Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a Birth Mother, and I'm Okay*

I used to be very careful about sharing my adoption story.

That probably sounds like a load of hooey coming from someone who has blogged about every adoption-related mood swing for the past two years, but work with me here, okay? My blog is a different beast. It's an entity. It's not like it's the first thing that comes up if you Google my name.

Actually, the first thing that comes up if you Google my name is the website for a Juno-nominated singer-songwriter from Halifax. You'd have trouble finding me at all if you Googled my name. I sort of like it that way. But I digress.

Blog aside, I didn't - and still don't - go broadcasting my story to every person I meet. It's not a shame thing, I promise. Adoption is the least shameful thing I've done in my life (I think Tamra said it that way first, but I liked it, so I'm using it). It's more a matter of ... well, shoot. It's lots of things. Part of it is that I don't feel like everyone deserves to know about it, because it's something that's precious to me. Part of it is that I'm never sure if people are going to feel the need to "educate" me about adoption (because it's a topic I clearly know nothing about). Part of it is that I feel that saying I'm a birth mother is insufficient I want to say more, to tell my story, and maybe there's no time, or the time just isn't right.

Whatever the reason, I have, in the past, tended to be a bit closed-mouthed about things around most people. I don't think anyone in my new ward (church congregation) knows that I'm a birth mother. I liked it that way. I was very comfortable with that.

But lately I feel the need to out myself. I find myself thinking at church each week, is there some way I can tie adoption into this? Is my experience even a tiny bit relevant to this topic? I've found myself trying to make it fit so I can unburden myself. Suddenly, for a reason I'm not entirely sure of yet, I feel almost desperate to tell people, "I placed a baby for adoption, and it is the best thing in the world."

It's a nice feeling. I used to wonder at birth moms who were so comfortable with things that they would often lead with their birth mother status. "Hi, I'm [name], how are you doing, and by the way, I'm a birth mother." I thought they were crazy! Why would they want to start new friendships and relationships with that kind of trammel? But I understand now. I think it comes from finding a sense peace and acceptance with both the adoption and the circumstances that led to it. I think that now I've forgiven H and found my happy place, it's a natural progression. I am totally cool with this area of my life, so why wouldn't I want to talk about it?

But there's a bit more to it as well, or at least there is for me. It's not just adoption that I've had to come to accept. It's myself. I've always had ridiculously low self-esteem (high school sure didn't help). It's only very recently that I've started to believe that I have value - not in spite of, but because of what I've been through. That's huge for me. I think that's the place I had to get to before I was completely okay with telling people I'm a birth mother. Two years ago, I never thought I'd get there. But here I am, and the words want out. They're on the tip of my tongue more times than I can believe. I wasn't ready to talk before, but I think I'm ready now.

I've got a lot of catching up to do.

*This post title is a reference to the Lumberjack Song, which can be enjoyed here:

1 comment:

Swinging On Small Hinges said...

Crazy isn't it? I spent the first couple of years after we adopted feeling like I "had" to tell people that my daughter wasn't technically mine. One time a lady in store stopped me and said, "oh, what a beautiful baby!" I immediately blurted out, "Oh! She's adopted!" I burned with embarrassment was almost like I felt like I owed it to that lady to admit that she was beautiful because she wasn't mine. I've gotten better at that now but I still remember the sick feeling I had during those times where I believed that people deserved to know the truth. And that I HAD to tell them. I just HAD to, I owed it to them. Silly huh?

You know what I like about your blog? The complete, no-frills, honesty. Thank you for just being you.

ps. I had to look up what trammel meant. I learned a new word today. lol! :)