By: Lindsey Mathis
In life, its easy to place blame, and make excuses for the choices we make and the situations we end up in. But sometimes, you just have to take responsiblilty and own it. As hard and scary as it may be.
I was lonely, I had just moved to Salt Lake City and wasn’t necessarily thrilled about where I was living. I met, and started dating the first guy that paid attention to me. I rushed into a relationship with someone I barely knew, but hey he made me feel good about myself. Who cared that he didn’t have a car and I had to drive around everywhere we went? No big deal, right? That’s what I kept telling myself. Unfortunatley, that wasn’t the only red flag I ignored. Everyone loved him, something had to be wrong with me if I didn’t feel the same way. So, I kept dating him, and convincing myself that I was in the healthiest relationship that I’d ever been in.
Around 1:30 maybe 2:00 am (its all kind of a blur) on March 23, 2013 my life drastically changed. I found myself sitting in my bathroom, staring at a positive pregnancy test. I felt like my world had crumbled beneath me. As Juno would say “That little pink plus sign is so unholy.” Only in my case it was a blue plus sign, and yes it was so unholy. I was terrified, and had no idea what to do or who to tell. Never in my life had I imagined this happening to me. I was so afraid to tell my parents and see their disappointment. I literally have never felt more alone and scared in my life. All I can remember is calapsing to the ground in tears and praying that it wasn’t real. As soon as I gained some control of my emotions I sent a text to my cousins wife. I knew of all people, I could trust them and they wouldn’t judge me in anyway. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as with any religion there can be some judgmental people. I was so ashamed, I didn’t want anyone to know, I didn’t want to face judgment. But, this was something that I wasn’t going to be able to hide.
After a sleepless night, I went to my cousins house to seek comfort and advice. My cousin then took me to the dollar store to get 5 more pregnancy tests. All were positive. After spending the entire day with them, I went home and prayed for comfort. I just needed to know that I would be ok, that somehow I would get through this. I still had no idea what I was going to do. It was a couple weeks before I told anyone else in my family. I called my brother who I have always been really close with and told him. Unfortunately, the day I told him just happened to be on April Fools (totally unintentional). He didn’t believe me, and told me to call him in the morning and if I still insisted that I was pregnant then he would believe me. Sure enough, I was still pregnant. He and his wife suggested that I tell my older brother who lived close by so that I had some support here. It was another week or two before I told him, and then another week before I told my parents. During all of this, my first thought was that I would keep the baby and try to make things with the father work. At times I was really excited, and we even talked about names. But, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I was unhappy, and the more I was with him the more anxiety I felt, on top of the anxiety from being single and pregnant. I took some time away from him, and knew what I had to do. On a Sunday afternoon in Mid April, I broke up with my boyfriend and immediately went with my older brother to tell my parents. Probably the second most terrifying thing, next to finding out I was pregnant.
They were shocked, as far as they knew I was this good little girl that never did anything wrong (so I would like to think). I knew they were a little disappointed. I mean, what 26 year old is dumb enough to get pregnant? Oh right, I guess that would be me. But, they were a lot more supportive than I ever imagined they would be. They wanted me to move home with them, so the first weekend in May I did just that.
At about 10-12 weeks I called LDS Family Services and set up an appointment to meet with a case worker. I was scared, I didn’t know what I was going to do and I definitely didn’t want to be pressured into doing something I didn’t want to do. But, I went to become educated, and learn of all my options. I took my mom with me, and I was somewhat surprised that they didn’t push adoption down my throat. She kind of got to know me and my situation and then told me that I had 4 options. 1. Marriage (no thank you!) 2. Abortion (never even and option for me) 3. Single parenting 4. Adoption. So, basically my only options were single parenting and adoption. Then she told me of the support groups and classes they had. I met with her every other week and we discussed my options further. I wasn’t really leaning in any certain direction, at least I didn’t think I was. I knew it would be hard, but I could raise this baby and love he/she more than anything. But, I wasn’t sure if what I was making was going to be enough to provide for both of us.
I had my second doctors appointment, and heard the heart beat for the first time. It all became so real. There was definitely a baby growing inside of me, and my love for that baby grew even more. How could I possibly make this decision now? I was meant to be a mom, it is my calling in life. There is nothing that I have wanted more than to be a mom and have a family. I was so confused!
I continued to meet with my case worker. We went over pros and cons of both decisions, and she finally convinced me to go to the support group that they had every week. I really didn’t want to go. The first group I went to I felt so out of place. There was a panel of birth moms who were telling their stories, but more than half the audience was hopeful adoptive couples. I didn’t know what I was doing there. But, it ended up being very emotional listening to their stories and feeling of the love they had for their children. It had changed each and every one of them in so many ways. As I listened to them, I thought in my mind “Is this what I want for my child? This baby deserves so much more than I can give to him/her. I want to be someone he/she can be proud of, am I really in a good place to take care of this baby?” My heart ached. I left quickly after it ended and drove home in tears. I felt like I knew what I was supposed to do. I thought that was my answer, but I didn’t want it to be. So, I went home and cried to my mom. Then I went into my room and knelt down and prayed for confirmation and peace. I really just wanted my answer right then, I wanted to know FOR SURE! The next day, I felt more at peace but still wasn’t sure if I had gotten my answer. I was expecting something more, but then my sister told me that sometimes that’s all it is, is a feeling of peace. If I had made the wrong decision then God would let me know and he wouldn’t let me continue on in the wrong decision.
It was the first part of June, and I met with my case worker and told her I had made the decision to place my baby for adoption. I never thought this would be my life. The next step was to start looking for a couple to place my baby with. I had to think about the things I wanted for my baby, and what I wanted in the soon to be parents of my child. I had looked through what felt like hundreds of profiles, but two really stuck out to me, and they ended up being the only two couples that I emailed. In July I had my 20 week ultrasound, and I told one couple that I would let them know what I was having. I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was. It was exciting to see my baby, but again it was so real! As soon as she told me I was having a boy, I couldn’t help but cry! What was I doing? I didn’t know how I was going to do this. I still had no doubt that the decision I made was the right choice, but it became that much harder for me. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but no one warned me how hard it would be either.
I ended up meeting a couple in August. I was so nervous! It’s like an awful online dating experience. What if they didn’t like me? What if they’re not as great as they seemed? What if conversation doesn’t flow? I took my mom and sister-in-law with me to meet them. It was so much better than I expected. It was so comfortable, and they were so nice. Everytime I thought of where my baby would end up I could only picture him with them. I knew pretty quickly they were who I wanted to place my baby boy with. They lived further away, so I couldn’t give them a cute gift to announce to them that I chose them, so I just created a little e-card and had my dad write them a poem. It was a bittersweet day, it was almost as if it had become set in stone. They were so excited, and I couldn’t help but be happy that I was giving such an amazing gift to people that I had grown to love.
I also had to tell the birth father. He told me in the beginning that he would support me in any decision I made. But, when I told him what I had decided, that didn’t end up being the case. I was devistated, and angry. My case worker and her supervisor sat me down and talked to me about my options and they asked me to talk to him and see if I could get him to talk to them. They wanted him to know of his options, give him the same education that I had, and we also wanted him to know he could be a part of it. I talked to him and he said he would call them, but he never did. A 30 day letter was sent stating he had 30 days to file paperwork, and if he didn’t then his rights would be terminated. He never did anything. It was a huge relief for me, I didn’t want him to interfere with my plans and I knew I had done all I could to try and involve him in the process.
My pregnancy was quickly coming to an end, I had my hospital plan in place, everything was taken care of. All that was left was to have the baby and sign paperwork. My due date was on my birthday, November 24th. I had bonded and grown to love my baby more than I ever imagined. On November 21st I had my 39 week appointment, and I was still only dilated 2cm. I was a little bummed because I was so ready to meet him, and be done. I had had enough of the discomfort, and sleepless nights.
My due date/birthday came and went. It was my first day officially off of work, and I was doing everything I could think of to induce labor. I cleaned the house, and went on a walk. I was home alone and was getting ready to head to the store when my phone fell out of my jacket pocket and straight into the toilet. I panicked, and opened it up to let it dry out. I decided to leave it and just go to the store and get the things I needed. When I came back, I was locked out of my house. No one home, no cell phone, no garage door opener. Major anxiety was starting to set in. Then, I looked at the window. Seriously? Yep. I pushed the window open and 9 months pregnant I crawled through the window. I went and bought a new phone that night in case I ended up being home alone again. But early the next morning, I woke up not feeling well, and shortly after I started having contractions. We think crawling through the window is what started labor. :)
At 3:16 pm on November 26, 2013 my beautiful Little Buddy was born. I started sobbing as soon as I heard his cry, and when they cleaned him up and handed him to me I cried some more. I can’t explain the feeling of great joy and incredible love I had for that sweet boy. I fell in love immediately, he was absolutley perfect.
They moved me to another room, and it took me some time to process what had just happened. Did I really just have a baby? Coud this be real? When I got settled in the new room they gave me some skin on skin time with him and he just clung to me. The pediatrician came in to check him and he didn’t want to be moved. We were both so comfortable, it felt so natural to have him snuggled up to me.
It still hadn’t really hit me, I was still trying to process everything. I was so exhausted but I didn’t get much sleep that night. I wanted to sleep, but I also wanted to be up with him. I felt like I needed to check on him with ever noise he made, but he wasn’t ever upset. He was just making noises most of the time perfectly content, unless he was hungry.
The next day, my whole family came to be with me while I signed papers. My mind was finally starting to process. Yes, I just gave birth to the sweetest baby ever, and I only get these couple of days with him as MY baby boy, My Buddy! My dad and brothers gave me a blessing right before I signed. As my case worker was reading the papers to me and I was acknowledging that I understood, that’s when I really started to feel the pain and the ache in my heart. I’m signing away my parental rights to my boy, my perfect baby boy! The tears started to flow, and I could barely see as I was signing each line. When I was done, my family surrounded me, held my hand, hugged and comforted me as I cried. My family and I spent time with him that day, while the couple was doing all of their paperwork. He was mine until the next day at discharge and placement. This was MY time and I wanted to soak in as much time with him as I could.
I spent most of that night awake with him, holding him and loving him. My family came back that morning (Thanksgiving) to be with me and to say goodbye. I sent everyone out of the room, to give me time to be alone with him. I told him how much I loved him, and that I was doing this for him, to give him a better chance at life, to have both a mom and dad who love him. All I want is for him to be happy and loved. I held him close, and never wanted to let him go. I fell completely in love, head over heels for My Buddy. I have never felt so much love for anyone in my entire life.
My family and the adoptive couple came back in. They were just finishing up our discharge, and going over everything with the couple and then I knew it was time. The moment I was dreading the most. I let my family say their goodbyes, I kissed my baby boy one last time and handed him to his new mom. We watched as they put him in his car seat, and walked out the door. My heart was completely broken. As soon as the door closed I broke down, my mom and sister were basically holding me up. He was gone, my Little Buddy was gone and I wanted him back. My dad and brothers hugged me, and we got ready to leave. At this point, nothing could stop the tears. I missed him already. I was certain I would never get over the pain that I felt.
He just turned 4 months old. I have what I would call a semi open adoption, they send pics and updates once a month and I really hope that I will get to visit soon. It is getting a little easier with time, but each day is different and it is still so fresh. I miss him more than anything, but its good to know that he is so happy. I can’t help but feel blessed that he is with a good family who I trust. He is so loved by both families and as hard as it is at times, I know I did what was best for him. I have no doubt about that. That sweet baby boy saved my life, he changed my world. He is my little Angel and my little Buddy. I will forever be grateful for him, and I will never forget those precious couple of days that I got to be his mom. I have grown so much through my experience and I hope he’ll always be proud to call me his birth mamma. You are soo loved sweet boy, forever and always!
My journey is far from over, but I hope through sharing my story that I can bless the lives of others, and be a help to those in need.