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I am birthmother to a 41 year old son. Back when I was pregnant with him, mine was a shameful secret, because only “bad girls” got pregnant. I’m happy to say that the world has changed a lot in that respect. Girls who become pregnant today face a very different set of problems than I did. Many girls today even chose to keep and raise their children, an opportunity that was not imaginable 40 years ago.

Over the last 18 years I have gotten to know many birthmothers who relinquished their children in the sixties and seventies. A lot of them found the support and understanding of other birthmoms, and with time managed to reach a place of peace and acceptance with their past. For women like me, just being able to say “I’m a birthmother” and not feel shamed by that is huge.

Over the years, though, I have also come to know or know of many women who gave their children up in secret, and held cryingbmomonto that secret for their entire lives. Having run an online reunion registry for years, I have heard time after time about adoptees searching for and finding their birthmoms, who then refused to have contact because they had never told another living soul their deep, dark secret. These are the women that I refer to as being in the “birthmom closet”. They’re not happy in there, but they’re scared to death to come out.

These women had a chance to get to know the children that they gave up and grieved over for years, but they refused to do so out of fear. Their spouse doesn’t know their secret. Their other children don’t know their secret. In some cases, even their parents don’t know their secret.

I suggest that it’s time for these scared women to finally come out of the closet. Gone are the days when they had to hang their heads in shame. Work up the courage to open that door and step out, because the world is not nearly as painful for a birthmother who learns to speak openly about her experiences.

I facilitated a number of local support groups over the years, both for birthmothers and for adoptees and birthmothers together. Those meetings were always healing. There were plenty of tears, but the tears helped to wash away the shame. For many birthmoms, myself included, it was extremely healing to talk with adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthmoms. I personally received a tremendous amount of support from adoptees, who always encouraged me to search for the son that I hadn’t felt I had a right to search for.

Look through your local newspaper, and search online for support groups in your area. From the first minute that you connect with other birthmoms, you’ll be so happy that you did. These are women who truly understand your feelings, because they lived through the same experiences that you did.

Even if you find that you don’t have any local support groups, there are many support mailing lists online, through which you can receive daily emails that are nearly as healing and helpful as attending meetings. As you make and nurture the connections to other birthmoms and to adoptees, you’ll find that the support and understanding helps to move you along on your healing journey.

If you are a birthmother still holding onto your secret, and living with the pain every day, I strongly encourage you to take the steps necessary to get out of that stifling closet that you’ve been in for so long. There really can be healing for you, but it’s up to you to take that first step, and when you’ve done that, each step after will be a bit easier.

To all birthmothers, I wish you healing and peace of mind, and never forget that you’re not alone on this journey.

Visit my website: EFT4adoption.

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