What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions.  It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. image Today’s guest post is by LeAnn. What I want you to know about being a birthmother? It hurts. Not the physical kind of pain, although that can happen if I stress out to much, but it hurts mentally and emotionally.  It messes with my psyche.  There is a void in me that nothing can fill.  The place that is deep inside and nobody else sees or feels like I do.  I was dating the guy who I thought I was going to marry.  We talked about marriage and our future plans quite often.  I loved him like I never loved before.  I thought he felt the same way.  Needless to say that when I found out I was pregnant he bailed.  He wanted nothing to do with me or the baby.  He was adamant about giving the baby up for adoption from the beginning.  I was not interested in it at all.  I went through pregnancy counseling.  I counseled with the pastor from my church.  I still was not interested in giving the baby up for adoption.  Everyone around me seemed to think that it was best.  I didn’t have any support for keeping my baby, I only had support for giving my baby up for adoption. Toward the end of my pregnancy I did decide that it was best for the baby if I gave him up for adoption.  With no support from anyone if I was going to keep the baby I thought the baby deserved a loving home and 2 parents.  Everyone around me was on board with that decision since they wanted that all along anyway.  I got to be involved in every step of the process of adoption. What I want you to know about being a birthmother is that there is not a day, sometimes hour, or minute that I do not think about the baby boy that I gave birth to.  I wonder if he is eating good.  I wonder if he makes friends easily.  I wonder if he is like me or his birthfather.  I wonder if he will respect the decision I made and forgive me.  I wonder if he wishes that I would have kept him.  I wonder if he tortures he drives his older sister nuts like most brothers do. I wonder if he is truly happy.   I wonder about every aspect of his life.   I love him just as any mom who loves their children.  That will never change.  I did not give him up for adoption because I didn’t want him.  I still have days that I wish I wouldn’t have given him up for adoption.  I got married and waited 7yrs to have children because I didn’t want to have kids just to replace him.  I now have two kids with my husband and its bittersweet.  I love my children but everything that they do is a reminder of what I didn’t get to see my firstborn do and experience with him.  I have great joy knowing that my son was placed in an awesome family.  We have an open adoption and I think that has helped me deal with all of this. I think the hardest part of this is the psychological damage it has done to me.  I didn’t have anyone to turn to after my son was placed for adoption.  No one understood what it was like.  No one wanted to talk about it.  My self esteem took a huge nosedive and my trust in people became almost nonexistent. I lost friends.   I still have trust issues today.  No one talks about it even now 13yrs later.  I feel awkward bringing it up to people.  Whenever someone asks how many kids do you have I always hesitate and wonder if I should say 2 or 3.  I don’t hesitate because I’m embarrassed about my son or the situation, I hesitate because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable.  I suffer from depression.  Not the I can’t get out of bed and hardly make it through my day kind but the kind where I’m not fully who I used to be.  I used to be fun and outgoing, full of life.  Now I’m more reserved and quiet.  I’m afraid of getting to close to anyone for fear of being hurt again.  I am not a downer.  I don’t complain and cry for hours on end.  I’m the opposite.  Its almost like I don’t have any feelings at all.  I don’t go through my day dreary and sad.  I keep it all inside.  I don’t think anyone knows the depth of my sadness or the ache I feel.  I haven’t given up on life and that it is full of wonderful things in spite of the trauma I have endured.  It is a continual process of forgiveness – my ex-boyfriend who abandoned me – for the people involved in my life that weren’t supportive – for the people who are in my life but don’t want to talk about it.  I get it.  Its uncomfortable.  Very few people can fathom handing their child over to someone else to raise and understanding the circumstances around the adoption.   I am not looking for sympathy.  I was old enough and mature enough to understand the depth of my situation and that it would effect the rest of my life.  I want you to know that birthmoms don’t give their babies up for adoption because they don’t want them.  More than anything they WANT what is BEST for the baby even if it means it is not what is best for the them. Please if you know a birthmom (or dad) give them a hug.  Be willing to listen to them and not judge.  Be there for them.  Next Mothers Day give a hug and or a card to a birthmom.  It is the worst day of the year for them even if they have other kids.  If you happen to know the date of the birth offer them an ear that is willing to listen.  Offer them a babysitter to watch her other kids so she may have some private time to grieve and to remember the wonderful life she brought into this world.  Just be willing to be there for her.  It doesn’t need to be a huge amount of time.  You don’t have to understand what she is going through, just so she knows that she is loved and not judged.  As birthmothers we know the sacrifice of giving up something that is totally against our internal instincts.  But we also know that we have blessed a family beyond measure with a baby that they could not conceive of on their own.  I am truly blessed to have found a family for my son that loves me.  That is open to him about me.  They make me feel welcome in their lives.  i have never in 13yrs felt that I picked the wrong family for my child.  I feel an absolute peace about the family I placed him in.  Thanks for letting me share,