This guest post is by Makena, a birthmother.
It would be so easy for me to deny that I am a birthmother.
I haven’t simply because I love being a birthmother and I love how big my family has grown all because of one choice I made to place my son for adoption.
That decision has led me to where I am now. I learned to embrace its consequences and realized that not all consequences are bad.
Mistakes often lead to new experiences and blessings, although most people don’t realize that.
When it comes to experiences in life, I’m often seen as the elephant in the room. And yet I am happy with who I am.
While most people would see placing a child as a hard or selfish thing to do, I know why I made my decision.
We all go through our own trials and tribulations but they don’t have to define our future success or peace. I do photography, marketing, and graphic design for a living.
I could have let my experiences control everything. I could have stayed afraid to go on dates.
But I got past that fear and now I am getting married to an amazing man in May.
I haven’t met anyone with the exact same experiences as me but I have found people here and there who have experienced similar things.
There is only one thing we can do with those experiences: Use them to our advantage and teach others to help them through their own trials.
Hiding our experiences in a box under the bed isn’t going to help us move forward. We don’t have to be the elephant in the room.
So how do you not be the elephant in the room? First, own your experience. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. That never helps.
Second, don’t focus on the negative parts of your experience. Yes there is a negative side to everything, but there are also a whole ton of positives.
It’s a matter of perspective and attitude. You can either be the person who sits in the back corner of the room, afraid to talk openly or you can be the person who sits with anyone you want and keeps a happy conversation going because you choose to.
After I placed Mason the first thing I told a guy even before we went out on a date was this, “I just want you to now that I had a son 3 years ago, and that I placed him in an open adoption. He is a huge part of my life and why I am the way I am. If this is something that could bother you or make you want to change me, please don’t pursue me anymore.”
I know I was super blunt, but it was the only way for me to weed out the guys who just wanted to play around from the ones who would respect myself and my choices.
So, about that box: keep it open and in your sight. The experiences that you go through will help you become who you are. They give you knowledge and insights into things that others may not have.
Hiding that box away under your bed will cause you to develop negative feelings and a mentality that is hard to escape from.
Keeping secrets is a burden. Eventually those feelings will build up and break you down.
Being a birthparent is not easy to embrace. Every birthmother has a right to take her time to embrace who she is because of her adoption story.
I was more afraid of being a birthmother before I placed Mason.
After placing him and seeing how incredibly loved he was by his new family and my family I saw that it was all going to be okay.
Talking helps. I guarantee there is at least one person you can talk to and feel safe with. Crying is healthy. Releasing emotion is really healthy if it’s done in the right way.
Understand that everyone will have an opinions and judge you. People will typecast you based on their first impression of you. But over time their opinions about you will change once they see you for who you really are.
You can’t force people how to think about or see you. But you can stand tall, know who you are and not let others tear you down.
You don’t have to be the elephant in the room if you choose not to be. And you don’t have to feel ashamed and hide away your experiences in a box, either.
This applies not only to birthmothers, but also to adoptive parents, adoptees, widows, divorcees, single parents, single adults, young couples, married couples, straight people, LGBTQ people, tall and small People, and everyone and every race on this earth.
One last thing I want to say: Never compare your trials to other people’s. No trial is worse than any other.
Each of us aches and feels sadness when we undergo a trial. Whether you’re a birthmother, adoptive parent or adoptee or anyone else, just remember that these common feelings are what bind us together.
Makena is a birth mother from Idaho who placed her birth son in 2014. She now mentors expectant mothers who are planning to place their children and works with an adoption organization in her community.
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