Mother’s Day has been a day of mixed emotions for me for the past 25 years. As a birthmom, it has always been difficult to know how or what to celebrate on Mother’s Day. I wanted acknowledgement of the fact that I was a mom. But I had made a decision for my child that took away my right to be a mother – I placed April for adoption. I prayed, cried, and agonized over the decision to release her into the world for the opportunity at a better life. I was told I wasn’t adequate to be her parent. I believed it.
And so the heartache began. It is a pain so deep, so a part of me, that it is always there, always lurking below the surface. I have been told that there is a quiet sadness about me. It is engrained in my skin, my eyes, my smile. There came a point where I thought that I could heal the heartache. I believed 10 years ago that opening the adoption with April and her adoptive parents would allow the wound in my soul to close, creating a scar in its place. Instead the wound is left raw and sore, aching when I breathe.
I believed that celebrating Mother’s Day with my other children, as they arrived and blessed my life, would help ease the pain. I was wrong. While I could celebrate my motherhood with them, it would never take away that I cannot celebrate my motherhood with April. It is gone. I loved everything about her before she was even born. I would do anything for her, even if that ultimately meant not being her mother. For one week, I got to BE her mother. The next 25 years have belonged to someone else. How can I ever reconcile that?
The fact is that I lived a life in my head as her mother every day. I lived it from a distance, through the stolen moments in other people’s lives. A woman in the grocery store check-out lane jiggling her baby girl on her hip as she waits in line. A little chunky toddler sick and crying at the doctor’s office as her mom tries to keep her entertained. The little girl standing waiting for the bus with her mom on the first day of school. A mom disagreeing with her 8 year old daughter who wants pierced ears. A secret smile shared between a mom and daughter over a cute boy walking past. A mom crushed by the callous indifference of a 14 year old daughter. These people did not know that for a moment I was stealing their lives, letting myself play out their responses, imagining the next step in their lives belonged to April and me.
As we opened the adoption and got to know each other, I didn’t have to steal those moments from strangers anymore. The painful reality is that I could now steal them from April and her adoptive mom. But I subjected myself to it, creating my imaginary life as April’s mom by watching her life. I was still stealing moments from her parents. I watched her in her school play. I watched her crowned prom queen. I watched her cross the stage for graduation. I watched her drive away to leave for college. But the memories of getting to those places didn’t belong to me. Over time it became clear that she was doing the same all along, watching me parent her siblings. We were both trying to create something that could never exist. It could NEVER exist! What a sad realization…
We tried to create our own relationship, renew our bond. That bond was still there. But it is so mired in pain, disappointment, unmet expectations, and fantasies that can never be. So where do we go from here? We are both living our separate lives, not talking, trying not to think about each other or care anymore. Maybe this is the best we can do. Maybe the best we can do is to look the other way and pretend it doesn’t hurt.
Like so many days, I am so grateful for my life. I had a wonderful day with my beauties! My little Lulu Grace lost her first tooth. Bass cleaned out my van and vacuumed it for me. Queenie hugged me A LOT. I think she felt my ‘heart of blue.’ Jon worked on his labor of love for me in the yard. We had lunch outside. Lulu entertained us with her swimming pool ballet routine. We examined a caterpillar. We made fairy furniture for our ‘Fairy Hollow.’ Queenie and I had a nice time making dinner together. I’m so blessed. I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I’m just finding it hard to breathe.