For years I believed I did not want to have a baby even though I was in a stable and long term relationship with my husband. I was fine while I never had the desire to have a baby, but the natural progression of our relationship combined with the body clock that stopped ticking and started to chime bloody loudly instead meant I was pushed to face the conflict and fears of becoming a mother.
The thought of having and holding a baby and envisaging what it must have been like to give a baby away was confronting and painful. I knew it would take me back to the experience of my own birth and the confused feelings of abandonment and loss that had plagued me most of my life. I did not have the belief in myself that I was strong enough to face the next hurdle in life, motherhood. What if I made mistakes and I screwed him up too?
As a result, I was a new mum with exceptionally high and unrealistic expectations of myself; my need to ‘get it right’ and do it ‘by the book’ drove me to the edge (and I read a lot of books!). In those early months I began to not cope, thoughts that my baby would be better off without me were very real, the fear that ‘they’ would take my baby away from me too was extreme and it prevented me from seeking the help I needed.
A short time later I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and although clinical depression is described as a physiological and chemical imbalance, I know that the emotional intensity and stress toward making a choice to have a baby and finally experiencing pregnancy and childbirth from the identity of being an Adoptee certainly added to my experience – post natal depression was also one of the greatest gifts I received to heal my heart of my perceived abandonment.
Since becoming a mum I gained more empathy for my birth mother, a greater insight into her shame and loss. I was fortunate to meet my birth mother Betty over 20years ago now and blessed to have a healthy ongoing relationship. I know that my pregnancy raised issues for her too; we talked a lot about her shameful experience and her pain. The day I gave her my baby son to hold was like giving back a little part of me as a baby that she missed out on; we came full circle and there was a sense of completion in that moment.
My experience in becoming a mother allowed growth and healing to take place within me. I am connected even more to the three women in my life who have been my mothers as I am also blessed with a beautiful mother-in-law, another beautiful Betty!
I have created my own little family with my husband; I definitely have a greater sense of connection and a reassurance of who I am. I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter. I am connected to all the people in my life that created and influenced me. I am complete.