I have told some of the story of how I gave my first daughter up for adoption. But today, I want to share with you a bit of how I felt in the days and months and years after I handed her over; about the agony and the hope and the eventual reward.
When I went home without her, all I knew was that I felt unspeakable pain and loss and confusion and a tiny, distant flicker of hope. There was a lot nobody told me, a lot I didn’t know.
- I didn’t know it would get way, way worse before it got better.
- I didn’t know it would eventually become a point of pride for me to tell my story to new people.
- I didn’t know how much good it would do me to give talks to pregnant teens about the adoption process and what it was like to come out the other side.
- I didn’t know how comforting those talks would be to the girls who heard them, and how much comforting them would comfort me.
- I didn’t know how much I would love acting as birth coach for teenagers who came after me. I was unprepared for how cathartic that would be, and how intensely painful.
- I didn’t know that on my darkest days, it would be the thought of my child out in the world that would keep me going.
- I didn’t know that eighteen years after I gave up my first daughter, the phone would ring, and it would be her. I didn’t expect to be bizarrely disoriented by hearing her voice because in my heart, she was still three days old.
- I didn’t know that after the initial instinctive closeness, we’d realize how little we actually knew about each other. I didn’t know what a long road it would be for us to build a real relationship. And I didn’t know how wonderful it would feel when we got there.
- I didn’t know that she and I would eventually get each other in ways I don’t think anyone else ever could.
- I didn’t know that our future would be filled with very good days and very bad days and would be messy and real and hilarious and heartbreaking and frustrating and perfect and all the things I wanted it to be and much, much more than I had any right to hope for.
I knew two things in those first terrible days: I knew how unspeakably painful it all was. And I knew it was the right decision. I never expected to be rewarded with that daughter again in this life, but here she is. And she is magnificent.
Happy birthday to my first baby daughter, my very first love. Thank you for all the life you have brought into my life.
XOXO Baby Girl.
All my love, DonnaMom