to find them, namely, churches. I know not all of you are church goers, but for those of us who are, listen up. In an attempt to draw some of these other women out, I have been very vocal about my experience with adoption. A couple years ago, my pastor even let me give my testimony from the pulpit during a morning worship service as part of his message during each of our services. A God-appointment to be sure.

While my reason for doing that is because God makes me talk about it, it's also an opportunity to put a face to an actual birthmother while dispelling any lingering myths. It's amazing what happens when you throw out the word "adoption" in a roomful of people. You can just see the ripples, can't you?

Anyway, back to my point, which is that some of these ladies are in our churches. One reason is because they were raised in an era where you took your kids to church. Even if they didn't believe in God themselves, many from that generation started going to church once they had their own kids.

But more than that, a lot of women come to church to find forgiveness and acceptance. While they may have moved on with their lives in some ways, there may still be a hole or an emptiness in their souls.

Many of these women have never connected with their birthchildren. They are from an era of closed adoption with no plans to ever reunite. Many of them believe that there is no reuniting in this life. How can they believe that, you ask? Because that's what many were told.

I encourage you to be aware that these women are all around you. They are in your neighborhoods and in your churches. Know that you are not the only one who is hurting.

Photo credit

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday: I'm Still Here by Vertical Horizon

"The cities grow the rivers flow
Where you are I'll never know
But I'm still here
If you were right and I was wrong
Why are you the one who's gone
And I'm still here"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quote of the Week: Do Something!

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Baby Daddy? Baby Daddy, Who?

TGIF, ladies! Hope you had a great week.

As I sit here, cuddling up with my cats, I often imagine I'm cuddling with Micah's bio dad. Even though everyone says "you're better off without him," I can't help but think how much different my life would be if he didn't turn out to be such a butthead. 

Now, I suppose I should give you a little background on bio dad. I met him in 2010 at a friend's house. As soon as he walked in, I was in lust. He was about 5'7, blonde hair, blue eyes, and muscles.. oh his muscles. He was my perfect guy. We hit it off right away. Even though I was 16 and he was 22, we pretty much became best friends right away. We had SO much in common! When I got home, I knew I had just met my soul mate. Buuuut, life doesn't make it that easy for us, does it? 

As the weeks went on, we grew closer and closer. I was almost positive he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend. So one night I get a text from baby daddy asking me if I wanted to come over and watch movies. He told me he had a surprise for me. I was like, "uh heck yes!" But of course I played it off all cool. "Tonight? Umm.. Yeah, I guess I can make it." 

I showed up at his house at around 10pm. I knocked on the door and when he answered it and gave me a huge hug. "This is it.. He's going to ask me," I thought. I sat down on the couch and he wrapped his arms around me. "What's my surprise?" I asked. "I have the house to myself tonight. No one's home." "So we're going down this route..." I thought. He smelled sooo good, so I honestly didn't even care. Shallow, I know. But I was 16! 

Now, baby daddy already had a 5 year old son from a previous relationship. Long story short, the baby momma sent crazy so he has partial custody of him for 6 months out of the year. It just so happens that baby daddy's 5 year old baby was home and his crib was in baby daddy's room.. Awkward. It killed the mood for about 30 seconds but he smelled soooooooo goooooodddd!!! So off we went. The magical night ended with a smack on the butt and a polite push out the door. "Wow... That was special," I said, sarcastically. "What did you expect was going to happen? Actual movies?" Yeah, kind of.. :/ 

About a month later, baby daddy got a girlfriend and our friendship evaporated. I felt like someone had just died.. Oh yeah, it was my hopes and dreams. In October, baby daddy's girlfriend found out she was pregnant. Slightly devastated, I called him just to "check in". Us women know that means, "I miss you so much, but I can't let you know that I think about you all the time, so I'm going to pretend that I'm happy for you even though I want to scream my face off." He ignored my call and then proceeded to never call me again. When I found out I was pregnant in March, he completely lost it. I texted him a picture of all 5 of my positive  pregnancy tests and even the picture of the ultrasound. His response? "You obviously photoshopped all of that. I don't know why you're trying so hard to get me back." Now this time, I was completely devastated. 

Needless to say, baby daddy has not been involved with anything having to do with Micah, or me for that matter. Unless you  count signing adoption papers. It's been a horrible time in my life, but you just have to move on. As a 15 month old, I never would've thought Micah would be a middle child. But he is. Life happens. 

How is your relationship with your child's biological father?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Are you my Neighbor?

 Well, thank you ladies for joining in the discussion last week in my post Where are the Others? I think this is an important topic and want to spend the next few posts spit-balling some possibilities. I am always glad to hear from you especially if your view differs from mine. 

One place I think these ladies are is in our neighborhoods. I think many of us have moved on from that time and place in our lives, gotten married, had children, and gone on. This totally describes me although I have made peace with my experience.

I think many women, while they have never truly forgotten their child, have pushed those memories so far away from their current life that it's almost like that pregnancy and that child happened to someone else.

It could be for many of them that they haven't told a soul, not even their husbands.

And I think that while there are women experiencing post-placement effects of some kind, I think they never in a million billion years think it is related to their pregnancy and subsequent placement of a child or children.

Now for the younger moms, this doesn't necessarily hold true. The current generation is very open about their experiences, good and bad, and more likely to reach out for support. But anyone over the age of 40 can identify with the rest of this post.

Do you have any women in your neighborhood whom you suspect to be a birthmom in hiding? I'd love to hear your stories!

Photo credit

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quote of the Week: Being Healed of Suffering

"We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full."