When I was a child my mother told me that my birth mother chose not to hold me when I was born. I do not remember how old I was or what kind of conversation we were having. I don’t even know if she was telling the truth or how she would know that kind of information. But it didn’t matter. They were the type of words that seep deep into your being, that you could never forget, even if you wanted to. Why wouldn’t she want to hold me? To see me, to say goodbye. It didn’t make sense. And it hurt.
Life kept moving. My 18th birthday came and went. The moment I could begin my search left me feeling more unsure about the whole thing. When I was 21, I married my high school sweetheart and we began our life together. Once we finished school we knew we were ready to begin a family.
The excitement of expecting my first child, also made me realize what a difficult decision giving a child up for adoption is. I remember soaking in a hot bath one evening and I could literally see my baby moving around inside of me. It was creepy and amazing in the same moment. Though I had not yet seen my child’s face, I was in love. Love only a mother could understand. I longed to hold her in my arms.
It was in that moment that I broke down in tears for the mother I’ve never met. What a hard, possibly lonely journey she found herself on all those years ago. She would’ve watched her stomach grow, felt me move inside of her. Worry about her decision, how I might turn out. Knowing she would never see me crawl, walk, say my first words, learn to ride a bike. It broke my heart.
In the hospital room, after 12 hours of labor when I finally was able to hold my tiny, sweet, beautiful newborn girl I had an epiphany.
Of course she didn’t want to hold me, because she would’ve never been able to let go.
UPDATE: since this post I have reunited with my birth mom and found out she did actually hold me. She knew she would regret it if she didn’t. This epiphany helped me see adoption from a birthmothers perspective. And oh how grateful I was to hear that she had held me and said goodbye.
Click here if you want to read about the effects of mother-newborn separation. This one had me in tears.