GUEST BLOG: Grit & Grace

This blog was so beautifully written by a birth mother, Erika, who is from the Bay Area in California.

IMG_6558.JPG

Let me begin by saying one thing- although I may speak a lot about grace, I don't always possess it, which is unfortunate. I always have grit, though- and for that I am very fortunate. Nothing that I believe to be true today was anything that I believed before becoming a birth mother. The irony is that I was reborn the day I gave birth to my baby. May 24th, 2017 will forever stand as the day we both began anew.

I've learned so much since becoming a birth mother, more so than all the years of my life before. I have recently fooled myself with my arrogance and was convinced that I was done learning- I already knew it all! But then God heard me & humbled me (as He so often does), and reminded me I really don't know much at all. Humility is key to strengthening your grace- learning to admit your mistakes, or when you speak too quickly, or when you forget who you are. & the grit part is all about how you recover. The way you reteach and retrain yourself to move in your body after you've been shaken.

The day before I turned 25, I found out I was pregnant. I was in the fourth year of a relationship that was centered around toxicity, chaos, and co-dependency. At the time I thought our relationship just needed a lot of work and more of God, but in hindsight, it was an abusive relationship. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was going through a refusal-of-medication stage when he decided we should have a baby. My response was to wait- "Let's get our house in order first." were my exact words. Marriage has never been a priority of mine, but I wanted to ground ourselves more. After only a couple of days with this baby idea in the air, he decided for the both of us that we were in fact trying to get pregnant. Five short weeks later, on September 24th, I tried to drink a glass of wine only to become so ill that I immediately knew what time it was. Baby time. 

I've never experienced the complexities of joy while simultaneously feeling immense guilt and fear. I trusted the man I was with to take care of us, but I was worried for everyone else. His instinct to provide for his family was too primal; he was dangerous. Without stressing the details today, it quickly became clear that I had to protect my offspring at all costs, too, even if the threat was my son's own father. I am not the most maternal person but it was my maternal instinct to protect that led me to adoption and taught me all that I know about grit. 

IMG_6555.JPG

I used to think I knew what love felt like, and then I found out I was having a baby. It's one of the most repeated cliches while probably the most honest. There's an ache I experience in my saddest moments that moves my hand above my stomach automatically, before I can even realize. But the love I am so blessed to experience dulls that ache, which also happens automatically. How? Because I have grace - and that gave me the will to give my son life and the strength to do what I had to do, so that he could live. So that means that even in my darkest times of grief, I can still understand that God is beside me, walking with me as I honor my choices. The two absolute constants I will ever know - this love that moved mountains and God's grace that lit a fire within my heart. Everything else is secondary.