When I look back over my journey as a birth mother, I remember a multitude of moments filled with joy, grief, and healing. Moments of peace, however, can be hard to come by when you’re a birth mother, in my experience. But there was one moment when I felt an overwhelming sense of peace with my decision — the moment my son was born, when two women came together in the same instant to love him.
At the time I became pregnant, open adoptions were rare, and having the adoptive mother in the room when the birth mother gave birth was rarer. The agency representative didn’t know what to make of my decision when I told it to her. “Are you sure?” she asked. I wasn’t sure, but something inside me knew it was the right thing to do.
It took a little convincing and a lot of perfect timing, but she was able to be there. I had privacy during the hours I spent in labor, but when it came time to push, I asked the nurse to go get her. During those next few minutes, as I waited for my son to be born, I pushed and counted and watched her. I could tell she was nervous, but I could also tell she was having trouble containing her excitement. I appreciated the fact that, in a moment of extreme joy for her, she was trying desperately to be respectful of my pain, physical and emotional.
When he finally emerged, screaming and kicking, the doctor laid him on my chest. I stared at him and the doubt and pain I had feared never came. Instead, an overwhelming peace filled me from head to toe, and it was as if she, the baby, and I were the only ones in the room. With a strength that came directly from God, I looked her in the eyes and asked, “Would you like to hold your son?” To this day, I’m not sure how I managed to hand him to her, but I felt confident in the choice I had made. In that instant, I accepted my decision and the reality that he was now hers.
When I have days filled with doubt, I cling to that memory. I remember the joy on her face the first time she held him, and I remember how happy I was to have been part of something so miraculous. I think about the gift I gave to her, and to him. When he asks his mother about the day he was born, she can tell him every detail, because she was with him from the moment he entered this world. And maybe someday she can tell him about me, too, about our few minutes together, when we shared him. She can tell him that he is a very lucky son to have two mothers who love him with all their hearts.