For Women… And Those That Love Them
Throughout this journey, I have had the opportunity to learn more than I ever thought I wanted to know—about myself, about life, and about love, for which I am forever grateful. Whether you call yourself a natural mother, a “birth mother,” or an adoptive mother, or have been or never intend to become a mother, there is something that you need to know as a woman.
Thousands upon thousands of natural mothers—or to use the label that the American government insists on: “birth mothers”—suff er the pain of their loss in silence. Many of these women choose to not search for the child or children they gave up for adoption, and it is not for me or anyone else to say whether they are wrong or right. I know from experience how challenging it is to revisit the past and try to fit the pieces of your life back into some semblance of right order. Regardless, the gift of being with a child, even if only for a few moments, is a miraculous journey for most women. But for “birth mothers,” and their sisters who suffer miscarriages or, for reasons that none of us have a right to judge, choose to terminate their pregnancies, there is often a deep feeling of guilt or sadness that society chooses to ignore.
I know the desperation that drives many women to terminate a pregnancy. I’ve lost count of the number of women who have shared their abortion stories with me after hearing my story. Once I spoke up, friends that I had known for years seemed desperate to give voice to the wounds that they had never previously felt safe to share. In every case, each mother knew exactly how old her child would have been. It was engraved upon their hearts. Regardless of the circumstances behind their choices, these women do suff er, especially when it was a boyfriend, or in some cases even a husband, who had insisted they “take care of it.”
The choice to abort a baby is touted as a choice of empowerment. Something that is as easy as extracting a bothersome tooth. But who gives thought to the numbers of suicides that have been attributed to women because of post-partum depression following a miscarriage, adoption or termination? The fact is, we may never know the answer to that question.
I remember telling Kelcey (the daughter I gave up for adoption) on one occasion that I would not know what to say to a teenager who found herself pregnant. I’ve often wondered if I should become a volunteer and help these young women. But how would I help them? Would it be helpful to tell them that, statistically, the children of single mothers are more likely to end up in prison? Or that regardless of how many weeks pregnant they are, an abortion will still impact their hormones. And a once-pregnant body would know its loss—a situation that should be monitored for their health and safety. Would I tell them, “Adoption is a noble thing to do, but it will rip your life apart if you allow it”?
Once, during a long and solitary road trip, I listened to an advice show on the radio. Hosted by a well-known therapist, the topic was birth mothers. The host was extremely brutal with a caller, insisting that as a birth mother who had given up her child for adoption, she had no right to seek out her child. “No!” The host stated emphatically. “Birth mothers should not have any expectations as they have abnegated all their rights.”
I was aghast and upset. “How cruel! How unfair!” I screamed at the radio. And yet, having pursued this route myself, I have to say that while I am certain that some reunions do work out, one needs to have realistic expectations. In the final analysis, I have to consider that maybe that mean therapist had a point.
To a pregnant teenager, I would say, “I can only offer you love, support and the empathy of someone who has shared the same experience. You are going to have to make a very hard decision at a very tender age. Please, find some professional, and unbiased, help.”
To all young women, I say, “Sex is not something to play around with, especially at a young age. Take a moment, or better yet, a few years for yourself. Give yourself permission to not give yourself to anyone until you are old enough to understand the implications, and are truly ready. You gotta’ love those guys, but trust me, they aren’t ready for anything more serious than the release of pent up testosterone. Know that power is found within the greatness we all possess, it is within ourselves. We must learn to love ourselves, first. My experience as a “birth mother” has been a life altering experience. It is a very big part of who I am.
I truly wish that more could be done to help women, regardless of the choices they make, to reach a place of peace with their decisions. It would be a wonderful gift if we could all—men and women alike—find a little compassion for each other, and lend a helping hand in any way we can. Judging others leads only to a place of self-righteous intolerance; nothing good can come from that. Suffering should never be allowed to happen alone.