The Unfolding of Birth Mother Grief

I am having a new experience with our son. He has taken to his Mom in a much deeper way lately. He seeks her out when she leaves the house, or even the room. He often wants her when he has a need or is in distress. And he calls her name a lot more than any of the rest of the coparents. Yesterday, when he and I were at home alone, he spent a few minutes calling for Mom as he went down for a nap and he didn’t want me to lay down with him, though I could sit near him.

On one hand it’s exactly as it’s supposed to be. Jen is his Mom. She is his primary caregiver. She is the one nurturing the Mommy relationship with him – she’s there for nearly every need and desire all day and night. This is the whole intent of the adoption, so Jen could be Mom and I could be free.

I work and then I spend a lot of time in my bedroom in self-care because it’s difficult with Fibromyalgia to work full time, nurture my primary relationship with Eros, and nurture my creative projects (so that someday I can work on my own terms). I am doing everything I can to manage my condition and decrease pain, but it’s always a process. Since I started working I have very few spoons left for our son and I knew this is how it would be. This is one of the main reasons I gave him for adoption to someone who was both willing and able to be present to his needs in a way that I am physically incapable of being.

On the other hand it’s really hard not to take his refusal of my care personally. It’s not an overwhelming feeling, in fact it sneaked up on me a bit at a time over the last few weeks, but I have this sense – whether true or not – that he is rejecting me because I am not there for him enough. I struggle with feeling that I’ve hurt him, and myself, by allowing this distance between us.

It’s been several months since I’ve felt birth mother grief. This is a new petal unfolding in this complex flower of experience. We’ve reached the place where he is choosing Mom over all others, which is appropriate and normal…and yet it aches. It’s a dull ache. Not anything like the grief I felt the night I left him the first time (a story I will tell someday soon). Nor is it as sharp as the grief that came when I first moved in with him and his adoptive parents and adjusted to being Amma.

I imagine this is what it will be like from now on. Long stretches of goodness and joy, with small bouts of heartache for what I’ve lost in giving up my right and privilege to be this amazing human’s Mom.

He is mine and not mine. He is Ours.

There is so much magic, delight and meaning in this unique family we’ve made. The goodness far outweighs the heartache. We have our tiny conflicts around sharing a house, but there is only understanding and kindness when it comes to sharing our son. Even when I ache I know I am held in love and generosity by his co-parents.

And I get to experience the incredible every day moments of our son learning to be a human. He’s starting two and three word sentences now, so proud when he puts words together in a meaningful way. He’s started singing songs on his own – with just enough intonation and tune for us to know if he’s trying to sing the ABCs or Old MacDonald. He’s a little bundle of dramatic highs and lows, in some ways very much like his older siblings and in other ways completely his own person. As it should be.

Everything is as it should be.
I know this because I am the happiest I have ever been.
Even when it hurts.

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