Sometimes I feel like I've come so far in the past five years. I have been through some pretty tough life challenges, and I managed to survive. Amen to that! Since the birth of Deanna, I've spoken about pro-life issues, helped student moms, educated people about open adoption, graduated from college, landed a real job, and still maintained a close relationship with my daughter and her adoptive family. I feel like I've accomplished so much in these past five years, and when I actually stop to think about everything I've been through, it all seems so surreal. Is this really my life? Sometimes I still can't believe how I got to be where I am today.
But sometimes, every so often, I have days where I feel like I'm right back to where I started. Back to the bad stuff. Recently, someone made a remark about how I "got knocked up" in high school. I probably wasn't supposed to hear it, but I did.
Sometimes I think that no matter how much time has passed, no matter how much I have tried to right my wrongs and make up for my mistakes, some people will never let me be anything other than the girl who got pregnant in high school. I know that I hurt alot of people because of my actions back in the day, but here we are five years later and I'm still paying for it. I think I will always be paying for it.
When you're a birthmom, your experience with unplanned pregnancy becomes a huge part of your identity. And if you allow it to, it can take over your life. It becomes a part of who you are, and it can be extremely difficult to relate to other people who don't understand you because of it. When you're a birthmom, after going through arguably one of the most difficult life experiences known to mankind, you just have a different mindset and perspective on things. It's hard to explain. It can make you feel different. It can make you feel alone. It can make you feel years beyond your age. Because when you're a birthmom, there are only a few people on this entire earth who can truly understand what you've been through. That's mind-boggling. Birthmoms: the few, the proud, the extremely fertile.
I recently received an email from a 15-year-old who placed her daughter in an open adoption about a month ago. She said told me that she finally feels like somebody understands what she's been through. I do. Trust me, I do. I know how easy it is to feel like you're the only one when you're a birthmom.
When people talk about my experience in a derogatory way, it takes me back to the high school lunch room. This is my first memory of when my classmates first started finding out that I was pregnant. You know how it works. One person tells one person. That person tells one more person. Soon everyone knows. I remember standing in the lunch line waiting to buy a pepperoni roll. As I stood in line, I glanced up and saw an entire table of football players staring at me. They were pointing, whispering, and blatantly looking at my stomach as if they were going to see a baby bump suddenly emerge (I was two weeks pregnant). As I made my way through the line, I got angrier and angrier. I was truly embarrassed. The staring continued, and I finally had enough. I pointed at the ringleader of the table, and I gave him the double-bird. Yep, I flipped him off with both fingers. I know, I know. That was really mature of me. But at the time, it was my only line of defense. I paid for my lunch, and my emotions suddenly got the best of me. Completely out-of-character, I marched right over to their lunch table and I asked them what the **** they were looking at. Then, I seriously considered slapping the ringleader in the face with my pepperoni roll. I didn't act on that urge, but part of me wishes I had for the sake of a good story and a nice week-long vacation from school.
Over the past five years, I've learned to deal with criticism differently. Instead of wishing to slap someone in the face with a carb-wrapped meat roll, I have found more constructive ways of dealing with things. I think, I reflect, I blog, and I understand that people are people. And some people are never going to let me be anything other than the girl who got pregnant in high school. That's the reality of being a birthmom.
On the other hand, I know that there are so many people in my life who love me for who I am and respect me more for what I've been through. There's a bigger, better part about being a birthmom that overshadows all the bad stuff. It's called saving lives. When you're a birthmom, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you saved at least one life. Probably more, depending on who has heard about your story. Birthmothers take the road less traveled, knowing upfront that it's not going to be easy, all in the name of giving their child a better life. Birthmothers will probably never know the full extent of the positive impact their decision has had on others. Birthmothers are people who had acquired incredible mental toughness and maturity, and who have the satisfaction of knowing that sharing their stories can help so many other people. How many people can claim that? To me, that's one of the best parts about being a birthmom.
This entire post has been somewhat of a word-vomit, but that's okay. I'm not trying to make everything perfect. I'm just trying to be real, to be honest about what it's really like to be a birthmom. Sometimes it's just an explosion of crazy thoughts. But I'm going to continue sharing because I know that somebody out there is taking something positive away from it. People always ask me, "Do you have any regrets?" My answer to that has always been no...until now. After taking a trip down memory lane and remembering the lunch room tale, I sort of kind of slightly maybe just a tiny bit regret not launching that pepperoni roll after all. That would have been a heck of a story to tell the grand kids someday!