Sammi is a birth mother who placed her daughter through New Life Adoptions in 2014. She shares about grief and loss as well as some deep, personal thoughts written about a month after placing her daughter. Her story shows the importance of working through grief even though it never really goes away.
I wrote about my experience the first month after having my little girl, the unending waves of grief that crashed over me day after day. Sadness in a degree I had never experienced before. I had never known I was so maternal, that is, until I got pregnant. Hormones are powerful little beings that kicked my maternal instincts into high gear, and this, I believe, is why my grief was so strong once I had placed my daughter. Even through all the counseling, worksheets, preparation and planning I had done over the course of my pregnancy, I still wasn’t prepared for the level of grief that overcame me once she was gone. It goes against our every fiber of being as a mother to give our children to someone else, even though we know our child will be safe, loved and taken care of, our primal instincts revolt against this idea and fight us every step of the way.
I had never known I was so maternal, that is, until I got pregnant.
Even though I knew, absolutely, that an open adoption was the right decision for me and my baby, I still struggled with it. I have never regretted it, but grief doesn’t care how sure you are of a decision, it doesn’t care how many pep talks you’ve given yourself, or how reassured you are by your friends and family. Grief barges in and takes up residence in your heart whether you want it to or not. It takes time to heal, it takes patience with yourself and an immense amount of grace. You are allowed to feel angry, sad, depressed, unsure. Grief takes all these forms and many more. You must allow yourself to feel these things, and learn how to process them, in a way that is best for you.
I have never regretted it, but grief doesn’t care how sure you are of a decision, it doesn’t care how many pep talks you’ve given yourself, or how reassured you are by your friends and family.
Here is an excerpt from my journal around one month after I gave birth.
“Grief is a funny fiend. It is more than sadness, it consumes you, from the inside out. It finds joy in hurling the constant reminders at me that my baby was not with me. In the physical pain of recovering from birth, in the way my body no longer felt like my own, but a strangers; loose skin hanging from my once firm stomach, stretch marks that travel miles down my body, sagging breasts, exhausted from the strain of holding in so much milk- dying to be released, only to dry up into shriveled prunes, unable to nourish the child it was meant for; skinny jeans that no longer fit my widened hips and expanded thighs. The ache, oh the terrible ache of my first period. Pain so strong it made me delusional, as though I wanted to throw up and faint at the same time. My body revolted, making up for 9 months’ worth of missed periods, it was spite. Grief was lethargy, not even enough energy to roll over in bed and sleep, only because insomnia lay next to me, telling me sleep was for the weak. Instead, let’s stay awake all night and ruminate over the life you’ve given up, the child you’ve given up. Grief, ebbs and flows. Some days it overpowers every other emotion, laying waste to the small bit of sanity I had managed to regain. Other days it feels like a faint memory, on the good days, I can look at grief, with a faint smile and say, “I will not crumble today.” Those good days become good weeks, and then months. And eventually, grief is an old friend that no longer threatens to overbear me, but will still make the wound in my heart seep just a little, for old times’ sake.”
Writing has allowed me the space to process my grief. I can take all these emotions and thoughts and let them go on paper. My heart feels at peace when I write or talk about my journey with my daughter. Sharing my story has been one of the most healing things I have done since placing my daughter. She is a part of me, and has changed my life forever. My grief no longer rules my every waking moment, as it so did for many months after she was born. But I can find immense joy now in watching her grow up, to learn of the world around her, and for her to know who I am, as her birth mother.
Writing has allowed me the space to process my grief. I can take all these emotions and thoughts and let them go on paper. My heart feels at peace when I write or talk about my journey with my daughter. Sharing my story has been one of the most healing things I have done since placing my daughter.
Grief is a funny fiend that has turned into an old friend. We reminisce, we shed tears now and then over the memories of my pregnancy, but they are replaced by tears of joy soon after when I get a Facetime call from my little girl. It reminds me of the movie, Inside Out, my grief playing out old memories for me, but happiness steps in and shines her sunlight on those sad memories, making them precious to remember.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with grief after placing for adoption we are here to help. Contact our Post Adoption Department or contact MN ADOPT’s Help Program for referrals to an adoption competent therapist. You can also find a list of therapists with adoption experience on MN ADOPT’s website.
About the Author: Sammi Smith is a birth mother who placed her daughter with New Life Adoptions in 2014. She gets to watch her little girl grow up into the spunky young woman she knows she will be and continues to foster a relationship with her every day! Sammi is an aspiring writer, bookworm, and lover of all things Autumn. She hopes to one day be a published author, sharing her adoption story of love with the world.