Writing after placement has given me a lot of closure. I didn’t begin writing immediately after my daughter’s adoption took place; I would journal from time to time, but never consistently. For months after resigning my rights to be her mother, I couldn’t write much, because each time I’d put my pen to paper and begin to let things out, my eyes would fill with floods of tears. Re-living and trying to understand those moments and my decisions which led to placement felt impossible. It was simply too hard in the beginning.
Over time, the grief didn’t feel so over-bearing, and I began to feel urges at times to write. I began journaling more frequently and realized that letting my thoughts and emotions out in a creative expression helped me to carry on with my daily life without having to feel like I was constantly losing my mind. When I was nearly at my wit’s end, I could find a corner in my bedroom, sit down and write. Sometimes it would be five sentences, other times it would be multiple pages, and I’d find myself writing until my hand would begin cramping. Most of those earlier journal entries are so telling of how badly I felt about myself, and how I was grieving my own motherhood, as well as the loss of my daughter. Many of them seem repetitive and depressing, but that’s the reality of the emotions I felt during those times. Each day brought the same pain over and over, but as time passed, the pain lightened and so did my writing. Being able to just write out my feelings and to be honest in my journals provided me with a sense of relief that I was unable to get anywhere else. Having this creative outlet has been like having a counselor on hand, whenever I need them. But, instead of having to open myself up to another individual, I’ve been able to confide everything I know and feel within the confines of hundreds of pages of notebook paper.
These moments where I could find, and still find solace in my writing have shown me so much about my decision to place and have helped me to be okay with my daughter growing up outside of my own family. Through my craft, I have been able to come to certain conclusions about myself and what led me to the point of placement, although those conclusions are continually unfolding through different milestones in my own life. For myself, being able to write has been the one thing that makes me feel like I have a voice, consistently. Life has proved time and time again that even though I have the privilege of having an audible voice, pain and trauma give the façade that I do not. Almost always, it feels easier to keep quiet. Going from private journaling to sharing with the public has been such a frightening experience, but the reward of no longer being shut out or having my story silenced is well worth getting over my fears.
For nearly three and a half years, my story had been kept a secret; only shared with the people who walked through my pregnancy and placement with me. I never wanted to share publicly, I still felt the shame and oppression that I had when I chose to place. My story being out in the open seemed to mean that I would be forced to be an advocate for pro-life stories and that I would have to become vulnerable with strangers about how I placed my daughter for adoption at the age of twenty years old. I always felt that if I shared my story, not only would people think I was a monster, but they wouldn’t understand how deeply I was hurting. Fortunately, my readers’ responses have proved my self-doubt incredibly wrong.
Since I was a young girl, my mother has always shared scripture and her love of the gospel with me. But there is one Proverb that has been a guide for me when I share, as she repeated this one frequently. Mom always told me not to waste my story with people who won’t appreciate it or don’t need to hear it. She would quote Matthew 7:6, stating, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (NIV). I’ve had to learn time and time again when it’s appropriate to share openly, and when to keep my mouth shut. I’ve had amazing responses to my story that encourage me so, and I’ve had responses that made me want to curl up into a ball and die. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to ensure that each time we share, that we could always have a positive response. In fact, there will always be negative responses to anything we share openly. The only resolution I’ve gained from my experiences is to share when we feel comfortable and led to. Most times, you just know. In those times when you do receive hate for your personal narrative, you simply must acknowledge that those individuals are the minority, and that their opinions for your life don’t matter. The ones who don’t understand typically don’t want to, and that’s fine. They aren’t walking this path with you anyways.
My chosen creative craft is clearly writing, and I prefer to write non-fiction. I have learned that it doesn’t have to be the same for each person. I’ve seen birth mothers who use fitness and sports as an outlet for their emotions, but I’ve also witnessed some who use different art mediums like painting and drawing as forms of closure and understanding. There is no, set-in stone method that will work for everyone; we are all unique individuals with very different personalities and interests! Being able to confide in writing has truly helped me to move forward knowing that my daughter is living with another family. It is still hard but being able to share my story has given me confidence and encouragement enough to allow me to get out of the ditch, and onto the path that I want my life to be on from this point.