May 6, 2011

Happy “Biological Mom’s” Mother’s Day!

To My Biological Mom on Mother’s Day: Thank You For Carrying Me To Term & Giving Me These Great Parents!

You’re the Best!

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we are all about the business of honoring MOM.  And not just Mom, but Grandma, New Mom, Sister who is a Mom, Daughter who is a Mom, Mum, Mommy, Mama, Mother In-Law, Step-Mom, that “Special” Aunt, God Mother, Great Grand Mother and so on and so on.

There are another group of moms that are almost always forgotten in the mix.  We almost forget ourselves that at times we fall into this category.  Every few years my mother or my brother will send me an e-card, or call to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.  It takes me a moment to steady my emotions as I say “thank you,” my eye gaze going soft, senses turning inward as I stare at a wall for the next 30 minutes.

This type of Mom is also referred to as “Biological Mom,” defined as  a mammal such as a human, a pregnant woman gestates a fertilized ovum. A fetus develops from the viable fertilized ovum or “embryo.” Gestation occurs in the woman’s uterusfromconception until the fetus (assuming it is carried to term) is sufficiently developed to be born. The woman experiences labor and gives birth. Usually, once the baby is born, the mother produces milk via the lactation process.

We are the ones who chose to live in constant wonder of “what if….”

We are the ones who chose to give up our child for adoption.

Photo Cred: www.annegeddes.com

This is not a ploy to get someone to feel sorry for me.  I take full responsibility  for my choices and my actions, and at 19 years old that was an extremely difficult yet valuable lesson to learn.  The reality is I went into the hospital to have my daughter on a cold evening in November and went home on Thanksgiving Day with nothing but my choice.  And that is a choice I have learned to live with day in and day out.

I want you to know that I miss my daughter, that I love her and can’t wait to reunite with her someday… soon.   I feel as though during the birthing process I was Divinely Graced with all of those Motherly Gifts; Empathy, Compassion, Intuition, Patience and Unconditional Love.  I carried these around with me like badges of honor/shame (depending on the day) for years.

“Hi, my name is Jessica and before we go any further in this relationship I need to tell you that I gave my child up for adoption.  I was 19. I had a scholarship to college.  I was a good kid who made some not so good choices.  Please don’t mind my fits of rage and unbounded moments of bliss and love, as I feel things in a new and strange way.  I may try to love you in a way a mother loves her child, which you will really like… at first. And it will comfort me as well.  I will feel your pain for you and wipe away your tears.  Then when I have lost myself in attempting to care for you and fill up the hole in my heart that is leaking… you will probably be ready to pack your bags.”

As my hormones peaked and swirled around, milk coming in, baby crying, heart exploding, red and pink swelled eyelids from crying, crushed grape ice from the nurses who were concerned I was making the right choice, 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes, holding tight to every memory of those few days with this amazing gift from God, and the final moment on white paper with pen to sign the black inked hole that no one told me would be in my heart for the rest of my life.

These are the women I want to honor.

If there were a Hallmark Card for a Biological Mom on Mother’s Day, what would it say?

To My Biological Mom.

Thank you for carrying my fetus in your womb to term and then giving me these great parents.  You are the best!

How can we honor this group of amazing women, without it feeling….weird for all involved?

I read a book a few years ago called The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler.  The book shares the stories of dozens of women who gave their child up for adoption before Roe vs. Wade.  These are the girls whose parents social status was more important than the mental and emotional health of their children (well, I am going to make an assumption that in many cases not much has changed there);  they went through their pregnancy without education.  They lived their lives in fear and guilt and no one ever gave them an opportunity to share or process what they went through.  I spent a lot of time with my therapist after I read this book, reliving my own experience, but also grateful for being loved by my family through all of it, and never feeling like I could not share my experience with someone who was open to listening.


But still, for the majority of us, there was no “What to Expect When You are Expecting”, no baby shower, no painting the baby’s room,  no organizing the closet of clothes for the first year based on month and no hand-me-downs.  All of these external acts society does to celebrate this important rite of passage in a woman’s life.  No.  But, internally – the process is the same.  You feel the baby kicking inside you, not sure if you should get excited about it; you pass by the newborn section in the department store and just stop to look at the onesies because you are 6 months pregnant and showing and maybe you might feel some sort of normalcy standing there amongst breast pumps and Pampers.  You start to understand the word “numb” as you flip through the book of smiling couples and pick the good looking Christian ones who already have another adopted daughter and who will be moving to Spain soon after they receive their new bundle of joy because the husband accepted a job there.  Maybe she will speak Spanish when we are reunited in 18 years.

18 years?  I am only 19 years old.

As I leave the hospital in a wheelchair and have to be drug into the front seat of the car because, well… I changed my mind – the idea of waiting and not being in the presence of this luminous, beautiful, perfect being has all but suffocated my senses.  All I could do was smell her.  All I could see, though a waterfall of disbelief, was her sleeping face.  All I could taste was the milk I would never have the opportunity to test to see if it was going to be too hot for her.  All I could feel was this horrifying emptiness filled with pain and longing.


How do we honor these women?  How can we remember that there are a group of mothers out there who are silent? They probably won’t receive a card this Mother’s Day, no homemade card, no sweet phone call, no butterfly kisses, no flowers and no pancake breakfast in bed.  We can remember that they chose this, just as I did.  Maybe all we can do is remember to remember.  I don’t know, maybe a line of greeting cards for biological moms would go over really well!

I am happy to share that 13 years later I have made contact with my daughter through handwritten letters with bubbly penmanship, dotting i’s with hearts and using the word “like” a whole lot.  Her favorite color is Tiffany blue and she is #1 on her swim team.  I haven’t received a letter in a while, but it is all about her, her timing and when she is ready.  When I think about this whole crazy karmic ride we are on together (my daughter and I), I know that she holds the key to so many questions I have about myself and the light that will fill my heart.  I have been graced with patience beyond my wildest dreams to wait…  for another letter, a phone call, a time when I can embrace her in the flesh once again, as I was the first one to hold her in my arms when she came into this world. My eyes keep filling up as I write this and I turn away from the page because I know that living with any expectation is much too hard.

I would like to honor her parents, although this story is not about honoring adoptive parents, I feel that this article would not be complete without recognizing these two amazing people that I am connected too in some crazy cosmic way.  I so look forward to the day when we are all sitting in a room together figuring out what life will be like now that we are together, again.

As I was searching for articles on Ele that might relate to this one, I only found one.  It was written from an adoptive mothers point of view. The Last Word I Wanted to Hear by Lynn Hasselberger.   Putting these two stories side by side humbles me to know just how much love my daughter and her son have received and the sacrifices that were made on both sides to truly do what is best for these bright souls, brought into our lives to teach us so much.

Happy Mother’s Day to a Mother of any color or name, and most especially to those who have made the choice to carry their motherhood with them like a silent cloak, always wishing, wondering and waiting.

I honor the Mother in you, as I honor it in myself.

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