This guest post is by Laura Gladden, a birthmother and blogger.
I am no exception to this.
Growing up, not just when I was a small child, but also when I was a teenager, I had these goals. I grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so I had some even more specific goals.
Like, finding a man that was worthy to take me to the Temple, a man who held the priesthood and could bless our home with it. I wanted a man who was successful, who could provide a nice home for our family and me.
I always imagined myself being a stay at home mother to a few children; not because it was “expected” of me, but because those are really the things I wanted for my future.
I wanted my future children to grow up in the church with both of their parents. They needed to have a happy childhood with not a fear in the world but what games they were going to play the next day.
I wanted to be the perfect mother and wife. I never really thought these things were impossible or too far to grasp, but I always held those things as the ultimate goal for myself.
When I looked at that positive pregnancy test, that cold November morning 2 1/2 years ago, all those goals and aspirations crumbled. There was no way I was going to be able to accomplish those dreams.
My life had taken a turn in the opposite direction of where my goals were. I was nowhere near worthy to enter the Temple. I was not wife material for a man who was ready to be sealed for eternity in the temple.
And most importantly, this child was not going to have the life I envisioned. She would grow up in a broken home. She would see her mother struggle to make ends meet.
She would not have all of her needs met, her future was just not that bright. The life I had planned and longed for my future family and myself was not there any more.
I don’t want it to sound like I chose adoption so that I could selfishly accomplish my dreams. I was ready and willing to set those dreams aside and do what was needed to be a young mother.
There were 3 ½ months where I prepared myself to be a young, single mother. It was the fact that this innocent child would miss out on a successful life she deserved.
That’s when I decided to keep moving forward.
There was no point in sitting in my fear and misery. I was going to rise above it and do what I could to make the best of everything. I made many life-changing decisions in those last 6 months of pregnancy.
I chose adoption for my daughter. I decided to go back to church and become active again. I made a promise to myself that I would never sink down to where I had found myself pregnant. I was going to make my life better for myself and for this child.
After placement, I continued to keep moving forward.
Traumatic experiences, like placing a child for adoption, can knock someone off their feet. Feelings of guilt, sadness, anger, grieving, and incompetence flooded my mind. Did I make the best decision? Will I regret this later? Will K ever understand why I placed her?
All these questions and fears flooded my mind; and they sometimes still do. A lot of times, I felt the urge to sink back to my old ways. Why try when I was so sad? So many times I felt like I needed to just give up.
I think this is pretty common with birth moms. We are so full of so many emotions that we sometimes don’t feel capable of becoming bigger and better.
But for the record, WE CAN!
I am sitting here writing this as a married woman. I was able to find a man who was able to look past my imperfections and see me for who I really am. We were married in the Temple!
My husband is an amazing man of God who strives to do his best and is successful in my eyes. He respects and supports my difficult decision I made to place my daughter, and he does all he can to try and understand everything.
We are both making strides to start our own family and raise our children the way we have always envisioned. My goals and aspirations I created for myself many years ago are I don’t share all of these things to brag or make others feel inferior.
I share these things to show other birth moms who are struggling, that we CAN become bigger and better. We can accomplish those goals we have set for ourselves.
Birth moms don’t need to settle for less than they are worth.
Birth moms created life and gave their babies the life they deserved; and they deserve the same in return. We deserve the life we deserve!
Placement and all the emotions that come with placement are big enough to knock us down, but I am a firm believer in the saying “fall down 7 times, get back up 8.”
Many of us have been through many struggles and have been treated poorly throughout our journeys, but the most important thing is to get back up and keep moving forward.
We’ve given our children the best life. Now it’s our turn.
Laura Gladden is a birthmother who is trying to erase the stereotypes about birth moms and adoption. Find out more at her blog.