This guest post is by Shelby Craig, a birthmother.
Most people think at 22, a single mother can thrive. Don’t get me wrong, many can.
But when I was unexpectedly pregnant, I knew I couldn’t give my son the things he needed.
He needed parents who could give him everything, especially love.
I had plenty of that to give him, but love is not enough.
So I found two incredible people who were more than willing to welcome him into their family.
They were unable to have children, and when I asked them to become my son’s adoptive parents, they said yes.
On August 28 2016, in the early morning, I went into labour, surrounded by support from both my family and theirs.
They stood by me, feeding me ice chips, rubbing my back, reminding me to breathe.
They were nervous, you could tell.
They were trying to not get their hopes up just in case I looked into the eyes of this baby and decided I wanted him.
They were right to be nervous.
For a split second when I heard his first cries that night, I wanted him more than anything. I was ready to change my mind.
But when I looked over and saw him on the chest of his mother, with his father smiling proudly down at him, all of my doubts washed away.
It was like they were meant to be a family. Like the missing piece of the puzzle had been fit into the whole picture.
It was incredible to experience.
That night, I was alone in my hospital bedroom and I wrote the following note. Not to get pity, but to remember my feelings, right there in that moment:
“I was luckier than most.
I say this with a minor appreciation, because I know how awful it sounds.
From the beginning, apart from a few months of being continuously icky, I was lucky.
No stretch marks, minimal but healthy weight gain, stayed active and, while I hate to admit it, forgot to do my kegels and take my prenatal vitamins.
Low and behold, my luck managed to stay with me today as I went into labour.
It was painful, hell yes – I will not exclude myself from that group.
After six hours of mild to extreme contractions, I began pushing at 10:00 p.m. and a beautiful boy was born at 10:22 p.m.
No complications, no tearing and, apart from being sore like hell, not much else is wrong.
Baby boy is healthy, weighing at 6 pounds 9 ounces and is alert, mewing and has latched.
I take this as a blessing from God, that I had an easier time than most.
Because as I lie here in my hospital bed listening to the sounds of the machines, I am not hearing the baby I gave birth to mew or yawn.
I believe I had such a great pregnancy and labour because God knew I would be placing my son for adoption.
I place my hand on my stomach, now empty, and feel alone.
I held my son after his new family had a chance to, and after his mother had skin on skin.
As I felt the soft skin on his face it was clear that he recognized my voice by the way he looked at me.
No other experience in my life could have prepared me for how difficult, yet how unbelievably amazing this journey has been.
These two will be wonderful parents and I can’t wait to share a life with them and their new son.”
Their son is 2 months old now, and I’ve been able to see him a number of times.
His mother even invited me to tag along while he got his newborn shots.
Every time I visit, there is a longing for him to be in my arms. When he is, I never want to let him go.
But seeing the love his new family has for him is overwhelming.
When I leave his home I feel comfort in knowing he would never have been this well off if I had been selfish and kept him for my own.
I love that baby boy. But the love I feel for him and his new family wipe out my feelings of loss.
There are good days and bad days with adoption.
Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, and most days I get out of bed with the sole purpose of making sure my son is proud of me someday.
I know one day he will have questions, but I also know that his parents and I will be able to tackle those questions together.
No adoption is the same, but our open adoption is unique and works for both our families.
Even though our son will know I placed him, he will also know he has twice the family. And twice the love.
Shelby is a birthmother and aspiring journalist living in Alberta, Canada.
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