Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Types of Birthmoms

I have been on the Internet reading for a few years now, and much about Birth moms and adoption and such, because that is why I really when on the Internet in the first place.
For one, to connect with Parker's adoptive family, and another, to find answers to the many many questions I had about my experience as a birth mom. Mostly 'Am I normal' kind of questions.
I have found that there are a popping up a few different kinds of birth moms.
Now, I know that everyone is unique and stuff and we shouldn't label people and stuff.
But I have been thinking about this and I have to get it down, as a reference to myself really.
I don't care what anyone else thinks, I want to put out there what kinds of trends I have noticed about online birth moms. Now, I know there are probably other kinds but these are the kinds that I see often.
These are in no order of importance at all, just as they occur to me.

1. The Teenager
This is the kind of birth mom that comes to mind when people think about adoption.
Also it is the one that most adoption agencies seem to market themselves to and who's image is promoted the most. The fact is that teenagers are not the most common type of birth mom, just the most thought of as such and judged. Within this type, I think of the fact that there are a few sub-categories
a)Party-girl - the girl that lives for the party and becoming pregnant is a huge wake-up call that dramatically affects this girls whole life. She is either someone who's family life is either quite solid, and therefore she feels compelled to rebel to be different. Or she is someone whom the family has 'spoiled' and been allowed too much freedom. When new of the pregnancy happens, often the family of this girl will not take any responsibility for their own liability in their influence of her life decisions. This complete rejection is often devastating for her as she is often counting on them to help her with the new baby. This type of teenage birth mom is often the one who most wants to 'keep' her baby, but is overwhelmed by the loss of family support and either concedes to her family's wishes to make and adoption plan or makes a decision with a bit of haste and high expectations toward the adoptive family 
b)Romantic - this girl is all about boys and gets taken advantage of, usually by boys/men that are kind of dangerous. She is a kind of very trusting girl who is very obviously looking for love in all the wrong places.
This is often, but not always, because her family is either distant or overly controlling of her and she wants a boyfriend to sort of  'rescue' her from her life. Being that her judgment gets clouded by her hope for relationship with boy/man. Another way that a birth mom is a romantic is the one that actually stays with the father of her child after the adoption has taken place. These relationships often do not last, but some do.
Her choice to place in adoption is often a last resort, as she really hopes there is some way to parent her child. Often, because of family pressure, and even from the father, a very emotional decision is made.
c)College bound - A girl who has very concrete plans for her life and often has had a long term relationship with the father of her child and has honestly used birth control (although this can be said for all). For this girl, becoming pregnant is a road block for her future. She understands that to have a future, she must make the difficult decision to place her child in adoption. Often (although this can be said for all) she is good at hiding her pregnancy and  often claims she feels that the baby 'is not really hers'. She is a very rational girl, and very good at hiding her emotions, even to herself. She is the one who is often surprised at the emotions she feels after she gives birth and even the months and years following.

2.The Old School
This is the forgotten middle-aged birth moms who had their children taken from them against their wills, who were sequestered in maternity homes and treated like they were second-class people. They were shamed into surrender, sworn to secrecy and threatened at every turn in their adoption journey. They are the ladies who were told to 'forget' and carry on like nothing had happened. They were all often teenagers, but many were also women of divorce and women who had extra-martial relationships.
Nowadays, these ladies are in very simple categories
a) Reunited - those who have searched and found their now-adult children, or those adult adoptees have found them. Their lives differ in the way that reunion has treated them. For many, at first reunion with their lost children is very joyful and exciting, but often that is just a faze and soon adoptees start to lessen the relationship with their newly found 'real' family. This often is very devastating to the birth mom who has longed to know her child for decades. For others, they find something they did not expect and cannot handle it. For those birth moms it is confusing for them to reconcile their current lives with the decision they made so many many years ago. They still think of their child as a baby and seeing them as something else, an adult, is sometimes too much for them to handle. Others yet, have fantastic relationships with their found children and are able to find the right way to make them a part of their lives.
b)Searching - These are birth moms of a 'certain age' who are just starting to have the courage to search. Often is it because their other children are getting married/moving out and on with their lives or because somehow the fact that she had a surrendered child is discovered by either her children or other family and so she is convinced by them to search for the child she surrendered. Or else it is because this birth mom was counting the years until her child would be 18 and therefore have a sort of freedom from the adoptive parents and also may be findable in registries and the like that often have this sort of 'release date' of 18 years of age for adoptees(or so I have heard)
c) Denial - This type of birth mom is probably not even on the Internet, but I am including them anyways because I feel that many women who surrendered in those days when girls were forced to 'give up' their babies live in a kind of denial. They really do their best to follow what they were told, to pretend that nothing happened, or even if it is acknowledged that something happened they never personally address the subject. Instead just living 'normally' as possible. These are the birth moms that will reject reunion and refuse to even consider themselves as 'birthmoms' preferring instead to view the surrender of their child as something that happened in the past that should not effect the present. These birth moms are often very controlling in their lives and seem very 'driven' to make the most of everything. While the truth is that they try to be as busy as possible to suffocate the feelings they have about the loss of their child.

3.The "Mature" Ones
This is the kind of birth mom that I am, sort of.
This is actually the most common type of birth mom currently deciding to place or most likely to place their child in adoption. This kind of birth mom is an experience 'adult' in the sense that they are not a teenager and they not middle-aged. Often they are between 20-35 years old and have either had gainful employment or college education, or both. Their child is their first and only child often they hope to have more, but face infertility themselves, just like their child's adoptive parents, or they do not wish to parent at all in their lives  They are often Christian, but not always. They are woman who are usually single-never married and not had any other children. Often they choose to place in adoption because of financial problems or relational problems. I should be putting these in sub-categories... oops....
a)Worker - She works, but does not have enough money to support a child and knows it. Often she has had a strong relationship with the father, but as time goes on there are too many problems and she sees adoption as a way to provide a future for her child that she knows she cannot do alone or to save her child from possible harm from the father with whom she is experiencing abuse and or relationship break down. Also, she is a woman who is very independent in her life and wishes to remain so, because parenting a child, for her, would mean that she would need to 'surrender' her independence in many. So for that reason she chooses to make an adoption plan.
b)'Other women' - she is the woman who has had a relationship with a man who is not her boyfriend/husband. Often it is with a man who is a different race than her own (ie: black man, Caucasian birth mom) and would be obvious to everyone. Not always though, sometimes it is only obvious to the husband/boyfriend that the child his not his because of time spent away from her or the lack of intimate times.
She is a woman who realizes her mistake, she is also the type of woman who probably was a 'romantic' teenager and possibly had a abortion and doesn't want to have another one. Or so just wants to make a 'fresh start' with her husband/boyfriend and believes that adoption will provide that for her. Often that is not the case, but sometimes, it does work.
c)Unexpected - All birth moms will tell you that they did not expect to get pregnant, but also, many adult woman who use birth control and live responsibly still become pregnant at a time when they cannot provide either financially, or emotionally, for their child. Also, this is the woman who doesn't realize she is pregnant until she is far along, or even, the day after she gives birth. This is supposed to be unusual, but it happens more often that you would be believe. This type of birth mom is usually a former 'party girl' who has grown up but still has occasional times of poor decision making, hence an unexpected event in the form of pregnancy.

4.The MOM
My final type of birth mom (that I can think of) is the woman who is already parenting either one or many children. Often she is a single parent, but many married or newly divorced woman are part of this type.
She is the kind of birth mom that usually seems to have the least amount of emotional trauma about placing her child in adoption because 'she is already a mom' and understands some the feelings of adoptive parents who want to parent a child. She is often late 30's to early 40's, sometimes even older and is just not physically, emotional, or financially (again this is true of all) able to parent another child.
Here are some of the sub-categories I can think of for her
a)Super-mom - a mom of more than one child (although a mom with one child can be this too) who has very busy children who really take up all of her time and energy. Whether it's providing for them or serving all the many different needs of multiple children. This birth mom sees her life as very full and happy already and not needing the complication of a new sibling. Many of these ladies feel compelled to make someone else a parent because they know by experience how rewarding it can be.
b)Unlucky - a mom who has a child or children with extensive special needs, or is special needs herself and knows she doesn't have the strength to raise a new child in the family. Often her family is either very supportive of her decision to place in adoption, but as often as that, her family is very unhappy about the decision. Usually because of the love that they do have for her children.
c)Young mom - A mom who had her child as a teenager and decided to raise her and now finds herself pregnant again and knows she can barely handle being a mom to her first child and so makes a decision to place for adoption. Often she is a woman who is at risk of living in poverty or actually living in poverty and still depending on family for help. She knows that she might have used up all her 'favors' with the raising of her first child and she also sees her short-comings as a mom and has learned that adoption is a better choice, for her.

I thought of a another type of birth mom today
 The Invisibles
These are birth moms of the children adopted internationally. The woman who may or may not have other children and live in a country who's social norms greatly hinder choices for women and also where extreme poverty robs them of the right to be mothers. They are the birth moms that the adoptive parents will probably never see or know or even know anything concrete about them as agencies often tell lies on there 'profiles' in order to make adoption more profitable for them. Categories of them include
a)the deceived - the ones who believe there is no other way but to surrender because of possibly a great debt to the hospital, or some other life or death struggle that resulted in a great monetary debt to a powerful place or people.
b)the shunned - these woman are the ones that have possibly been raped or become pregnant outside of marriage in a culture that does not accept the possibility of either situation.
c)coerced - woman who have been convinced that surrender is the best thing they can do for their child.
Often all these woman are illiterate and forced to sign papers they cannot understand, if they can understand they often have no real rights to contest them and very dramatic consequences for their loved ones if they don't sign. At least this is what I have read about. International adoption can be good, but it is by far the most messed up kind of adoption that does the most emotional damage to both the child and the birth mom.

So this is my description of the types of birth moms that I think are out there today.
It is not a complete list and some things can be true of all and parts of things can be true for some and sort of combined with other 'types'.
I just had to get this down and out of my head because I don't want the world to think there is really only one kind of birth mom, there is NOT.  

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