Monday, July 30, 2012

How Do I Bring Her Back?

Life after placement is a no man's land.  I came home to my daughter who was relieved to see mom not in a hospital bed.  My mother did her best to try to keep things 'normal' so we could just go on and live our lives.  The hormones, the loss.  No one ever talks about postpartum depression in birthmothers. How could there not be?  Your body is its usual upside down pattern when you give birth but there is a baby that is supposed to help with that.  Not in this case. 

If I couldn't have a baby to show the world for my out of shape and pudgy frame, I wanted to snap back to normal like an elastic but it doesn't work that way.  I resented my breasts for being heavy with the sustenance it was producing for a child that was no longer in my care.  Why couldn't my body just be like it was the day before I got pregnant?  I hid in baggy things and tried not to notice.

I felt happy and purposeful before Alex was born. What was I now?  I felt like a work horse that had been sent out to pasture.  Did anyone in my adoption have a need for me any more?  Could I ask if I was still needed or loved?  Will they still reach out to me now that we're done? 

All these things circled in my mind like fish in a tank.  I was secretive and reclusive.  I didn't know what to say about what I'd been up to for the past 10 months.  I kept to myself and hoped that no one would ask much or require great detail.  Who could I share this with? What would they think of me?  The church I had been attending persecuted me for having the gall to get pregnant out of wedlock as one of their members.  When the oppression from the leadership got too much, I resigned my membership on the advice of pastors outside the church.  I felt hated and dirty.  I felt rejected and lied to.  They were supposed to love me and support me and instead I felt like the woman in 'The Scarlet Letter'.  If I couldn't talk to my church family, who could I trust?

The answers came one morning as I watched television with my mother. We had been staying with her in her home while I looked for a house to buy back in New England.  My daughter fluttered around the house as usual. I tried to ignore the noise and the business while I focused in on the Today Show. A woman came on for an interview.  She was a strikingly attractive woman with blond and pink hair.  I became interested in why she'd be interviewed. She was not an average guest.  She went on to describe what she did. She was a former prostitute who had now escaped her old life and found a new one rescuing women caught in sex-trafficking. She would comb the streets of Las Vegas looking for women out at night and she'd talk to them, pray with them and encourage them to come to her for help.  I was enthralled with the conversation. I hung on every word.  I felt like the TV would suck me right into the room with her if I stared any harder.  My heart burst open with hope.  If she could use her old life for something so wonderful and useful I could too!  She was not ashamed.  She didn't cower over her story.  She could have just left her old ways and gone about life silently, hoping no one would find out about her but instead she let God use it for something too marvelous for words.  It was in those moments that I uttered a silent prayer for myself, "Lord please use me too." 

Now I am the Founder of 4 The Love of Alex.  Me and my ministry partner, also a birthmother, are working to raise up the voice of the birthmother to her rightful place on the platform of pro-life.  The life of the birthmother is largely silent with little healing after the fact.  I am burdened to fix the broken pieces of the adoption process for the birthmother.  I want to offer the hope of Christ for the woman facing such a difficult decision and show her that the only healing that can really come is from the loving arms of Jesus. 

How did I get me back?  I stopped letting the enemy duct tape my mouth shut.

8 comments:

  1. I always wondered how birthmothers processed everything

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  2. I respect your right to your own views but when you say things like "the voice of the birthmother to her rightful place on the platform of pro-life." it sounds like you're trying to speak for ALL birth mothers. Did I miss the day we elected you? As with any group all us birth moms don't hold the same views some of us are pro-choice. Would you feel I was trying to speak for you if i said the rightful place for birth mothers is on the platform is pro-choice?
    For some reason when I try to post this it keeps telling me I'm anonymous despite entering my wordpress id. I am not hiding behind anonymity this is KatjaMichelle of therapyisexpensive.wordpress.com

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  3. Though I agree that God can take a messed up situation and use it for His good if we're willing, this whole post makes me feel physically ill. You might not have meant it that way, but it comes across like you feel that your "ministry" makes YOU a beautiful person. I also disagree that adoption is an abortion alternative. Though I'm pro-life, I will NEVER advertise adoption as an alternative to abortion. Abortion relieves a mother of responsibility for that life. Though I've relinquished my daughter to open adoption and I don't have daily parenting responsibility, I haven't and will never be relieved of emotional responsibility to her or the responsibility to verify the parents I chose for her. I also agree with KatjaMichelle (above). Just because adoption was a good choice for YOU doesn't put you on a platform to speak for EVERYONE facing an unplanned pregnancy and say that adoption is the only choice. (BTW, a woman is NOT a birth mother (even if she's considering adoption) until AFTER relinquishment documents are signed. Period. No matter how young, old, whatever her situation. Even if you "think" she should relinquish.)

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  4. I have a question: "Abortion relieves a mother of responsibility for that life" Based on that statement, I can derive from the writer that the writer believes that a woman becomes a mother at conception, the writer acknowledges that what is contained in her uterus is a life and that it is her right to decide whether or not that child should live? Is that what is being stated here?

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  5. I am pro-life. I freely admit that. But I will never, ever, ever, ever EVER preach that adoption is a good alternative to abortion. Because it's NOT.

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  6. There is no such thing as an alternative in a situation like this. There are 3 choices. They are all hard, they are all permanent and they all have consequences. It is a level playing field. I simply discuss all of those ramifications and let the mother decide what her "choice" is. If you would like to learn what it is that we do, then I am happy to answer those questions. If you want to antagonize and tear me down then I am not interested.

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  7. I've always felt that there are two different choices being made when it comes to unplanned pregnancies. One to continue or not to continue the pregnancy and then later the choice of parenting or not parenting. They should be dealt with separately and, in between, the expectant mother should get proper personal counselling which involves getting her to a place where she can truly make a decision about the future of her child.

    Even the NCFA knows that adoption doesn't compete with abortion, they know that adoption is competing with parenting.

    Btw I do think it is dangerous psychologically to counsel a woman straight from abortion to adoption, especially if one is using the more aggressive tactics used by some prolife counsellors. That doesn't mean that I am against prolife counselling, there are ways and means of doing so that are respectful to the client. However, some methods, like telling a woman that she will grieve forever if she choses abortion but then paint adoption as one which will fill her with joy, is one that could cause damage down the line. It is not fair on the child either because it tends to mean that the emom may not think of herself as her child's mother and thus affect her decision-making.

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  8. No one at my ministry is suggesting anything like what you are painting at all.In fact, it is 3 equally hard, equally permanent and all containing consequences decisions that are being made here and no one is presenting them without an agenda, but we are. Planned Parenthood and the like do not make money when you walk out the door. They also don't offer post-abortion counseling for the emotional fall out that happens afterward. Adoption agencies are woefully lacking in aftercare support for birthmothers and really no one is sitting down to non-partisanly go over the details, we do that. For those who want to go the route of adoption, we mentor them through it and provide support to them while we connect them and help them find aftercare resources. Not to mention, being a single parent is very hard and I know because I am one. No one gets out of a situation like this without being emotionally impacted no matter what. The purpose of my starting the ministry in the first place was because I was very bothered by the only people that were available to help me with my decision were people who had a stake in my decision. The other thing that I noticed was a total lack of aftercare following. I wanted to make both of those things better for someone else. I don't have an "agnenda" other than helping someone through a very difficult and life-changing decision from the perspective of being there. I would also like a woman to know, no matter what decision she made or has made that Jesus can heal those wounds as He did for me.

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