By Birthmother – “You came to the fork in the road and you took it.”
A wise therapist once used this line on me. He explained to me that sometimes it doesn’t matter whether I turn left or right. Either way, I make a decision; I pick a path and I don’t stop travelling. Experience tells me that without accepting a chosen path there is no chance of moving forward. How can anyone survive if they stop at the fork indefinitely, or if they travel down one path without turning their gaze from the path they left behind? Can’t you imagine the calamity as such a doubtful traveler rides head-first into a cliffside?
Occasionally, though, life offers unsolicited visions of what the OTHER path might have been. As I learn more about the mother, Karen, who adopted my son, I am keenly aware that her path could have been mine. Karen and I have so much in common. We are similar in age, and even more similar in our personalities. Karen is open, honest. Her emotions are exposed at all times (including her love, which she gives automatically as an extension of who she is). She enjoys the simple things. She is open to new experiences and embraces them with enthusiasm. It comes as no surprise that a person with so much openness and emotion would fall easily into traps of depression. Again, I can relate.
So as I hear about Karen’s life as a mother I can instantly imagine myself in her shoes. I cannot help but be aware that her life could have been my life, and vice versa.
Could I be living in a safe and healthy home strewn with a toddler’s toys? Could I be living in a home where play, learning and make-believe are around every corner? Could I share the joy of taking a young child on adventures, watching the child’s eyes grow wide with excitement at each new experience? Could I be the mother trying to soothe the anger of a screaming toddler at the local grocery store? Could I be the one getting covered in bedtime kisses after reading my child’s favorite story book for the 100th time?
Yes, yes I could have chosen that life, but I did not. I gave birth, but I am not a mother. I chose not to be a mother. The consequences of this choice have only begun for me in that I will spend the rest of my life seeing what I’ve missed.
Moreover, I will spend the rest of my life seeing what my children have missed by not having me. Did I hurt them by giving them up? Will they be angry? Doubtful? Insecure? And will I be the one to blame? The older I get, and the older my children get, the more these questions will keep me up at night…
…unless I find some way to make peace with the choices that brought me to this place in my life and with the consequences of my actions. ***Does this entry end here? How DO I make peace? Is it selfish to enjoy life without my children? I didn’t give my children up so that I could live a happy, carefree life. I wasn’t ready to take care of another person. I was NOT in the secure, healthy place then that I’m in now. Are my children the ultimate judges of my actions? Is my peace dependant upon their judgement? Is it enough to know that my choice, good or bad, gave other people the chance to be parents? I don’t know.