I had Jessica when I was just shy of 17 years old. I was in love instantly. She was such a joy to be around, always smiling and making me laugh. A few months went by and I thought to myself, what does her life look like through her eyes? Hmm, not as great as I'd like it to be. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible but it wasn't enough. A friend of mine told me about Adoption Options so I went to their office and looked at a few files. Jessica was 6 months old at this time. I took 3 files home with me so I could continue looking them over. They just didn't feel like the right fit. Jessica and I spent her first birthday together, heaven for me but I still knew, there needs to be more. Then a new file came in and I immediately headed over to Adoption Options. I read it over and looked at all of the pictures and I knew, this is her family! It was one of those "clouds part, angels sing" moments! We met a few days later and they were perfect for us. Jessica even crawled over and hugged her soon to be mom. Talk about meant to be 🙂 It was just around Christmas time and I thought about having her for one more Christmas but then wouldn't it be just amazing for this new couple and Jessica to share their first of many Christmas's together starting right now? We made arrangements (contract) of seeing each other 6 times a year and pictures every 2 months and special occasions. This didn't always work out but maybe I asked for too much. They needed to have a life too and not have to always worry about sending me letters and pictures. Fast forward to Jessica being 11. Now that she's a little lady she wanted to start chatting on the phone. Our first phone call lasted a few hours 🙂 And then over the years we chatted on the phone, Skype'd and I visited her several times a year. As she got older she would come see me, spending reading week with me etc. She lives in Calgary, I live in Vancouver. I remember fondly that she was dating a boy who really wanted to meet her 'tummy mommy' so on one of my visits to see her I met this young man. He is now her husband 🙂 Wouldn't you know it, I met my husband the same year they got married! And now it's not just visiting her, it's visiting our 5 grandbabies too! She has said many times how fortunate she feels that her children have 3 sets of active grandparents (his parents, her parents and me and my husband). We are all so very fortunate! And I feel very fortunate that Adoption Options exists, otherwise I would not have been able to keep in contact and have all of these beautiful babies in my life!!! Nor would I see the exceptional woman Jessica turned into!
Hearts of Adoption Options:
The One Thing I Wish I’d Known…
I was nineteen when I found out I was pregnant; fast forward thirteen years later to today and I (like many others) am flooded with so many happy memories as I look back on my journey with Open Adoption. Memories like dancing in the kitchen with my son Tom and his adoptive parents to the Black Keys, with the volume on full blast. Family trips to Disneyland, and even quiet snuggles when he was younger as I’d read him ‘just one more story’ before bed. These are all things that I truly never believed I would ever get to experience as a Birth Mom; so ‘grateful’ doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel most days. However, there is a part of my story that I haven’t shared before now. I suppose I’m writing this in hopes of it helping just one other Birth Mom to not feel like she’s entirely alone on the subject.
OK, so grief may seem like an obvious thing that one would need to deal with when going through something like Open Adoption. In fact I think there may have even been a group therapy class available to me when I was pregnant (that I likely skipped). I didn’t need training on grief, I was apart of something too wonderful to have time to be sad. I didn’t get it. And it took me a solid twelve years (there’s no exaggeration there) until I actually felt it. I suppose looking back, I didn’t feel like I had the right to grieve. I felt too much guilt around it…even feeling shameful at times for being remotely sad about something that had turned out so beautifully. I mean, how could I possibly feel sad when this little boy was so loved and taken care of, and I still get to see him, and I should be grateful, and appreciative, and, and, and.
And I managed to make it through those first twelve years pretty seamlessly - until finally last Mothers Day, in the middle of my steak dinner, it came over me like a full on f**king tsunami. I absolutely lost it. I burst into tears, and yet still tried to smile as I just kept putting fork-fulls of food into my mouth. Have you ever tried to eat and cry at the same time? It’s not easy, I assure you. My poor partner didn’t even know what to say…and neither did I. That night, and into the next morning, I just cried. And I mean ugly-cried, like snot pouring out of your nose, wiping it on your sweater, can’t catch a breath, sobbing into a pillow, cried. I was finally grieving. Grieving the loss as a Mother who wasn’t able to raise her own child. It was happening whether I was ready for it or not, so I decided to finally give myself the room and permission to properly do it. I allowed myself to feel disappointed, to feel angry, to feel jealous, to feel empty. I leaned into the hurt, and just sat with it in that dark room by myself. I acknowledged its existence, and then told myself that I was not a bad person for feeling this way. To clarify: my therapist told me I was not a bad person for feeling that way, I however, thought I was a horrendous human being. The whole experience was pretty cathartic to say the least.
Looking back today, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I only wish I’d given myself permission to grieve a little sooner, and realized that just because I feel sad sometimes, doesn’t take away the immeasurable gratitude and love I also hold. I guess I’ve learnt over this last decade that there can be space to feel both. And I encourage you to give yourself permission to feel all the feels, because when you do, it’s pretty damn liberating.
MC (birthmother) xoxo