Posts Tagged ‘birth mom’


Yesterday, I made the brave and bold step to attend my first birth parent support group. It wasn’t that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming – it was that 1) I didn’t know groups like this even existed and 2) I haven’t allowed myself to think about my experience until recently.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a birth mom. I surrendered my baby boy back in 1984. Notice, I say surrendered and not “gave away.” This was my first lesson I learned in my new group: how we phrase and choose our words reflects directly back on what we think and how we feel about ourselves.

I had always used the term “give up” in reference to my situation, because I felt powerless at the time. I was convinced my “mistake” (I’ll get to that word later) was no longer mine to own. As soon as the words “I’m thinking two months pregnant” came out of the doctor’s mouth, my parents went into damage control and I no longer had a choice or say in anything that was going to come next. I “gave up” my power that day and let others tell me what to do, where to go, etc. The one thing they didn’t allow me to do was “feel”. My feelings were irrelevant at the time – because I obviously wasn’t able to make good choices, right? So, I acquiesced and did whatever I was told to do, including remaining dead silent and hidden away, as I moved through my pregnancy.

Then, came the day to “give him up”. Another moment when I had to grit my teeth and, with my needs’ and feelings entirely irrelevant, sign the court papers and walk away — never to be allowed to ┬átalk about it again, at least to my parents.

But yesterday’s support meeting was a real eye opener for me. I met other women who have been in this group for years and have dealt with and processed their feelings of anguish, anger, shame, guilt and a myriad of other emotions I am only beginning to draw up and out of me. Right now, shame and anger (close to rage) are the “Emotions of the Week.” I know I will eventually get through them, but I’m letting them fairly and deservedly wash over me and consume me until the tidal wave passes. Because, frankly, I fucking deserve the right to own these feelings.

The other word that triggered a reaction from some members was my use of the word “mistake.” I made a “mistake.” Sex happens. Pregnancy happens. Babies are not mistakes. While this all sounds so logical and agreeable, I am not yet able to remove that word from my vocabulary of words surrounding this situation. Once I can, I feel I can start to rewrite my internal dialogue and frame of reference and really let the healing begin.

But here is the real lesson I learned from yesterday’s group:

1. I am not alone in my experience.

2. My unresolved grief and feelings over this are authentic, genuine and should be acknowledged and expressed.

3. I no longer need to remain silent and ashamed to share my story — I have a voice and a support system of others who will stand beside me as I raise that voice.

4. I am saddened and angered to learn that so many women in situations such as mine were forced to remain silent and shamed due to outdated, sexist, religious doctrine that punished and threatened us instead of helping us when we needed it the most.

I am a birth mom. I surrendered a baby boy in January, 1984. And I’m no longer ashamed by this.

I matter.


*If you are a birth mom who is still trying to process and heal from your experience, please consider joining a local support group in your area. It might be exactly what you need to help you heal.