The Best for Her Babies - Why One Birth Mother Doesn't Regret Her Decision
When Lindsey found out she was pregnant for a second time, she was resigned to parenting, telling herself, “Okay, I’m just going to have to do it.”
To say Lindsey’s situation wasn’t ideal would be an understatement. At the beginning of 2018, Lindsey was raising a newborn daughter as a single mom. She and her husband had recently separated and her first daughter, Trinity, had special needs that required her full attention. So, when she got pregnant again, she didn’t know what she was going to do.
It was a few months into her pregnancy that Lindsey’s stepfather suggested adoption. Originally, she balked at the idea.
“I said, ‘There’s no way I could do that,’” Lindsey remembers. “I know what it’s like to have a baby already, and that bond that you have during pregnancy — but especially once you deliver that baby and hold them for the first time — is unlike anything you’ll ever feel.”
But, she started weighing her financial situation, her practical situation as a single mom, and what she wanted for her children — both of them. And her mind began to change.
“I said to myself, ‘You know what? Adoption is going to be the best thing for Trinity, because she needs my full attention — and it’s going to be the best thing for Charlotte, too.’”
An Unexpected Development
At 25 years old, Lindsey had already seen her life go in unexpected directions. After graduating with her associate’s degree, she married and had her first daughter, Trinity. But parenting wasn’t what she expected.
“You have this idea of how it is to raise a baby, and you don’t really know what it’s like until you have one. It’s just a lot harder than what you think it’s going to be,” she says. “And then, on top of that, when you add a child that has some special needs, it’s even harder.”
A few months after Trinity’s birth, Lindsey and her husband separated. In the middle of her divorce proceedings, Lindsey became pregnant in a new relationship. She didn’t know the baby’s father well, but she knew he wasn’t someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. However, at the same time, she was terrified — here she was, a single mother who sometimes struggled to care for her first child. How could she care for another?
Abortion was never an option for Lindsey, but she knew how difficult parenting another child would be. She still had dreams of going back to school and advancing her career, and caring for another child would make that near impossible.
So, she thought back to when she was first pregnant with her eldest daughter.
“Even when Trinity was in my belly, I promised her, ‘I’m going to give you the absolute best life that you deserve,’” Lindsey says. “When I got pregnant with Charlotte, I promised her the exact same thing. Giving both of them the best life meant placing Charlotte for adoption and continuing to take care of Trinity and the health issues that she has.”
Lindsey is the first to admit her support system has never been ideal. While her husband promised to be there for her during the adoption process, the baby’s father quickly left the picture once she broke off their romantic relationship. She leaned on her best friend, who supported her through every step, but was otherwise nervous to explain her decision to her family. Not everyone who learned of her news reacted as she’d hoped.
“[Some people] were not nice to me; they told me I ‘gave my baby away,’ that I didn’t love her, that this was the easy way out. This was not the easy way out,” Lindsey says. “This was way harder than people would think, because you form that connection with that baby, you deliver them, and 48 hours later, essentially, they’re gone. Not gone forever, but it’s just different.
“I knew that what I was doing in placing in Charlotte for adoption was 100 percent out of love. I loved her so much that I had to be selfless.”
What Lindsey lacked in support from others she found in her specialists at American Adoptions. When she first contacted the agency, she received a call back in about an hour, connecting her with her adoption specialist, Shannon. Shannon explained the process ahead, never pressuring Lindsey into adoption, answering her questions and being there every step of the way.
“She was there for me when I didn’t have anybody, and she always knew just what to say,” Lindsey remembers. “I did have a lot of concerns and fears, and she knew how to talk me through them. She’s someone that’s — even now, three months after I’ve had my baby — probably going to check in on me from time to time. She was just amazing, and I’m so glad that she’s in my life.”
Meeting Charlotte’s Parents
Lindsey also found support in the couple she chose to adopt Charlotte — Amber and Eric. After watching their video profile, she just knew they were the ones. In their initial phone call, the two families “just clicked.”
But Lindsey remembers them going above and beyond to support her during her pregnancy, too. She would text Amber frequently, and Amber asked about her life, her career, and Trinity’s health.
“It was like I was talking to a family member, honestly,” Lindsey says.
Initially, Lindsey was wary of an open adoption relationship. Scared of the attachment she might feel to her daughter after placing her for adoption, she wondered whether a clean break and little contact would be easier. But, as she began getting closer with Amber and Eric, she realized this relationship was exactly what she was looking for.
“They told me, when I had Charlotte, that I’m family. That means a lot to me, because I know that they weren’t going to be given the baby and never talk to me again,” Lindsey says. “Even though Charlotte is now their daughter and they’re Mom and Dad, she is still my daughter, as well.”
Lindsey scheduled an induction to ensure that Amber and Eric would be there for their daughter’s birth. As a mother herself, Lindsey knew how life-changing this moment would be for the adoptive parents. Amber and Eric had gone through her pregnancy with her; she wanted them right by her side at its end.
“I wanted Amber to experience everything that I experienced and that she didn’t get to because she wasn’t able to conceive a child of her own,” Lindsey says. “I knew going into the labor and delivery that I wanted that for her, but I didn’t realize how hard that would be. You just don’t know until you experience that and you go through that.”
Looking to the Future
Three months after Charlotte’s birth, Lindsey feels happier than she ever could have thought. That’s not to say her postpartum experience was easy.
She struggled with feelings of emptiness, jealousy and anger — an “emotional rollercoaster.” But, she says she never once did she regret her adoption decision.
“It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, emotionally,” Lindsey says. “I lost my dad when I was 16, so I felt pain and I felt loss, but nothing like the pain that I felt when I kissed Charlotte — not for the last time but the last time for a while.”
Lindsey looks forward to the relationship she may have with Charlotte, as well as the relationship Charlotte will have with her sister. Even at her young age, Trinity knows she has a sister, despite the fact that Charlotte doesn’t live with them.
“It’s not something I want to hide from her,” Lindsey says. “There’s a way you tell a child about adoption and, as she gets older, I’ll tell her more and more — but it’s not something that I want to keep from her. It’s not a secret; it’s not anything I’m ashamed of.”
Today, Lindsey has adjusted back to her role as doting mother to Trinity — and her new role as loving birth mother to baby Charlotte, too. She knows both her daughters will be a part of her life forever.
“I want both of my daughters to be able to do anything they want to do, and know that they’re able to do that — to not have any fears,” Lindsey says. “I hope that Charlotte knows how much I love her, even though I placed her for adoption.”
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