Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I'm getting ready to announce later this week to the general public that my husband and I are expecting. Of course, we are very excited. You can imagine my joy when we first found out we were pregnant, something that I have longed for most of my adult life. We've told a handful of close friends and family so far, and it's been a little interesting.

A lot of people in my life do not know that I placed a baby for adoption. Almost no one at my work knows, but for those who were friends of mine during my pregnancy. I haven't told anyone at church. I haven't even gotten up the gumption to tell my in-laws (something I mean to remedy very soon).

So, when I've talked to the handful of people I've told thus far, I've gotten several comments that make me shrink a little inside.

Advice for first time pregnancy. Or things like, "This is your first, and your first is always..." or "My first was like this, but my second was like this, so just wait until you get pregnant the second time..." Or worse, a friend of mine trying to talk me into joining her participating in a first-time mothers study. How do I say, I'm sorry, I can't. You see, I'm not eligible, because of an illegitimate child that I bore seven years ago that I never told you about...

Although, I don't know, maybe this is worse: I had my first prenatal visit a few weeks back, and I knew that I was going to have to discuss my first pregnancy. I was prepared for it. When the nurse took my initial information, she asked about any previous pregnancies, and I gave her the stats. But she got nosy, so I ended up telling her that I had placed the baby for adoption.

Then the CNM came in, with a grad student accompanying her. They both talked to me for awhile, and again, I was asked about my previous pregnancy, and again, I explained about placing him for adoption. It wasn't pleasant, but I was prepared for it.

But then, a week later, I had to call the on-call nurse with a concern. And I had to go through it all again, over the phone. That time, I wasn't prepared to have to talk about it, and it really upset me.

I intend to ask if someone will put a note in my file, hopefully just to stop the nosy-ness.

I know that it's going to continue. We're planning to make it public knowledge in the next day or two. More people will gush, and more people will unknowingly say things that sting a little. Not because of what they're saying, but because this isn't my first pregnancy, this isn't the first time I've gone through this. It's different, of course, so incredibly, awesomely, different, because this time it's my baby inside of me, not someone else's. This time, I have a loving, wonderful, supportive husband at my side who is just as excited to become a parent. I am stable, and happy, and prepared. It's all different.

But it's still not the first time I've gone through this. Most of the people around me don't know that, and that's the way I prefer it, at least for the time being. It just means that I get to live with the unknowingly insensitive remarks. Secrets present their own kinds of challenges.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

10 Questions Birth Moms Hate

This post originally appeared on on April 29, 2013.

10 Questions Birth Moms Hate
by Monika Z.

There have been a lot of blog posts recently about questions the infertile community hate as well as questions adoptive parents hate. Someone in one of the birth mom groups of which I’m a part asked us to give feedback about the questions we as birth moms hate to get, inspired by the “hate posts” circling around the internet right now. This in turn inspired me to write a post of my own.

Image credit
1. What are you going to do with future children?
This one’s my “favorite.” Amanda Argyriadis, a fellow birth mom, says that she likes to answer this particular question with snark and sarcasm. “Oh you know, I was just planning on getting knocked up so I could go through the trauma and heartbreak of separation cause I don’t want my membership to incubators-r-us to be called into question.” She then said she likes to follow it with a raised eyebrow “and, if you can get away with it, a smack upside the head.” I particularly like the “smack upside the head.” This question rather brings to mind a “Here’s Your Sign” moment, coined of course by Bill Engval.

2. Is it co-parenting?
This question probably gets asked of adoptive parents in open adoptions more than birth parents living the same, but it bugs us as well. I suppose if you look at the word in the most literal sense, it is “co-parenting.” I retained my motherhood when I relinquished my daughter to adoption, therefore I am a parent just as her mom and dad are parents. However, I do not have input, nor do I expect it, in the way that my daughter is being raised. If her parents ever ask Nick or me for input on a specific situation, we will provide it. But we would no more expect our advice to be followed than any other friend or family member should expect in the same situation.

3. Don’t you love your child? Didn’t you want your child?
Yes. We love and want our children. If it was simple desire and love that were motivations for relinquishing or not, we would all be raising our children.

4. Aren’t you glad she/he is in a better place?
Ugh. Our children are not “better off” without us. When we place our children, we hope that their adoptive parent(s) are more prepared to parent our child than we are at the time, but it is not “better.” It is different, obviously. This terminology causes me and other birth moms to feel as if the person asking the question is implying our children are dead and in heaven.

5. The decision is done. Why don’t you move on?
A birth mom will never “move on.” We will never forget, nor should we. Whether we have open adoption relationships with our children and their parents or not, being a birth mom means that we have a lifetime of grief. We should move forward with our lives, but moving on implies something completely different.

6. Aren’t you happy you made your child’s adoptive parents happy?
Like I’ve said repeatedly, mothers who make the decision to place their children with adoptive parents do not do so to make those adoptive parents happy. We do so for the benefit of our children. While I’m personally happy that my daughter’s parents are happy with my daughter, this question implies that their happiness should have been my sole reason for placing. This is simply not true.

7. Are you taking it okay?
Taking what okay? The fact that I’ve chosen a lifetime of grief and loss so that my child could have parents that were more prepared to parent her than Nick and me? I’m sorry, but no one can be expected to take that sort of loss and be okay with it, no matter how at peace one is with the decision that has been made. I am at peace. I don’t regret the choice of adoption or the choice of my daughter’s parents, though I do regret the circumstances that led me to make the decision I made. But I will never be “okay” again. I will never go back to the way I was before I had and relinquished my daughter.

The rest of these are statements, though there are implied questions with each of them.
8. At least your child’s needs are well provided and she (or he) is happy.
I know this is meant as a consolation for the grief. But saying this says to us that the person making the statement assumes our child wouldn’t have been happy staying with us or that his or her needs wouldn’t have been well provided.

9. Don’t worry, you can always have more.
No child, no matter how loved and wanted they may be, will ever or can ever replace the loss of a child, whether that loss is from adoption or if that loss is caused by infertility issues. This is why I firmly believe that counseling is necessary and time for healing needs to take place if there are infertility issues that cause someone to consider adoption or if there is a loss due to adoption before those people bring another child into their home.

10. You’re not that child’s mother. You need to let that child go.
Just no. I will always be my daughter’s mother, just like my daughter’s mother will always be her mother. Relinquishing legal parental rights does not erase my biological connection to my daughter, nor does it erase any birth mother’s biological connection to her child. We can let go of the fact that we cannot parent our children in the “traditional” way, and I would argue that it is necessary to do that. But we cannot and should not ever try to let our connection to our children go.