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A panel of birth mothers recently shared how their views of themselves changed after placement. This is Amber’s story.

There’s a stigma that people put on women when we have placed a child. When I’m asked how many children do I have, there is always the uncomfortable hesitation…..a pause…..how do I answer this? My brain races a million miles a minute. How many children do I HAVE? Why does this question always make me feel like I’m a bad mom? Like I’m a bad woman. Why does this make me feel like a quitter? Like I’ve done something wrong?

I’ve struggled with that very question for the last 7 years. How do we answer this question? Do I say that, (now that I have had another child who is 3) do I say I have 3 children? I can’t possibly say that I HAVE 3 because I HAVE 2. But I’ve had 3. The emotions that come with that question are emotions that anytime I’m asked, I choke. I can feel my body tensing up and my eyes start to fill with emotion. Am I a bad mom for not keeping my son? How does society label me?

Since the adoption a lot has changed. What once was an open adoption, has now turned into a closed adoption. Can I still call my son MY SON? I struggle with the cutting of lines of communication. Every day, even 7 years, 4 months and 7 days.  It has been 2,684 days since my son was born.

When I think about where I am now versus 2,684 days ago, I’ve come a long way. For the first 2 years I was lost. I was empty. I didn’t want to continue doing what I was doing before he was born. I wanted to better my life to make my daughter proud. I prayed for God to give me answers. To give me peace. To help me heal. I struggled with knowing that I wasn’t good enough to even care for a child that I had carried inside me for 38 weeks and 2 days. Would I ever be good enough to take care of my children? Would I even have any more children? God, please tell me where I am going! Please help this wound heal. But it never does. It never goes away. It is a feeling that you will always live with. It’s an earth shattering, mountain moving, almost life ending moment, when you leave the hospital and literally leave a piece of your heart and soul in the arms of another family.

It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my youngest little girl, 3 years after adoption. I knew that I had finally been blessed. I had worked so hard to figure out what I was meant to do and where I was meant to go. The struggle of loss and emptiness nearly took my life 3 times in less than a year. I was not okay with that feeling anymore.

Who am I? I am the mother to THREE beautiful children, and three beautiful angels. I am everything that I never thought I could be. I’m successful. I’m beautiful. I’m HAPPY. I’m loved. I’m worth every step that it took to get me here. The good and the bad, it is what has made me. We all fall down from time to time, and some of us fall harder than others, but we all have fallen and have all felt this unbearable pain. I’ve learned to live again. I’ve learned how to channel the emptiness and cope. I AM ME. The girl that chose adoption. The girl that knew something better was out there for my son.  Yes, I call him MY son. He will always be my son. I am finally ME.