I am a natural mother to a beautiful girl. She was conceived in the year of 2000. This is part of my story.
I truly felt that adoption was the best choice at that point in my life. Looking back at myself from the current version of me, I know that I was always scared, torn and confused. I had so many reasons to doubt myself… I was scared of being a failure and I thought I was doing the right thing for her. The couple who were adopting my daughter were family of my mother’s boyfriend at the time, I felt like she would be close by and it would be easier since I knew them. I didn’t want to change my mind and upset them when they wanted a child so badly and couldn’t have their own, I didn’t want to go back on my word, I didn’t want to have a second child without a good father, I was alone, 23 and already had a small child and was struggling taking care of him and I. I definitely wanted her to have more than I could give her on a financial level. I felt like a loser. What was I going to be able to give this little girl? I could give her my love and my “best”, but I just didn’t feel like my “best” at the time was good enough. There seemed to be so many reasons to go through with it. She came from a short-lived “relationship” that ended the day that I told him I was pregnant and he told me that I needed to have an abortion. I told him that I wasn’t doing that and kicked him out and was left on my own to figure it out.
I had made quite a few bad choices when it comes to men, so I am aware that I put myself in this situation. Unfortunately, it’s taken a lot of living and mistakes to know what I know today. I had the displeasure of living the abused child life; the regularly scheduled domestic violence, the severely traumatized mother, the lack of my real father and presence of a terrible stepfather, drugs, alcohol, social services, being molested, the mental and emotional abuse, moving around, the unsavory type of trailer-living, the judgmental, homophobic, religious and hateful racist ignorant family and stepfamily. In other words, the textbook recipe to create a dysfunctional and/or damaged human being. It took me until I was in my late 20’s before I finally realized that no part of that family was good for me, even my own mother. It’s a lot of work to try to fix you as an adult, and I’m still working on it. Along that road I realized that I never dealt with the loss of my daughter from my life, it went with the rest of my negative experiences, I locked them in the trauma chest.
My pregnancy was healthy and uneventful, but sad. The closer it got, the harder it got. I just wanted it to be over. It started to hit me that my child who was growing inside me was going to be gone. I almost changed my mind, but again, I started to compare myself to her adoptive parents-to-be, I didn’t have a room for her, still struggling to make ends meet, basically made myself feel like I wasn’t good enough and that they would give her a better life. I knew that I am a good mom; I just couldn’t give her what they could.
In 2001, less than two weeks after my own birthday, she was born. Her labor was short and her delivery smooth. I feel like that time all passed so quickly! I held her in my arms; I looked at her beautiful little face. I just wanted to keep her but I knew that they wanted her and were waiting for her too. They built a room for her; they had all of the supplies. They were ready to be parents to her. That’s all I could think about. I shut my own feelings out to try to kill the pain. I just kept telling myself how much better she would be with them. I don’t remember every moment of that experience, I remember making sure to keep up with the meds to keep my feelings drowned. I was an absolute mess. I remember leaving most of the care up to her new mom. I wanted to pick her up and love her and cuddle her, I wanted to care for her… but I kept it to a minimum. Looking back, I now realize that I was trying to detach myself. The social services even came in and offered to help me if I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to give my baby away; I think other people felt it as well. I couldn’t do it though, I looked at her new parents-to-be and felt this fear that I was going to change my mind. I didn’t change my mind, I kept my word. I was miserable inside, I have never experienced that kind of sadness before. The day they dropped me off from the hospital and I watched my baby ride away with someone else was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I went numb. I cried. I was depressed. I had to use sleeping pills at first just to sleep at night after her birth. I then tried to bury it as fast as possible. I wanted to feel like life was normal again. Naturally, that never happened, life just became different.
After the first year of the open adoption, I had to pull myself away; it was far too hard to deal with. Honestly, I don’t even remember much of that first year. All I have is some photos of a couple of different moments. I remember the limited visits, then her first birthday party. That party was an emotional nightmare for me, I left in tears. I felt so out of place and alien, like my presence was not really desired. After that is when contact ceased on both ends. By chance, I have seen her on two different occasions in passing at one of her family member’s homes. The one time I remember clearly is when she stopped right in front of me and looked up at me and said “hi!” and I will never forget that moment. It was like being stabbed in the heart. My flesh and blood was standing right in front of me and had no idea who I was. That was devastating. In order to deal with the loss of my daughter, I had to shut it out, I shut it out for years and rarely even spoke of her. I remember people being shocked when I would tell them I had another child. I kept it buried, where it couldn’t hurt me, where I didn’t have thoughts of her invading my mind throughout the day and night…
In 2006, my son and I moved and started anew. I left my relationship of 6 years and wanted to make my life better. This is when my life started to change. I got a job that I really liked, I was having fun, and things were going well. Not long after, I met the man that I am with still today. In 2007 we gave birth to our little girl. This experience brought all of those feelings about my first daughter back. I remember wondering what she is going to think when she finds out that I had another child, but yet, I didn’t keep her. Did I deserve another child considering that I gave my last one away?
The positive thing was, I was finally at a good point in life. I had my small family and we had everything we needed, we weren’t by any means rich, but I was doing better than I ever had before that. I knew things were only going to get better. I was keeping my distance and trying not to interfere out of respect and my own insecurities, grief and dysfunction, but I realized that is not how I wanted her to remember me. I did want to be part of her life. Even if she didn’t want contact with me yet, I want her to know that I am here.
Forward to 2011, I emailed her mom to see if I could get a photo of her and asked how she was. I wanted to know more about her and that interaction ended up being frustrating and I expressed my frustration to her mom. They talked and were letting my daughter read my emails I sent to her mom. Apparently, they didn’t tell her that she was adopted, she found out from a family member, so now they don’t hide anything from her. She was supposed to know that she was adopted. In the end, I finally got a photo of her with her family and after that I didn’t try to contact them again for awhile. In the past year, I found her on the internet. I tried to cautiously interact with her, there were some hot and cold interactions and then she said that if I want to communicate with her to send it in the mail. So I did. Nervously, I made her a birthday card and wrote a letter and sent it. I was honest in my letter to her, I explained my feelings and my side in the least overbearing way that I could. To my surprise, she actually called me. My heart dropped to the floor when I asked who it was and she said her name. I remember I felt shaky and overwhelmed with emotion, I was stuttering, I couldn’t believe that she called me! She loved her card and told me that the letter helped her understand things a little more. We talked about life stuff and school. I don’t remember everything we spoke of, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, but we talked for a little over an hour. She said a couple of things to me that I didn’t know how to take, she brought up me referring to her as “my child” in an email, she said that her mom went to the doctor’s appointments with me and everything, so she “thanks her mom for her birth just as much” as me. (I didn’t understand the need for that to be established) And she also stated that her whole family had talked about the situation and that some of her relatives were saying that she would want to go with me now… so I feel like some of them don’t want her to get to know me if they are saying things like that. She doesn’t even know me, why would anyone say that to her? But the call ended with a surprise, she actually said “Love you” to me, and of course I said it in return, but, I was shocked. I didn’t expect that.
She doesn’t write back to my letters, I’ve sent a few so far. I recently deleted my account, but until then we followed each other on IG and she’d occasionally like my photos. I feel so pathetic for saying just wishing for someone to acknowledge me, but it’s real. I just want her to see that I’m here and I don’t want to take the place of anyone. I just want to be another person that loves her. I can’t help but love her. She’s my flesh and blood, I’m a mother, I love my children. I feel the loss of her in my life. It’s very real, it’s very sad, it’s a heavy thing I carry with me. I know it was my choice to give her to someone else to raise, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I also think of her, deep down, I wonder how she feels? Does she have any underlying issues now because I gave her to another family but yet I have my first and third child? She sounds healthy and sane, I just hope that my choice didn’t damage her. Some days I want to give up, I feel like she’ll never want to meet me. But something keeps me going.
The older, wiser, more stable me regrets my decision. This may not be the feeling that all first mothers may feel, but this is mine. The more time passes, that’s what I feel about my decision. I hate the way I feel. I hate that I gave my baby away because I was scared, ignorant, foolish and I didn’t feel like I was good enough and I hate that I was more concerned about the feelings of others, I should have cared about her feelings more. Who truly wants their own mother to give them away? Unless it’s a terrible situation where the child is being harmed… NOBODY. I look back and think about where I was and where I am now, it turned out okay, things worked out. My kids are awesome people, they are good and intelligent, kind and creative, and they are unique and cool. They are taken care of, always were. They have way more than I had growing up, they are loved and encouraged. She would have been okay with me. I should have taken the chance and tried to make it work. I would have struggled, but I did that any way. My life might be totally different now, I know this. I know I can’t change it and it’s going to have to go on its natural course. I have to talk about it though. Her life is different than it would be if she was with me, but different doesn’t equal bad. I now have to deal with the blow-back of my decision and it’s in full force. Every day I think of this beautiful little girl sitting in a few towns away that looks so much like me and used to live in my belly and would be here with me had I made one different decision, but I can’t have her in my life until she’s ready to have me, if she ever will.
I know she has conflicting emotions about it. I’m just hoping that she eventually talks to me about it. I know she has her own side and I don’t overlook that, I try not to be pushy in my interactions and if she asks that I do something, I will respect her wishes. I love her. I don’t even get the pleasure of being around her, but I already know she’s awesome. I don’t know when I’m going to leave this world, I just hope that I get the pleasure of hanging out with her and talking before I leave though.
I recently talked with one of my friends that was also a natural
birthmother, her daughter is grown now and she has contact and visits when they get the chance, she told me that for her it’s harder now and at no point is it easy. I figured as much. This is a very permanent and sad situation, I would certainly do it different if I could go back and choose.
That’s my story so far.
Side note: One good thing that came from the situation was that I actually went to college not long after I had her. The sadness of not having her motivated me to try to start improving myself so I can do better in life and not end up going down the path of my family members.