My Adoption Journey Does Not Define Me; It Inspires Me [Erica’s Story]
Unplanned pregnancy can be one of the most momentous experiences of a young woman’s life. It is an emotional, often overwhelming event for all those who are touched by it. In the same token, the choice to place your baby for adoption is a life-altering one. Adoption is the beginning of a lifelong journey, full of both love and loss, and can change a young woman’s life forever. But this does not mean she has to be defined by it. Adoption and unplanned pregnancy do not have to define a person, but they can inspire a person. Here is one birth mother’s story about finding herself – and positively defining herself – after her son’s adoption.
A few months prior to getting pregnant, I was in a toxic relationship with a different man… someone I should have never even gotten involved with in the first place. He was older, more experienced, had a past with addiction, did not value life the same way I did, lacked motivation and self-confidence, and held onto previous relationships (literally bringing them into the next one with him). He addressed to me from the start that he was not looking for anything serious and felt he was not a good guy for me. I swept all the red flags under the rug, and was blinded by his sense of humor and our effortless friendship that I let myself fall… and I let myself fall hard. All the red flags aside, we had a special connection and chemistry that I never had with someone before which is why I continued to spend every waking minute with him.
Long story short, I found out that he was still seeing the woman from his past relationship. I could not believe it. I ended all things right there on the spot and we never spoke again. My heart ached and I could not understand how someone I had fallen in love with did not reciprocate the same feelings for me; not only that, how could someone I loved have no problem disrespecting and hurting me so much.
A few months went by and I was still heart broken. A night out lead to me running into an ex-boyfriend from college and I am sure you know the rest. Fast forward to 6 months after my run-in, and I was in the hospital with a nurse telling me the pain in my back was due to the fact that I was 6 months pregnant.
Talk about shock. I was devastated and confused. Here I was pregnant with my college ex boyfriend’s child, while still in love with a man who never even gave me his heart.
I shared the news of my pregnancy immediately after I found out with my college ex-boyfriend. Our relationship back in the day ended on a rough patch, too (shocking, I know… *eye roll*). He was NOT the guy I pictured in my dreams of raising a family and not the guy in my dreams being a role model for my children as a father, but also a loving husband. All that aside, I still felt he had every right to know about and be involved in my pregnancy as I did. This was his child, too.
He told me he wanted no role in this pregnancy or raising a baby, and took it even further to say that this baby was not his. If he wanted to play that game I had no problem looking him in the eye and saying “BYE” forever.
I was not going to let his words beat me down further or be any sort of distraction, because I had a baby I needed to look out for. He proved to me, again, that he is not the man I thought he was. His foolish comments and cowardice actually made it easier for me to drop him behind and continue on this journey alone– figuring out how I would give my son the best life possible.
I think one of the hardest parts of my pregnancy was feeling so alone. Knowing I was pregnant by a man I had no feelings for, while the guy I actually loved and cared about had no idea what I was going through and was about to go through. It drove me insane. THEN on top of that WHY was I still having feelings for such a low life loser when my life was in complete shambles?!
It took me to such a low place of insecurity and self-hate. I hated the way I looked, hated the way I felt, and felt like such a terrible person that I was pregnant even in the first place. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy beating myself up and believing that I was not worthy of any type of love. I even avoided seeing my friends and family because I was so disgusted with myself and did not want any kind of attention.
I would wake up (if I even slept through the night) throw on a frumpy dress, go to work and sit at my desk while my mind wandered all day into outer space. I pretended to work while texting with my mom all day to keep my sanity. I could not even fathom the possibility I could potentially have an even bigger broken heart after my son would be born. Through my self-hate and insecurities, the only thing I felt so strongly about was the love I already had for my son and the life I wanted to give him. I fell in love with the couple who were going to be his parents, and I trusted the relationship and the open adoption plan we agreed on. I felt so content with my son’s plan and that God was leading this relationship in the right direction.
I’m embarrassed to admit the majority of my fears were internal… fears for myself and not my son; that I would never be loved, and that I would never find someone who would respect and love me back.
After my son was born I felt the most love I had ever felt in my life. The second I held him up to my chest I could feel this was the biggest gift of love God has ever given me. I was still going to go through with my adoption plan, because although I could not explain it, it felt right. I felt like all those who had come into my life through my pregnancy (new friends, old friends, close family, distant family, my son’s adoptive parents, doctors, nurses, and social workers) God was telling me Erica, this is the kind of love you deserve, and this is the kind of love I want to be in your life.
By no means was I down a dark path before getting pregnant, but I accepted being treated a certain way, and I accepted just existing rather than fully living to my greatest potential.
I did not demand the best things possible in my life. I was okay with going to work every day doing something I did not love and keeping a job that did not bring out the best qualities in me. I was okay with living in a part of the city that did not fit my needs. I accepted relationships that did not demand communication, loyalty, respect, and love.
When my son was born my life completely changed (as you can imagine). I got a taste of the sweet life and the life I wanted for my future. I was able to take a step back and look at my life in a way I would never have been able to if I had not gone through this experience. It took me living through a full year of my son’s life, where I still only existed and did not fully live up to my potential, to make a change. I knew deep down what I deserved but was fighting with myself on when it would be appropriate to start demanding it.
The month my son turned one I finally felt ready. I woke up one morning and decided I had made it through the first year of his life which meant I could do anything! It was MY time to make changes. I realized I was never truly living; I was not even living before my pregnancy, and it took this experience to wake me up and show me the kind of life I need and want to live.
I could not keep going to my God-awful desk job to sit and be miserable, when I could go into a career where I would instead make a difference in the world. I had just gone through the most challenging experience of my life and believed I went through all of it to come to a realization as to what my purpose in life is.
I believe I am meant to be a part of adoption in some capacity. I cannot say enough about the nurses I dealt with through my pregnancy and the imprint they left on my heart. My adoption journey opened my eyes in more ways than one. It made me want to be to someone else who the nurses and hospital staff were to me during the most vulnerable time of my life.
I built up the courage to quit my full time job and take every prerequisite needed to apply to nursing school. I had only three months to take 6 classes, two labs, and apply to the program, in order to start the following spring. I started nannying, bar tending, blogging, dog walking, dog sitting; doing ANY job I could get my hands on to still pay my bills while I worked towards this new life; a life after adoption.
A few weeks ago all my hard work paid off when I got an email from admissions. I was only able to read the first word in the first sentence, “Congratulations”, before I fell to my knees in thanks.
During these past two years I have learned so much about myself. I know the kind of life I want to live and the legacy I want to leave behind as an example for my son and future children. It is an amazing feeling to see things fall in place all because I decided to follow my heart, stop just existing and start demanding greatness in all aspects of my life.
Through the amazing open relationship I have with my son and his parents, my post-adoption support network, all the positive, likeminded people I have surrounded myself with, and the goals I have for my future, I am able to overcome my self-doubt and finally start living.
I am not defined by getting pregnant, I am not defined by my adoption story, I am not defined by my past relationships, and I am not defined by my post-baby body. I am defined by my heart and the ability I have to love, and let me tell you, that is my greatest and strongest quality.
This is a True Birthmother Account Written by Erica.