I believe in birthmothers.
I once heard a review of the book The Mistresses’ Daughter via NPR podcast, about the author’s confrontation with her birthparents, and I started thinking: adopted children speak out about their adoptions, but where are the birthparents?
I became a birthmother ten years ago. I was sixteen, and realized that I could not give my daughter the life I wanted her to have. I wanted her to have the best education, nice clothes and toys, a healthy diet, but most importantly, I wanted her to have a childhood that was not hindered by the phrase, “I can’t afford it.” Her father’s family moved out of state, and my mother was struggling with a terminal illness. Keeping her would have been a very selfish decision.
The task of picking her parents was a little challenging. The adoption agency gave me profiles of prospective parents and I got to meet and get to know the parents I eventually chose. From the updates I have received throughout the years, I realize that they were the best choice.
The last ten years have not been easy. Shortly after my daughter’s adoption, my mother passed away. I struggled with the feelings of loneliness and depression. I had lost my daughter and my mother in a span of a summer vacation. It was easier for me to recuperate from my mother’s death because that was over and done with. She was gone and there really is no sense dwelling upon that. But somewhere in Texas, there is a little girl with my eyes, running around and being happy. She is not over and done with.
Whenever her birthday comes around, I want to get her a gift, but don’t because I don’t know what sort of things she likes. When Mother’s Day comes around, I don’t get any cards or recognition. Technically I’m not a mother. I choke at the question, “Do you have any kids?” “No,” I reply, thinking of those beautiful eyes, and the stretch marks on my belly. There is no Hallmark day for birthmothers. I feel left alone, marked with a scarlet letter because of my actions or mistakes. Sure, I could have had an abortion, but I chose to give my child life. I chose to give her to another family with the hope that they would provide for her so she could have a happy, healthy life.
I may not be the one my daughter calls Mommy, or goes to when she is hurt. But I believe that my decision was one of the most unselfish decisions I could make in a world full of selfish decisions. I believe in birthmothers and in the courage of their sacrifice. Truly, that makes us heroines in our own right.
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