Shout out to my awesome case worker Steph and my lady friend Caitlyn for keeping my insanity in check today in the face of traveling.
Next time I go anywhere, I am doing all the damn planning. I’m too damn old and impatient for this shit.
New season started on BBC America last night. :)
Ohh!! Good timing!! I dont get BBC America but I’ll be scouring for links. Thank you!!!
I’m almost done with the first season of Orphan Black, what will I do with my life when I finish?
I need a Felix in my life, for real.
I’ve been a very lazy blogger lately. Life has been a little hectic for me lately, money problems, work problems, boy problems. It seems like it’s all kind of piling up lately. But that’s life. At least my life, it seems like bad shit just keeps happening and then finally it levels out and everything is okay for a while. I’m hoping all the bullshit calms down and I can get back to even ground.
In the mean time though, I am now addicted to Orphan Black so I may never blog again because I’ll be too busy obsessing over the brilliance and beauty that is Tatiana Maslany.
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….