OBG Editor’s Note: In this edition of Member Mondays, we hear from one of our recently reunited birthmothers, Stephanie, who shares her thoughts on what it takes to ‘stay afloat’ amidst the inevitable- and emotional- ebbs and flows of birthmotherhood.
We have all experienced those occasions when life hands someone a challenge or tragedy and we find ourselves trying to find words of support, encouragement, strength and even sympathy. In these moments, phrases like these often come to mind:
“Time heals all wounds”
“It will get easier with time”
“This too shall pass”
“Every day will get a little easier”
Whenever I find myself in these situations – or within earshot of these kind of conversations– those phrases strike a chord and shoot an arrow in my heart. I lose my train of thought and struggle to get my bearings because those same phrases were clichés sent my direction when my son was relinquished. What surfaces in these moments are the very same emotions that are a part of my daily life as a Birth Mother: sorrow, loss, fear, emptiness, wondering how to get through.
In the weeks and months following the tragedy of the Malaysian plane crash, hearing the blaring TV updates of the search efforts and everyone’s conversations about ‘how the families of the missing must feel’ sent my inner Birth Mother reeling. I so easily connected with their sentiments and felt their pain. Where is my family member? Are they alive? Will we ever know? I KNOW what that’s like! I can tell you how it feels! Every emotion raw. Gut wrenching inside.
Then…time goes by and the attention and excitement dies down. Life moves on. This is the ebb and flow of life, time, emotion and experiences.
The ebb and flow of BEING a Birth Mother- this has been my journey. Not a day went by that I didn’t wonder about my son. The love for someone lost is constant, certain, and never fades. There are times I have excellent coping skills; life IS good. Then there are times when I crash head first, my strength caves in and have to pick up the wreckage. I have to put it back together and try to find my way back to my every day self. The undertow is always there…waiting to surface at any given moment – the rip tide of loss and the shame – my worst nightmare, drowning …..
Each day, I strive for smooth sailing and set the course to navigate through healing, hearing the well intended voices of encouragement. I’ll continue to ride the waves. However, I’ll need to keep my life jacket on.