The Other Mother

Originally posted on March 5, 2017:

I’ve been trying to write this post all week.  My brain has worked through so many thoughts but my heart had a hard time putting any of it to print.  My girl turned 6 on Wednesday.  I can’t believe how much she’s grown, both physically (I’m buying 3T for warm weather this year!!) and developmentally.  She’s such an amazing little girl and continues to touch peoples lives, for the better, on a regular basis. As I am posting all about her birthday and some updates from the past year, I LOVE looking back at where she was and how much she’s changed!

Each year that we celebrate a birthday, I’m also reminded about the fact that there was someone else present on this day.  Six years ago, a different woman welcomed this amazing girl into the world. This year, that fact is hitting me a little differently.  Maybe it’s because this year, I think Josie is more aware of the birthday celebrations.  She got excited to celebrate her day at school and at her Purple Pasta Party with family.  She helped decorate and was thrilled when many of her little friends showed up at her house for a Mickey Mouse Super Adventure party!  She is into this whole birthday thing now. And it’s great!

Part of me can’t help feel a sad at times, watching Josie’s excitement for the big 6.  I have to wonder if somewhere there is a woman whose heart is aching.  Is she missing what she doesn’t have? Does she wish she’d made different decisions? Does this date cause sadness and regret?  I don’t know anything about her or what her situation was.  I don’t know if she and her husband were overjoyed at being pregnant and were happily waiting the arrival of their newborn.  I don’t know if Josie’s diagnosis was a surprise which made them choose not to parent her.  I don’t know if maybe she was young and having a child was just not what she could handle and if that’s the case, I thank her for at least giving Josie life.  Was she single and homeless? Was she a prostitute living on the streets who only didn’t have an abortion because she couldn’t afford it, or didn’t know where to get it done?  Did she toss Josie away without a second thought, regardless of Josie’s diagnosis?  I just don’t know. And I never will. 
I can’t imagine such an event, as bringing a child into the world, would be something that you don’t think of from time to time, regardless of the outcome.  And especially on the day that you did give life to another human being.  My guess would be the later of those options in the previous paragraph, based on the tiny bit of history I’m aware of.  However, I keep coming back to the thought that this other mother, the mother that gave birth to such an incredible little girl, must somewhere deep inside, wonder.  And while often times I can get angry at that woman’s decisions and the choices she made, I’m a little more sad this year.
My daughter is amazing.  She brings such joy to everyone.  She spreads happiness just about everywhere we go.  She’s sassy and has such a strong will.  She is independent and growing so much as result.  She is so caring.  She’s a great friend.  She is so expressive.  She dances whenever she’s happy.  She has no concern with what the world thinks of her, she is just happy to be who she is. She has a fantastic budding imagination (she’s been a “cat” quite a few times this week, crawling up, meowing, requesting pets. I love it!). She’s just such a blessing and I can not imagine life without her.
So when I think about this day 6 years ago, I’m very grateful that the other mother chose to give Josie life.  But I’m also so frustrated at how Josie’s life started out.  I’m frustrated at a society that has such a negative reaction to a child like Josie.  I’m angry at the choices that were made and so curious to know how those options were presented.  And I’m sad.  I’m sad to think that somewhere on March 1, some woman had to wonder what the child she gave birth to years ago was doing now.  I just can’t believe that there isn’t some thought about her on this day.  Does she miss that child?  Or at least the thought of what the baby became?  Has she ever tried to find out what happened to her?  Has she ever looked for her?  Does she struggle to maintain her emotions on this day every year?  Does she wish she’d had know about other options? Does her decision haunt her?
I think part of my sadness comes from the thought of not having Josie in MY life.  I could NOT imagine my life without Josie.  I honestly don’t know how I would wake up the next day.  I guess, it’s with those feelings and thoughts, that I imagine what a birth mother must feel on a birthday.  And that’s hard.

I’m so happy, that regardless of all of the unknowns, I get to be Josie’s Mama.  I get to experience her crooked smile first thing in the morning.  I get the early day snuggles.  She comes to me first when she needs comfort, when she’s mad, when she’s super excited.  She cheers when I pick her up after school.  512,000 times a day she calls out “Mama, Mama, Mama” only to offer a squinty smile, giant hug or a “hi” when I respond.  I get to watch her struggle but refuse help only to succeed on her own in the end.  I get to hold her when she’s scared or hurt.  I get to support her when she does fail.  I get to make the decisions.  Sometimes easy, sometimes hard, sometimes the right ones and sometimes not.  But at the end of the day, I get to be the Mama.
So thank-you, other mother.  For the gift of such an amazing little 6 year old girl. Please know she is loved. She is happy. She is cared for. She is a great friend. She is a cherished daughter. I love her with all of my being.  She is my everything and I couldn’t imagine life without her.  I also am very aware that I wouldn’t have her, if it weren’t for you. So, thank-you for the best birthday gift ever:

This Girl.

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