The Birthmother Experience: What Does Healing Mean To Us

what does healing mean for birthmothers

I was talking with someone about my adoption journey recently and I was stopped in my tracks by the question “do you think you have fully healed from your experience?” It was a question I had never been asked and quite frankly something I had never really thought about. It made me start to think about how far I have come emotionally since placing my birth daughter, but at the same time confront the emotions that I still feel to this day. My first instinct was to say yes, but then I couldn’t help but think about the days that I still struggle with it. 7 years later there are still hard days and sometimes hard weeks. There are still times I cry and I struggle. Healing is different for everyone, so I was curious what other birth moms felt like “healing” was to them. Here is what they said.

Now before I jump into this next part I feel the need to get something straight right out of the gates. We NEVER “get over” our experience. It is something that becomes a part of us and hopefully one day a very healthy, happy part of us. But when people ask “Are you over it now?” the answer to that is always NO.

So What Does Healing Mean To Us?

HAVING MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD DAYS. If I am being honest, the first part of an adoption journey for birthparents can be all consuming. The best way I can describe it is like an hourglass. All of the sand starts out at the top (representing the hard, painful days) and slowly it trickles down and there starts to become more and more in the bottom (the good days). But it can be very slow moving. The adoption journey can be very much like an hourglass. At some point in our journey there starts to be more good days than bad.

BEING ABLE TO TALK ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCE. For some birthmothers, speaking about our experience and having a platform to tell our story allows us to process our emotions and to not feel alone. Whether it be a group of fellow birthmothers or a nationwide adoption conference, having the space to be authentic and open can be so healing and powerful. While every birthmother is unique, I think we all find comfort in knowing we are not alone and that our story matters.

FINDING PRIDE IN BEING A BIRTHMOTHER. Unfortunately in today’s world there is still a lot of shame placed on women who choose to make an adoption plan for their child. On top of the grief we are experiencing, we often feel guilt and shame. The day we can find pride in being a birthmother is one of the most powerful experiences. The day that we realize that we created something so amazing out of something so awful is the day we understand what an honor it is to be a birthmother. Birthmothers are STRONG, SELFLESS, COURAGEOUS, and BRAVE, so brave that they are willing to rip their own heart out to give their child a better life. And hopefully one day we find the courage to let go of the guilt and shame that is put on us and celebrate the amazing women we are.

WE DON’T REALLY KNOW. I think there is a part of us that doesn’t really know what it means to be fully healed. Do we every really fully heal from it? It is such a unique experience and there is no right or wrong way to feel. It is uncharted territory. Sometimes it’s a week straight of crying. Sometimes it is years of feeling at peace. Sometimes it’s a feeling that sneaks up on you just when you thought you felt okay. At the end of the day we are doing the best that we can to navigate through a difficult, beautiful, painful, situation that has absolutely no roadmap.

 Written by: Ali D.