Now that the holidays are over, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a birth mom. I placed my son with an amazing adoptive family nearly two years ago and am only now beginning to process what this means. Leading up to Christmas the past two years, I’ve had this longing wash over me and I wasn’t sure exactly why. Everything in my life feels pretty together right now. I’m in a great relationship, close with my family, my career is on track. But there is still something missing.
For most people, the holidays mean overindulging on family and food and fun and I can’t shake this feeling of “what if?” What if I had my son? What if we were planning a family Christmas dinner at my house instead of traveling to the homes of friends and family with little ones? What if Christmas shopping meant toddler toys and Santa onesies? There is a part of my heart missing and I don’t know how to fill it.
It’s difficult to explain to someone who has never been through an adoption how it is something that you will continually have to come to terms with. The date of his birth is blazoned on my heart and just because I don’t see him doesn’t mean I don’t have a running tab on his exact age. I think of all the stages he would be going through at each moment. In my heart, I know this decision was the best. There would be so much worry and struggle had I chosen to parent. It wouldn’t be all sugar plums and presents I know.
The thing that gets me through it all is seeing his smiling face. My adoptive family sends me their annual New Years card, and looking at the photo, I see a whole and complete family. I see a child so greatly loved and cared for. I see his mommy and his daddy and how proud they are of him. I know he has a wonderful and stable life and will get to experience things I could never give him. I know he’s happy.
I also know that I love him fiercely albeit quietly. I want my love to follow him wherever he goes, not to be demanding or intrusive, but just there. Love is often something we show physically, with hugs and kisses and “I love yous.” And maybe this is why the holidays are so hard. I have to find a way to send that love out there and be okay with just that. Being a mother, any kind of mother, is most often a selfless act. You don’t always get back everything you have to give. I just have to have faith. That is what the holidays mean to me now and what it means to be a birthmother at any stage. It means having to rely on faith and hope and an immeasurable amount of love for another little person.
-Jenna 2014, Birth mom