20 Years Later – A Birthmother’s Story
I was 16 years old when I found out I was pregnant. Making a decision on what I should do seemed impossible to make. I ignored the situation and the decision for as long as possible, but got to a point when I really needed to make some plans. I knew deep down I was not emotionally or financially prepared, or mature enough to parent a baby. I knew I didn’t have the resources or the support to provide a decent life for a child, so that left me with two possible options: abortion or adoption.
I scheduled an abortion. At first, it seemed like the easier of the two choices. Then the reality of how final it was hit me. There would never be a chance to connect or meet, no memories to make, if I went through with the abortion. It would forever and always be the end and, with it, a mountain of ‘What ifs…?’ On the other hand, there was adoption — carrying the child to term, delivery, and then saying goodbye. The loss and the grief would be the same, but adoption provided the hope of a future. So adoption became my plan.
Your story may be different from mine, but your options may look the same. I wish we could sit over coffee and talk about them together. Was it easy? No! But has it been worth it? Without a doubt, yes! I placed a son 22 years ago. As a seventeen-year-old and a senior in high school, I had the normal pressures of any teen, but was also quietly grieving for my loss of motherhood.
I had told very few people I was pregnant, so talking about it didn’t seem like an option. However, I did decide that after placing, I was going to do everything in my power to become someone he could be proud of to call his birthmother. I graduated high school in May following my placement, becoming the first in my immediate family to graduate. I then began college to pursue my goal of becoming an educator. This pregnancy will always be an important part of your life, but it can be a motivation to work toward your goals and dreams for your future.
My strength and determination were tested through the pregnancy and adoption, but it proved to me I was capable and strong enough to be and do whatever I set my mind to. It gave me confidence to try things that I otherwise wouldn’t have. You are strong, and you don’t have to walk through this alone. I placed through Lifeline 22 years ago, and still have regular communication with them. They are willing to help you think through who could be a support for you during this time, what your goals are, and whether adoption is the best choice for you and your baby, which only you can decide.
There were days, weeks even, that the grief and depression seemed unbearable, especially around his birthday and Mother’s day. At seventeen, I chose a closed adoption because I didn’t know how much interaction I could handle and still move forward in life. So for those first several years, there were a lot of questions about how he was, what he was like, and so on. Nowadays, open adoption is more common and there is less of a taboo about adoption (not to say it doesn’t exist at all). You can decide how much communication you want and whether you want to see your child as they grow, through pictures or visits. There is still grief and loss, but also a peace knowing that your child is doing well and has the life you hope they would have.
I recently met the son I placed, and although it was the hardest decision of my life to place him, I now have the confirmation that it was also the right decision for me and my son. Only you can decide if adoption is the right option for you, but the pregnancy counselors at Lifeline are there to help you as you consider all of your options. I wish the best for you and want to remind you that there is hope and a future on the other side of this pregnancy.
To begin discussing adoption with a pregnancy counselor today, reach out through our 24/7 FREE, HOTLINE by live chat, text, or phone at 1-800-875-5595. Or you can submit a request for one of our Pregnancy Counselors to reach out to you.