There is nothing quite like the excitement and anxiousness of taking a new baby from the hospital. Emotions wash over you as you are wheeled out those doors with your bundle of joy in your arms. Congratulations echo through the halls. Pictures are snapped and car seats are checked twice… or maybe more.
Off you go into a new adventure.
It wasn’t much different for me this last month. At the same time, it wasn’t the same at all.
The excitement was met with empathy and sorrow. Emotions I’ve never known met the ones I had with every other child I’d brought home. The congratulations still echoed but what was I supposed to say this time? You see, this child was not my own. As I was wheeled out with the most beautiful baby boy, his mama was driving home, no baby in the car.
With every bit of celebration, we had over this new little life, there was death to a dream his mama had. Mine was not the voice who sang to him as he developed. My heartbeat was not the one he knew. Everything about our bond was just beginning for him. There was trauma from the moment he was born.
A “joyful burden”, this has become a term that we have clung to.
A dear friend shared this as I tried to describe what I was feeling coming home with this little guy. He isn’t the first baby we have had that was born to another mommy. Foster care has been part of us for years now, this was, however, the first time we met our new love in their hospital bed.
As a mom who has carried and delivered babies, I know the anticipation and joy of arriving at the hospital. As a mom who has miscarried, I know the pain of leaving a hospital empty handed. Although I do not know the sorrow of having to hand my baby over, I have heard it in the voice of a broken mother.
As a whole, society is quick to judge the decisions made by a birth mother who has lost the right to raise her child. I have often imagined walking in their shoes to understand the choices that are made and to parent alongside these women judgment free. This time though, I walked in the shoes that she didn’t get to. It has really got me thinking.
How are we coming alongside moms in dark places? Moms who are trying their best to stay sober with no support. Ones who are trying to flee a dangerous household. Girls who have aged out of the system and know no different. Are we there to lift each other up?
Many of us do not know women who are in that place…or maybe we do. Maybe we can start small. I challenge every mom reading this to just check in with the women in their community. Ask the struggling mama at the store if you can offer a helping hand. Befriend the mom at the park who looks like she is doing it alone. Tell the pregnant teen on your walk that she can do this and give her a word of an encouragement that she has never had before.