I am behind as Olivia is almost 13 months old but I finally feel OK to talk about this milestone without bawling…
I was SO SO fortunate to celebrate Olivia’s birthday, smash cake included. It was a day better than I hoped for. I got Olivia a necklace that matched rings Amy and I have. It was a special day. It was also a hard day. A few months before her birthday I struggled. I didn’t have much motivation to do daily tasks. I was in a very sad, not normal funk.
And of course after Olivia’s birthday I couldn’t get out of bed. It is so unlike our visits. Usually I drive home feeling so calm, peaceful and OK with my decision. I can’t be upset when Olivia has the best life. That kid literally has everything I want her to have. But the night after her birthday was the second lowest day of my life. It brought me back to the day I left the hospital without her. I told myself I would never let myself feel so low again but the memories came flooding back.
It has been one of the best years but also the hardest years of my life. Adoption is not for the faint of heart and I understand why some women feel they can’t do it. I’m forever and ever grateful for the relationship I have with Olivia. I love watching this baby blossom and grow. But of course I think “what if.” What if I didn’t have to make such a hard decision for someone else? What if I never got pregnant? How do you just block out the bad memories that shaped you to be who you are?
I was told her first birthday was going to be the hardest, but like the adoption plan itself, I couldn’t plan for that. I tried as hard as I could to be happy and celebrate this big milestone but it is so hard.
Olivia has been on my heart tonight. More than usual so I think it’s time to open up to a topic that people tend to avoid. I feel I had a little postpartum spell since having Olivia. Only mothers know how it feels to be in a slump after having a child. But only birth moms really know how it feels after placement. I get to a sad state. It’s selfish. And full of guilt. I don’t know why I feel guilty. Olivia is thriving. But it’s hard to not feel guilty when the world paints birth moms as selfish women that give away their “unwanted” babies.
I don’t share my story for sympathy or for people to feel sorry for me. I want to bring awareness to the topic of postpartum depression for birth moms, especially the first year post placement. It’s so overlooked. People assume that I’m “moving on” because I’m still working, going to school and in a happy relationship. It’s far from the truth. My boyfriend sees my struggles firsthand. It is something he will have to manage the rest of our life. I’m so lucky that he is so supportive and lets me talk and cry it out. He’s supportive and encouraging of my relationship with Olivia and her mom and it’s a great feeling. It’s scary dating as a birth mom. Lucky doesn’t even begin to cover it with this one.
To my birth mom friends I’m always here to listen, to laugh and to cry with you. You are not alone. And our mental health DOES matter just as much as our children’s well-being. We can’t be great birth moms if we can’t take care of ourselves. There is only one of us. I love all of my birth mom sisters!