64: The Gift of Motherhood

64: The Gift of Motherhood

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

The Gift of Motherhood

One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go.

~Sheila Murray Bethel

Tears streamed down my face as I sat holding the greatest gift anyone had ever given me. However, my joy at becoming a mother was mixed with sorrow for the one who gave her to me.

A young woman made the final, heart-wrenching decision to place her baby girl up for adoption. Then she chose my husband and me to be her parents.

For three days, we spent time in the hospital with our daughter’s birth family. Each of us took turns cuddling, feeding, and changing our baby girl. We shared meals, conversations, lots of tears, and even laughter. I never imagined my quest to become a mother through adoption would be bittersweet.

I remember that final day in the hospital. We met the social worker in the lobby. She seemed excited for us. And while I was excited for myself, my thoughts were also on the pain that another family was experiencing.

We went up to the hospital room with a little gift for the birth mom. Sobbing, I handed it to her, saying something about how it paled in comparison to the gift she was giving us.

I handed her a necklace, and she handed me her child. It still gets me every time I think about it that way. What love she must have had for her little girl. What amazing strength and courage she had to follow through with her decision.

It’s been ten years, and those three days are still etched in my mind. I remember how we all walked out of the hospital together—my daughter’s birth mother, her parents, our daughter, and us. We loaded our baby girl into the car and drove away.

We cried with joy over finally becoming parents, but were also thinking of the pain of our daughter’s birth mother. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how she was able to go through with it. All I know is that I’m so thankful she did.

There are many mothers in my life, including my own, who have taught me so much. But there is a special place in my heart for the woman whose decision made me a mother.

She lovingly cared for our daughter for nine months as she carried her in her womb. She took care of her body, ate healthy, got proper medical care, and took needed supplements. She spent time talking with counselors about what would be best for her daughter’s future. She bonded with her baby before turning her over to us.

Ultimately, in love, she chose what she felt would be the best decision for her daughter. The courage and selflessness it took for her to go through with her decision is greater than any I’ve ever seen. When I think of her, I am challenged to be a better mother.

~Michelle Armbrust

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