Who has an awesome case worker? Oh right, its us!
Thank you so much for this message, SC. I know we are both so happy to know we are helping other birth parents. We both plan to continue to try and help more. This totally made my day!!!!
Trying so hard not to get into the abortion debate on reddit right now.
I really wish people would think about how traumatizing and painful it can be for birth parents when they suggest adoption in lieu of abortions.
Adoption will never be an alternative to abortions. Ever. It’s a mute point and I wish people would stop pushing it.
Stop shaming people who get abortions.
Every time I look at a calendar I realize how quickly The Birth Mom Buds retreat weekend is coming up. I was luckily enough to have my agency offer to send me, pay for gas and the hotel room to go. I’m excited, but I am also very very very nervous.
I have never traveled that far from home, ever. I can count the times I’ve been out of PA on one hand and that was only to Maryland so it hardly counts. The farthest I’ve ever traveled was to Pittsburgh and that was with Zach. To be honest, I kind of wish he could go because I think I would definitely be less anxious about it. Mostly because I would have someone I know going on the trip with me.
I think that is what I’m most nervous about. I’m going with two other birth moms, one who I have met before a few times and have talked too and one who I’ve never met. It is no secret that not only am I anti social on a whole, but I have a lot of social anxiety. There have been a lot of times where I’ve had plans with people that I’ve had to cancel because the thought of being around them made me nauseous. And that’s people I know fairly well.
I’m just afraid that I will be reclusive the whole time I’m there, and come across as a total bitch. Which I am, but I make an effort to not actively be one. I’m just nervous to travel with people I don’t really know, to go to a state I’ve never been, 7 hours from home to go be around people I don’t know at all.
I am excited for the opportunity. I’ve always wanted to travel and see other places than Bumfuck PA where I live. I just can’t help but feel anxious about it. It’s in my personality to expect the worst, so I’m afraid I’ll lock myself in a bathroom somewhere and just cry.
My therapist is out of the office for another two weeks so I can’t even vent to her. I feel bad for dumping on Zach constantly, especially when he’s gone out of his way the last week to make me feel better. But goddamn, I am so anxious.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to get over social anxiety/anxiety in general? I could use some coping tips right now.
So I’ve been reblogging a lot, not really writing much. I find I write my best posts when I’m emotional and surprisingly I’ve been pretty stable as of late. I’ve been getting a lot of great updates about M. He loved his school’s creepy easter bunny (it looked like something you’d find in a horror movie for real) and he’s such a big guy. I can’t believe it. He is growing up so fast, where is my lil baby? )): Happy he is growing up to be happy and healthy, just wish he’d slow down!
Obviously, I’ve been in contact with another really awesome birth mom, who I am always reblogging. I can’t stress enough how amazing she is, and how much fun it’s been getting to know her. I think we may have been separated at birth, or something.
We’ve been brainstorming a bit, and we’re hoping we can start forming our own birth mom support group. We want something informal where birth families feel safe to express their feelings without judgement. I’ve always found it’s easier to talk to someone who’s been down the same road, and who gets it. We got big plans, ya’ll. Hope your on board!
One thing that is almost as fruitful to my life as writing, is reading. I was introduced a book by the author, Lao-Tzu. This book is no simple read….it’s not quite as hard as reading the old testament in the bible or anything, but it’s still one of those, read a page…and take time to reflect.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”-Lao-Tzu
We all find our selves attempting to create some sort of structure throughout our lives. Often times we struggle with this, because there are so many factors in life that are totally out of our control. It’s a hard concept to accept, however if we don’t accept it, this will be our biggest cause of stress, heartache and frustration.
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘live life on life’s terms’? This phrase is vital to the point I am attempting to pass along. I know what structures I set up in my own life, so it’s easiest to use myself as example.
I mentioned before in the ‘Up Until Birth Mom’ chapter of my story, that I was a creature of habit. I had the same day to day routine, allowing for only one possible day of any spontaneity. I had it in my head, that things were good, so long as they just remained the same. To me, that was moving forward.
So when things began to change…I began to panic. The more time I’ve spent reflecting on life, the more I’ve recognized, however, this didn’t just apply to the big picture. It also very much applied to ins and outs of my day to day routine. I could list the examples of all the hic-ups that arose, but I’ll just say, there were many unnecessary spats of frustration and stress. I struggled with the idea of ‘going with the flow’ or ‘rolling with the punches’.
What did ‘rolling with punches’ mean to me? At the time, it meant, surviving my day, brushing it all off and after a good nights rest, starting over. But I’ve found that what I thought was a successful solution, was actually just feeding the fire of a downward spiral. The truth of the meaning was much more. It’s accepting change without getting angry or frustrated. It’s accepting what life gives you, rather than trying to mold your day, or even your life to be exactly as you want it to be.
“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” - Chuang Tzu
So how do I achieve this sense of peace? Is there really a step by step way to get to a place where I can learn to just go with the flow? Of course there is. I just needed to take the time to put it all together. This is what I found:
Step 1: Realize that you can’t control everything.
Okay, everyone knows this to some extent. Everyone knows they can’t literally control everything. We can’t control the weather, or what the neighbor lady down the street will make for dinner. And the deeper things like, not being able to control having been born, how our parents chose to raise us, or even when we’re going to die. I knew I realized all of that, but what I didn’t truly understand was all of the small things I had zero control over. I never truly recognized that in life, I only really had an influence, but never control. So my first step was realizing that things will happen. And often, not might happen, but will happen. There are things that I could not control that will affect every aspect of my life, and I must learn to accept that, or I will constantly be forever frustrated.
Step 2: Become aware:
Once I accepted the harsh facts of all the things I can’t control, it was time to become aware. This was a tad bit harder to do. All the structure I had tried so hard to maintain, created bad habits. But I would never be able to change all the things in my head, if I wasn’t able to be aware of them. This required taking constant personal inventory and being self observant. The easiest way to over come this step, was to keep a record, mental or written, of all the things and all the times I found myself getting upset throughout the day. Over time, it has become tremendously easier to be aware of my own emotions.
Step 3: Breathe.
Throughout this journey of, losing my job, getting pregnant, and choosing adoption, the best advice I can give anyone ever, is to just take a deep breath. This entire process is hard.
Step 4: Get perspective.
This was and is one of my favorite steps. Basically what this means, talk it out. While its not beneficial to just spew your deepest of grievances to any random person…it is incredibly beneficial to verbalize your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust or who has or is walking your similar path. This is what saved me. I know I have said it before, but having the supportive backbone from AFTH and my newest dear friend, also a fellow birth mother, have been the sturdy palms of my helping hands. If you don’t have anyone on a personal level that you trust enough to be open with about adoption (or what ever you’re over coming) then talk to your social worker…no matter the agency… there are plenty of places to turn for perspective. That was my only option, so I can promise this process works if you work it.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Step 5: Practice.
My latest favorite analogy is, ‘becoming a birth mom is like learning to ride a bike. The more you practice, the better at it you’ll become’. And its so true! Personally, my journey to becoming a ‘birth mom’ started long before I signed on the dotted line. I had several months to chose a bike and begin my lessons of keeping balance. No one achieves perfection on their first try…I had to remind my self of that daily. Sometimes multiple times a day even. The truth is, this road was and has been, in no way easy. However, practicing these steps have made this journey more than bearable.
Step 6: Baby steps.
To be completely honest, this is the step where I am at today. I am not perfect. I have made tremendous strides…but I still have my weakened moments. I still cry. I still ask myself if I made the right decision. But my answer is always, yes. There is no rushing the process of over coming choosing adoption. The more you try….the farther back you’ll fall. Truth be told, taking baby steps will be a step you may not complete for quite a while. I have found, and have accepted, that there is no time limit on when I need to be ‘over’ it all. I know I never will. All I can do is take steps in the right direction, big or small.
Step 7: Laugh.
Laughing is natures way of healing. Spend time with those who influence positivity in your life. Find the strength to be around even just one friend or family member that you can share your laughter with. Sometimes laughing may seem like it requires a certain amount of detachment. I’ll let you in on a secret…. it does. But thats, okay. Having moments of detachment doesn’t mean you’ve become numb, or no longer care. It means your mind and emotions are being given a much deserved break from reality. Any one who has placed a child up for an adoption can tell you, things that have nothing to do with your adoption can, and often will, set you off into a sense of rage, sadness, or frustration. Learning to laugh it off, will be an awesome and helpful source of release.
Step 8: Write it all down.
Your media, your choice. Clearly for me, I chose to start a blog. Whether you chose to keep a personal journal or to post it for all to see, it helps. I won’t argue with the old fashion ways of writing with pen and paper. Often times its easier for people to be honest if they feel secure that it will remain private. Writing down your feelings isn’t an essay contest. It doesn’t even have to make sense. I promise you, though….one day when you read it back…it will. And you’ll be thankful you did.
Step 9: Meditate.
I have always been a fan of mediation. However, I realize that not everyone is. Mediation isn’t always the act of sitting with your legs contorted into an awkwardly crossed position with your hands resting on your knees, as we see in the movies. Sometimes it could be your time while you write, or the pauses you take to reflect after you’ve read something meaningful. Some folks enjoy things like exercise or yoga. There are thousands of ways to meditate. I like to (weather permitting) take some time to myself outdoors. I will sit, normally, and just get lost in my thoughts. I have always enjoyed doing this, but since choosing adoption, I have found this to be one of my life lines. These are the times I can grieve with out it effecting my day to day routine. It helps me unwind and re center myself. It helps me influence when my mind can freely be venerable to any pain I am still feeling.
Step 10: You will never be able to control someone else.
This may seem like common knowledge, but it will be one of the hardest lesson a birth mother will ever learn. You can not, and will not, ever be able to change the course of someone else’s thoughts, words, or actions. And trust me, if you haven’t found out already….misguided judgments have the potential to be one of your biggest set backs. Becoming a birth parent is a unique and fragile path traveled. No one, shy of those who have experienced it, will ever truly understand how you feel, when you feel how you do. You will at some point or another be asked, ‘how are you doing with all of it?’. And you will need to know in the back of your mind, that no matter the answer, you will most likely be speaking to some one who will never ‘get it’. You will encounter all the phrases that fall on the top of the ‘do not say to me’ list. Such as, “was it hard?”, “I don’t know how you did it”, “I could never do that” or my personal favorite and the latest I’ve heard “guess its time for birth control, girl….”. These words will come flying out of an outsiders mouth faster then they can even think about your reaction. And I promise you, you will want to back hand them because of it. But you can’t. Because then you’ll just have a bruised hand to match your bruised heart. The fact is you can’t control it. And getting angry, while it will be an immediate reaction at first, will solve nothing. Never sweat an outsiders ignorance. They just simply ‘do not understand’. Over time this will get easier. If you’re like me, it won’t take too long. But even I have moments when I’ve punched someone in my head 3 times over. It’s natural. Just never forget, you can not change it…so don’t let it bring you down.
Step 11: Be patient with imperfection.
This may sound easy because after all…you did just become a birth mom. Nothing could be more imperfect than that. But unfortunately it can. The time following the separation of you and your baby will be hard to say the least. Every imperfection will get to you, I’m sure. It got to me. A good example of that was my inability to sleep for the first 5 days. I can barely even say I got 5 hours of sleep over that accumulated time. About 5 days into my insomnia, I finally crashed. I over slept when I was responsible for getting my sister to work. She was incredibly late and needed to call for a back up ride. Immediately, I was enraged. It was her own fault for only worrying about herself during my depressed time. Then it turned to sadness in guilt. I told her I’d take her, how could I get mad, this isn’t her fault. And ultimately I turned into complete shambles. ‘I can’t do anything right anymore’. I admittedly cried for several hours over the ordeal. But when my sister got home from work, she sat down with me and told me not to be upset. And she was sorry for yelling at me that morning. I explained the effect it had on me, and in that moment, I realized how irrational I had been. I redefined turning an ant hill into a mountain. So patience with imperfection was a major lesson. While I was on an emotional journey, life did not stop, it did not even pause in the mean time. It kept moving on, just as I needed to. I needed to find peace and patience in any and all daily imperfections and the imperfections of those around me. This is a lesson, I am still practicing.
Step 12: Recognize the beauty in chaos.
There is no way that anyone in the world chooses or even considers adoption with out knowing some spectrum of chaos. Don’t fool yourself. Chaos is probably how it all began. And if not how it began, chaos is at least what it became. For me…it was both. Looking back now, though, there was so much unrecognized beauty in all of it. Yes, I chose to not parent my daughter. But I didn’t ‘give her up’….I shared her with reinforcements. Sure, I’ve dealt with the ups and extreme downs of an emotional tug of war game. But in the end, I’ve gained a story of strength and my own spiritual family has grown. All of the reasons behind why I chose to become a birth mom have had some sense of chaos that swayed the decision making process. Today however, I see the beauty in what I did. The little person I created and the family I brought together. This will always be the most important thing to remember.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” -Lao-Tzu
So I’ll pretty much never have to write a blog post again, I just keep reblogging Caitlyn and my blog will pretty much be set.
Awesome advice to anyone who is struggling in post placement life.
We got the best text convos around.
Funny text messages make good memo’s….
I have survived my first three weeks of being 'birth mom’. Some days it feels like it’s been three years…some days it feels like it was just yesterday.
Week one: I was extremely unstable. Unstable, for me that is. I’ve always been a ‘pick yourself up and move forward’ kind of gal. I never took a large amount of time to cope with things. But with in that first week, I felt like I had totally lost it. I felt the brutal truth of gifting your baby. I felt the depression of wanting to erase time. Forgetting seemed to be the only thing that could help me function. But I could never forget. I spent my days staring at the few pictures I had from the hospital, crying until I ran out of tears, then sleeping of the incredible migraine that followed. The harsh reality of it was my body and mind were in shock. I blamed myself for all the negatives leading up to this moment. I found it hard to be around my two year old daughter. I relied so deeply on the help of my brother to help me get through my days. He was amazing. However, he wasn’t the only ones. My AFTH caseworker, Steph, was incredible. She had a very calming and friendly persona. I felt like I had a set of hands holding me in the up right position. She had gotten me in contact with another woman who was on the newer side of being a birth mother. We connected and I began to talk my feelings out as they hit me.
I truly believe that is what got me to over come that first week as quickly as I did. I also know that once my hormones weren’t exploding inside me, like millions of atomic bombs going off in my body, I started to thing rationally again. Rational is all its been because rational is all it can be to survive the life changing decision you just made. Being optimistic causes you to ignore the reality of your pain, and being pessimistic stops you from moving forward. So being rational was the only choice I had. I had to accept the truths in all of this. I had to believe in my decision and recognize my own strength.
It wasn’t easy. I felt the down pull of negative emotions. But I followed amazing advice that I hope to share with other woman some day,
"When you are feeling the sadness, let it happen. Don’t fight it. Take a moment to grieve. And when you’re ready, pick yourself up and tell yourself, I cried a little less today. Because over time you will"
This was the advice that changed it all for me. I followed those instructions to a tee. I allowed myself to grieve. I opened myself up and told my self, ‘it’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also okay to be, happy’.
Week two: It was working. And working amazingly. I have been incredibly peaceful toward my new title of 'birth mom'. That is why I wanted so bad to share my story, I suppose. I’ve realized there are ways to embrace this traumatic experience. There are ways to have this whole mesh of rubbish, mean something.
Week three: As I sit here now, typing out the truths of my emotions, I can proudly say, I am proud I chose to be “Birth Mom”.
I just wanted to chime in and say how awesome it is to find someone who I can think of a friend, and not just a fellow birth mom. I’ve met a lot of great people throughout my journey but there have been a lot where I’ve felt like the only connection we had was through adoption and that’s all we could talk about.
It’s nice to meet someone who you can talk to about all kinds of things (like your nephews terrible awful tattoo) but still be able to relate to on such a personal level.
Seriously though, if you aren’t following this awesome lady, you should be!
When we’re kids, we never truly understood where life was going to take us. We past our test, after studying the answers. We did our homework to learn things we’d forget. We learned to become great things and do great things, but no one warned us about all the lemons we’d be handed when our teachers and parents stopped adding sugar.
I grew up with two parents. Parents who eventually loathed each other, but never the less, the two parents I was born to. I grew up not knowing what I wanted, but knowing who I was.
Over time….26 years to be exact….I found that, ‘not knowing what I wanted but knowing who I was’ seemed to be the theme of my life. I never felt I knew what I wanted out of situations, but I got through them by making decisions based on my gut.
In 2008 (20 yrs old) my 3 month old daughter lost her life to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It took a long time to get over that loss. However,I did finally cope with it. Then just like before her birth, I began my thoughts of not knowing if I’d ever want kids. Was I really looking forward to being a mother? I had know idea. I struggled with the typical, monthly perts of being all emotional about babies I came into contact with….it normally lasted about 4-6 days. Then I’d sink back into my 32 day slump of, ‘kids are definitely not for me!’.
Then in 2012, my best friend and I found ourselves lost between romance and friendship when we found out I was pregnant with our daughter. We discussed all the options. As ridiculously as they may have ranged. We discussed abortion….it wasn’t on the table long. We chatted up the idea of adoption…I ‘just knew’ I could never do ‘that’.
"birth a human being, after losing one, and passing it on to two people I barely know……absolutely NOT" I thought to myself. It just wasn’t an option.
We discussed being together and making it work. Which never made it past the, what is now, a 2 year conversation. So we ended up just being separate. Needless to say, our friendship has dwindled. But we brought a beautiful baby girl into this world….for me to raise, alone.
It has been two years and I have parented solo since day one. Even through the times we made our failed attempts to ‘work it out’. But it never did work out. Because after her fathers military career ended, more or less, lost his mind. I was owned…..
I suppose I just made a pretty, on point, example of my inability to know what I want. I still at this point, however, hadn’t ever questioned, who I was though…
That wasn’t until March 12, 2014. When I gave birth to our second baby girl. This time was different though. Extremely distant. This time….I became a “birth mom”. Thats when the biggest story of my life began………….
So this is the lovely lady I met for lunch today. I can’t really describe to you what it’s like to meet someone who’s been through a similar situation and just gets it. Being a birth mom isn’t easy, but it’s easier when you have people on your side.
Everyone should follow Caitlyn. Not only does she write beautifully, but she shares my love of pizza and really, what more could you ask for?
Just got back from a nice lunch with an awesome birth mom. It was really great to talk to someone who gets it and had the same sense of humor as me.
soooo who wants to give me $500 dollars so my car can pass inspection?