What It Feels Like to Become a Mother Before Becoming a Mom

What It Feels Like to Become a Mother Before Becoming a Mom

Nine years ago today, I pushed my daughter into this world with one last mighty push. Nine years ago today, I became a mother. Nine years ago today, a brand new resident doctor stitched me up while my daughter's mom held her for the first time, my arms empty. The pain of the inexperienced stitching didn't compare to the burning hot pain in my heart as I lived through that first experience of almost but not quite, the life-long journey of birth motherhood.

Six

I look back on the day that my daughter -- my firstborn, my only girl -- was born with awe, both in amazement of how amazing she was and we all were but with an incredulous, gut-sinking feeling. How did it all come to be? And why? And, more over, how did I survive? I don't ask that last one lightly: How on Earth did I survive?

Maybe I survived because becoming a mother and simultaneously handing a child over to the woman who would become her mom didn't fully hit me until later. Even when we visited for the first time months later and I responded to her cries, it didn't fully hit me. The realization of loss of everything I could have had, could have shared, could have been wouldn't come until much later, when my first son rocked my world.

I've been asked over the years, in kind and not so kind ways, how I could have done it, the reasons that lead to that life-altering choice and variations on theme. Some are laced with judgment; How could you? Some are compassionate; But why? You're such a great mom. Most are just curious. I answer, I go on.

One question most people don't ask though is how it feels. How does it feel to be a birth mother? How does it feel to hand your child over to someone else? How does it feel on that first birthday, that first Christmas, that first anything without your child? How does it feel to be a participant in an open adoption, to see her grow up, but to be an outsider all the same? How does it feel?

It feels indescribable -- as in, there are no words. My robust vocabulary does not include the wording to make someone understand what it feels like to place a child for adoption unless that person has done so; and even then, the situations at hand and resulting feelings differ. For me, becoming a mother before I became a mom felt like being told the meaning to life, feeling that understanding and awe, but upon waking up the first morning after having learned the knowledge, I couldn't remember what I had been told. I had it all... and then I didn't. I had a baby... and then I didn't.

I have been present, always available. I have watched her grow, told her I loved her, answered questions. I have forged relationships, driven countless miles. I am lucky to have what I have. I am blessed to be any part of her life as she is so very amazing. But always, always, on the periphery of my luck and my blessing is that nagging feeling that I knew something so very important but I do not anymore. That I held something so fantastic in my arms and now... I do not.

 

Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land.

Related Posts

Birthmother's Day: Separate and Not Equal but Maybe Okay

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. That means today -- the day before Mother's Day -- is Birthmother's Day. Started in 1990 by a group of birthmothers in Seattle, it is a day set aside to honor the love, sacrifice and loss that mothers who relinquish their children for adoption feel and experience. As a birth mother, I should love this day. The truth is that I don't quite know how I feel about this day.   Read more >

Adoption, Loss and Reunion: An Interview with the Author of Jessica Lost

At the beginning of the year, I was picking out books to read for the Adoption Reading Challenge I started. As I hopped around adoption-related books on Amazon, I came across one that would be released in May 2011: "Jessica Lost: A Story of Birth, Adoption & The Meaning of Motherhood." As a birth mother, I was exceptionally interested in this book as it is written by a birth mother, Bunny (Faith) Crumpacker, and an adult adoptee, Jil Picariello. I was thrilled to be able to interview Jil for BlogHer.   Read more >

"Rescue Adoption" and How the Mommybloggers Broke Jillian Michaels' Heart

Jillian Michaels tells Women's Health magazine that she's not going to ruin her hard-earned six-pack abs on a baby -- she'll take the figure-conscious route and adopt. But saving your figure is not the only benefit to adoption. According to Michaels, "when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself." And suddenly, millions of heads exploded around America.   Read more >

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.