I had delivered a perfect baby girl. My post-delivery complications kept me from holding her right after delivery, and I was desperate to see her precious face. My mother wheeled me into the nursery, and the nurse placed her in my arms for the first time. I heard, This is not your baby. I looked toward my mother. The voice or thought was loud enough I assumed she heard it too; she didn’t.
This is not your baby. A wave of frustration, fear and angst flooded my body. But I wanted this to be my baby! I had carried her for nine months, created an adoption plan for her, and delivered her from my flesh and blood. I wanted to hold her and feel a strong desire to change everything that was in place. Don’t get me wrong; I did hold her and also felt a motherly bond, unconditional love, pride, and light. Those five words didn’t make the act of what I was about to do any easier, but they did become a foundation for me to lean on. Those five words have carried me through doubtful days.
Before delivery, and after I had voiced my decision to place my baby girl for adoption, I had many people openly doubt my choice. They questioned the process, they questioned my motives, they questioned everything, but I was confident in my decision. While I was pregnant, I listed the pros and cons of adoption and single parenting, and I quickly realized that my mental list to parent was benefiting myself. The option to place was filled with benefits for my baby girl. That realization was another foundation for me to lean on when others questioned me and when I was doubtful.
You cannot deny a personal conviction, and no one can take that conviction away from you. If you are making an adoption plan for your baby, find those confirmations that your decision is the right choice for you and your baby; no one else matters. Find your foundation for when you are drowning in grief and doubting your choice, because you will. Eighteen years later, I can’t honestly say I still don’t have doubts. What I can honestly say is this: those gifts of certainty are my saving grace and sunshine on dark days. My doubtfulness diminishes with time and the more aware I become of my true self.
You will doubt yourself. You will doubt your choice. You will doubt your confirmations. It is normal. It is natural. It is the process most birth parent experience. The roller coaster can be exhausting. Lean on those who have supported you from the beginning. When in doubt, ask them about the confidence you had in your decision. When I am unraveling with thoughts of doubt I turn to my foundations, the five words I heard when I held her, my mental list of pros and cons, and the support from those who love and respect me.
Does doubt mean you made the wrong choice or you’re about to make the wrong decision? No, doubt means you’re human. Doubt and fear are human nature. When your mind is clear, and your emotions are at bay, how do you feel about your decision? When you are not living in fear, how do you feel about your choice? Take a minute to be alone with your thoughts, meditate or pray, and then listen. What do you hear? What rings true to your heart? Make a mental list of pros and cons for each choice and allow yourself to block fear, block doubt, block the naysayers, and do what is best for you and your baby.
We each find our unique ways of dealing with grief, growth, fear, and doubt. I only know what I have experienced, and I have an eagerness to help those around me. If you are pregnant and looking into adoption, be courageous in your decision. If you are a birth parent, and you are living in doubt and fear, turn to that foundation that guided you to place your baby for adoption. May you find peace in your choices and comfort in your doubts. You are not alone.
Growing up in Utah County, unwed pregnancy by age 19, Gina always found herself outside of the Utah cultural box. Shortly after placing her baby girl for adoption in the fall of 2000, she started her own non-profit organization, Birth Mother Baskets. Her goal was to provide hope, support, and courage for birthmothers, post placement.
After fourteen years of running Birth Mother Baskets and being an adoption advocate, Gina stepped away to pursue a corporate job as a Creative Arts Manager.
A severe concussion in 2016 led Gina back to rediscover her true passion for writing. She left the comforts of the corporate paycheck and is now writing a memoir.
Gina still lives in that cultural bubble of Utah County with her husband and three children. She enjoys changing people’s perception of birth mothers and their place in adoption.
You can find her writings at ginacrotts.com or follow her on Instagram at @ginacrottswriter.