A Delicate Balance: Birth Mother's And Celebrating Mother's Day
The Woman That Loves My Child
I spent the first moments awake texting the adoptive mother of my son. We talk often, mostly on weekends with some sort of updates about his week, stories of how he went to park or daycare. People that I know only by names or have seen in pictures.
I wish her a Happy Mother's Day.
She replies back and starts to tell me about her plans for the day including a lunch date with other family members and going to the park if the weather permits.
We have a pretty open relationship and there is plenty that I feel I can tell her during visits and over the phone but there is a always that little stab of jealousy when it comes to holidays like Mother's Day.
There is no such holiday for the women that have given birth to children that have been put up for adoption. I don't want a card per say, I don't want to have family members treat me to Mother's Day festivities. I guess I want some sort of acknowledgment.
While there is no official holiday for birth mothers, we want some sort of acknowledgment as well for the role we provide in the child's life- especially in the cases of open adoption which are becoming more and more common.
Monsters Much Lunch
At least once a week I get on my computer and make a video for my son. Reading books has been one of the most popular activities as he is just starting to find his voice and soon to be exposed to children's shows on TV when the family feels he is ready.
He has stuffed Sesame Street toys, without knowing their origin as characters he will soon see on the talking box that his parents watch. This week I have read three Sesame stories including Monsters Much Lunch, The Monster At The End Of This Book, and Ernie, Grover, Come On Over!
I hope he has the appreciation for reading as I do, and that the felt creatures that I fell in love with on the children's television network bring him hours of learning and entertainment.
For now, he knows my voice.
I'm not sure if he seems to recognize me yet when we get together. He is a little shy with most people they say, I don't know if that is to make my husband and I feel a little better as he shyly clings to their legs and peers around them with wide eyes as we approach him.
He knows though that we always play with him and that he gets gifts when we get together- not that we want to buy his affections. I hope that he understands as he is older I am still trying to do as much as I can for him given my current circumstances.
He always relaxes after a bit, letting me carry him around but keeping his eye out for mom and dad. His family is going to explain more as he grows and is old enough to understand more about who we are and how everyone came together as a new type of family.
It's been awhile since I have been able to get together with the family but my phone is filled with this weeks pictures and videos of his high pitched little squeals as he claps and excitedly stares into the video at me with eyes that look exactly like mine.
I flip through this weeks updates of videos and watch his squeal at me and clap and wave, his eyes look exactly like mine.
One Day At A Time
I have been forever collecting things that I want to eventually give my birth son when he is ready. I have a collection of old family photos, my father-in-law made him a family tree based off an Ancestry website.
I would like to do a 23 And Me one day as well since I know so little about my father so I can tell him more about that side of his family.
As much as I have to keep me motivated, I realize that there is no guarantee that when he grows up that he may want anything to do with the us. The point of open adoption, was to keep those lines of communication there so he never wonders about where he came from and is never one of those kids that grows up thinking I sent him away out of neglect or spite.
I just always want what is best for him. That is what I have done.
It is a hard sentence though, as the holidays pass and I see him experience them through pictures and he only gets things like a second birthday or Christmas with us when it can be arranged.
People seem to think once you decide to put a child up for adoption they are something that never crosses your mind again, just put away. A thought that can be compartmentalized. Even if I had decided to have no contact, I would think about him every day and hope to know as much about him as I could.
People still don't know what to make of adoption, even in this day and age and it is so difficult to explain the relationship and the feelings to people outside the arrangement I don't even bother rather than face the judgement.
Incident At The Doctor's Office
I have learned over the years to not over explain anything when it comes to the adoption.
People outside the arrangement will never understand our confusing family which will grow more complicated when his adoptive family decides to adopt more children, bringing in more backgrounds and involvement with birth parents and he will gain siblings that have families that are not his. My husband and I plan to have other children as well, if we are able down the line which I am not even sure if that will be possible as his birth in itself was a strange blessing as I was constantly told by my doctor due to my PCOS I wouldn't be able to carry a child.
I remember going to doctor appointments back when I was expecting, not finding out until very late in the second trimester when the troubles were expected to just be complications from ovarian cysts that have plagued me for most of my teen and adult years. The doctor's staff wasn't sure how to deal with me- confused what information I actually wanted, how I was going to stay involved with the child after the adoption was finalized.
There was a stigma, even in the maturity unit at the hospital when the nurses didn't understand why I wanted him in the room and to feed and hold him. They were confused when I put a name on the birth certificate that I knew would be later changed.
Because of the nature of how I had been treated with since the surprise pregnancy announcement, when again I was expecting to hear I needed cysts removed, and knowing that I was going to give him the best gift I could-a family that could provide for his needs; there was no need to inform any not involved parties. I hadn't told anyone that wasn't on a need to know basis. The HR and the immediate boss at the job I had at the time, my mother, brother, my husband's family. That was it.
We shied away from friends, losing contact with most. We didn't tell coworkers and it was assumed that I was off work for several weeks for some sort of surgery due to confidentiality.
I never told most of the people that I knew, slowly testing the waters later on with some people- very few understanding as most eventually treating me like a pariah.
When I got new doctors, I never check the box that I have ever had children. It is easier not to explain.
This week at my new job, everyone was talking about their Mother's Day plans with their children. The men have big plans to celebrate their wives.
I have gotten what I needed in telling the adoptive family that I was thinking of them on Mother's Day and that I was so proud of them and the life that they were giving my most precious possession.
It is weird not having pictures of my son on my desk at work. I tell everyone somewhat the truth- that my husband and I want to have children eventually but we aren't ready yet.
They nod in sympathy and then go back to shoving their pictures of their babies under my nose and I nod and smile back at images of drooling toothless infants knowing that I have a phone full of pictures no one can ever see.
I have been battling depression. If anyone thinks any of this is easy, they are sadly mistaken.
Where around Mother's Day there are some Birth Mother's support groups and meet ups, I don't think I am ready for something like that yet/
I don't want to make him my secret you see, I just want him to be mine. Something that I don't have to share with the rest of the world if that makes any sense.
I don't know how other Birth Mother's feel, as the few I know are not involved with their children any longer so is what I experience normal? Years of therapy seem to only lead to more medications for depression and more therapy appointments.
Still I don't want anything to think there is any moment that I regret. I am so proud of the young man that he will become. I adore his family. He is so happy every time I see him.
I hope he will understand how much I struggled with this choice and how we spent hours going through profiles and interviewing the right families.
I worry if he will be jealous someday when I have another child.
I wish I knew my place on days like Mother's Day.
Maybe my place is just to be the scribe and make sure I have every moment recorded for him when he needs it some day to understand his beginnings.