When the leaves turn and the pumpkins adorn porches, we think about things like costumes and candy. Kids alight with creativity over what costume to wear this year and who they will knock on doors with. Some of us get to enjoy the smell of fallen leaves and crisp air, while the others deal with the juxtaposition of scarecrows next to palm trees. No matter how you enjoy Fall, it bears a thought as to how masks can be more than what kids put on when they pretend to be their favorite hero or movie character. Even adults wear masks, just the emotional kind. What are the masks a Birth Mother might wear to try and cope with how society views her?
True authenticity means we live in absolute truth. While this is best, who lives that way, really? Everyone around us has an emotional mask of some kind in certain situations. Some masks are small and some quite elaborate. It just depends on what is needed and how much emotional and spiritual healing has been done by the mask wearer. Birth Mothers are no different. Adoption brings trauma whether we like to think about that fact or not. And with trauma comes all kinds of masks.
Masks A Birth Mother Might Wear May Look Plain To You
No one wants to feel different or othered. Just the term Birth Mother lets everyone know there is an * next to my title. Not just mother, but Birth Mother. Asterisk lets everyone know that there is something ‘wrong’ or not quite right. And if I am a Birth Mother, then that means I don’t have my child any more. That leaves the world at large to speculate as to the reasons I’ve made such a choice. Who gives away their baby, right?
In an effort to assimilate, I tend to not share that I have other children outside of the one that I am parenting.
“Is Katie an only child?”
“How many children do you have?”
“Don’t you want more children?”
These are the questions that Birth Mothers deal with every day. When I am asked them, I have to make a choice, the truth or a mask. The questions are innocent and my responses are lies, but to the hearer, it is just a plain response. In these cases, my Birth Mother mask is not so flashy. Just a little hidden truth here or there, to keep others at bay. It is not my authentic self, but in certain situations, it works just fine for me.
Other Birth Mother Masks Are Much More Complicated
Some Birth Mothers, particularly from closed adoptions, have much more to their masks than those in open adoption. Closed adoptions tend to breed secrets. And secrets don’t produce anything good, despite their promises.
For Birth Mothers in closed adoptions, there can be a lot of people in their lives who do not know they are Birth Mothers. Even spouses and children may not know about mom’s Birth Motherhood. The masks these Birth Mothers wear in these cases has to cover a lot without anyone being able to see what is behind them. These masks tend to cover:
- Endless Wondering
- Fear of being found out
Oh, the fear that the mask will slip! Birth Mothers in these situations tend to go to a lot of lengths to keep their masks firmly in place. But there is no such thing as going on with your life after placement and “forget about it.” No, this mask promises a lie beyond understanding. No mother forgets her child, asterisk or not. This mask causes pain to the wearer. More pain than she thought she signed up for.
The Masks Are Best Left Behind With The Lies That Come With Them
If the masks a Birth Mother might wear are not good for her in the long run, then how do we help her take them off? How do we help women who are planning to make adoption plans for their children not put them on in the first place?
The Bible tells us that keeping things in the darkness is not good for us in the long run, as it points out in 1 Peter 2:9. Letting secrets go is freedom and peace, like it says in Ephesians 5:8.
What can we do to help her feel safe enough to take her masks off? Embrace all of the realities of adoption, not just the parts that feel good. A family adopting a beautiful baby is a wonderful thing to behold. But don’t forget there is a grieving mother who needs your compassion, not your preconceived notions. She needs to be seen, not talked about. She needs the comfort and care of others who claim to want her to choose life.
Birth Mother, you can be free in your decision. That may mean you need to hold your head up in the face of others who do not understand. But your face needs to be seen, and esteemed for the mother that you are. Every mother has to make hard decisions for their children, you just made yours at the beginning. And that shouldn’t be something to hide, but something to learn how to live with in peace.
Where Can A Birth Mother Or Expectant Mother Go For Resources?
Reach out to us today if you have made an adoption plan or are planning on going through with one. Resources are available for the Birth Mother and the Expectant Mother who is looking to make an adoption plan.