This guest post is by Ashley Mitchell, a birthmother and owner of Big Tough Girl.™
As Birthmother’s Day and Mother’s Day approaches, I am always lost in thought. Lost in past, present and future events as they relate to my kids and the differences in my experiences of becoming a mother to each of them.
I want to share some thoughts that I had in January, when I gave birth to our son. A boy of my own!
I am sitting here staring at my newborn son, in awe of how beautiful he is and what a miracle this little life is. I am so overwhelmed with blessings and joy that it is hard to put into words how I feel.
I have a daughter that is almost two now, and I remember having the same feelings about her, knowing what a miracle giving birth is and how amazing the little ones are. But this one is just a little bit different.
This one is a boy. I have finally had a chance to have a son, another boy, almost six years later. Not to replace the one that I gave up, but a chance at the one that is supposed to be with me.
Almost six years ago they placed my son on my chest and I heard him cry for the very first time. I know that as a mother there are very few things in this world that are more precious and more amazing than that first moment.
I also know that I was sharing that first cry with someone else, that it wasn’t just for me. I knew that out in the hall was his mother, waiting, listening, and I know that when she heard that first cry of her son, she wept!
In the hospital as a birthmother
It is so hard to put into words the emotion that is felt during those few days in the hospital as a birth mother during placement. They are mostly a blur of love and anger and joy and pain and hate and humility and so much more. Those few precious days in the hospital with Derek were some of the most cherished and painful days of my life.
I have yet to experience anything like it. On one level, I had just had a son and I was amazed and overwhelmed by what that all meant. But it had such a different meaning six years ago, being a mother then and being a mother now. I am not the same person, the same mother, the same woman.
My time with Derek in the hospital are truly some of the most sacred times of my life — times that I don’t talk about much. I have shared many experiences that I had but rarely do I talk about the time that I spent with my son at night when we were all alone, while he slept, or the things I said to him, wished for him, cried for him, pleaded with him.
They are too precious to share, but for those few hours in the evenings that I had with him all alone he was my son. And I now find myself crying over my new son, my baby boy, pleading, wishing, crying many of the same things that I did almost six years ago!
This is Derek, the son that I placed in the arms of his mother. I love getting updates from his family and getting pictures. I am so blessed to have the peace of mind that he is happy and healthy and so very loved by his family. But every time I hear his name or see a picture, my thoughts still go back to this picture, to those precious nights in the hospital.
This is my son Oliver. To me, he is the most precious and amazing miracle on the planet. While I was in the hospital I had sent a text to Derek’s mother, letting her know that he had finally arrived. She sent me a text message that is one that I will never forget. She expressed her joy and excitement for me that I was finally able to have a son of my own.
Even now, almost six years later, as I gave birth to another baby boy, she was there with me, sharing in the moment, only this time I didn’t have to share him. He was coming home with my husband and me, and it was a beautiful moment. It was an amazing sense of accomplishment, the missing piece, the final piece had been filled. A son!
I asked Derek’s adoptive mother if she would be willing to write a few words about what it is like for her from her perspective to be able to watch her son’s birthmother have a another boy years later! This is what she wrote:
“It’s a boy!” For the past five years, I had been waiting for this news. I had been praying faithfully for Ashley, my son’s birth mother. I wanted more than anything to see her enjoy all that she afforded me through the miracle of adoption.
As she poured over families for her unborn son, Ashley had sensed that our family, especially my husband, needed a son. My husband lost his father at the age of 16 to cancer. She would never fully know our joy of being able to pass on his name, his legacy and create a new generation of father and son.
We were overwhelmed and humbled that Ashley would invite us to be part of our son’s birth. After spending two precious days together in the hospital, our time was nearing an end. No one could have prepared me for that bittersweet moment of saying goodbye.
I couldn’t understand how my heart could be so full of joy yet be broken all at the same time. As I watched Ashley’s sorrow as she left her sweet son to us, I knew I could never be whole until she received all the blessings that had been showered upon me.
As a mother of biological and adoptive children, I know first-hand that there is no difference in the love you have for them. They become yours the moment they are laid in your arms. There is, however, one difference.
Each time I looked at Derek, I would forever be reminded of Ashley and her selfless love and sacrifice. I knew I had an added measure of responsibility to see that Derek had all the love, kindness, and opportunities that I could give him not just for me, but for both of us.
One of the reasons I started Blessings In A Basket was to help birthmoms find what I have found all these years later. I know that not everyone will be able to fill some of those missing pieces. But I know that it is possible–that there are opportunities available and I want every birthmom I come in contact with to know that I was there, and now I am here.
My life is so blessed and I pray for all of those that have been through what we have, for all the Big Tough Girls, to be able to one day claim a boy or girl of their very own, with a family and an amazing husband.
Bringing Oliver home from the hospital will always be one of the most treasured memories of my life!
Ashley Mitchell is a thirty something self-proclaimed Big Tough Girl™. She is married to the love of her life in Utah, parenting two children and is a Birth Mother in an open adoption to one. She is nationally known for her speaking, writing and advocacy work for adoption as well as her work in women support and parent advocacy all around the country.
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