Would Have Been Me: A Foster Mother’s Thoughts to the Birth Mother

would have been

Since day one, many have asked about The New Chick’s birth mom. And for all seven of the months he’s lived in my house, I’ve put off writing about her. But there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

The Birth Mom

The first time I saw his birth mom, it was in the Chambers County Courthouse. I looked up from admiring the five-day-old baby who was snug against my chest, and saw her walking toward us. I knew her by the tears pouring unchecked down her face. She humbly asked me if she could hold him, and I began to wonder at the world I had just entered.

As I unswaddled all five precious pounds and placed him into the arms of his birth mom, I realized this entire endeavor was going to require more of my heart than I had expected. I felt all at once tremendous pain for her, and ferocious protection over him.

Those two emotions would only swell with the passing weeks. At times they were at war within my soul.

Someone commented on her right after he came to us. They posed a question, that was really more of a statement, along the lines of how could anyone do what she has done. The person went on to make her out as a total sinner, and me a total saint.

I just blinked and ashamedly said nothing. But inside was a raging inferno.

Ya’ll, there is nothing fundamentally different about she and me. The only thing that polarizes her life from mine is that I was given a gift when I was 6.

The gift of the Holy Spirit when I got adopted by The King.

Without that gift I would have been her. I would have:

  • chased this world and let it have its way with me
  • made stupid decisions; looking to all the wrong things to make me feel happy and all the wrong people to make me feel loved
  • given myself to a man way too early and gotten pregnant and had a baby

It would have been me.

  • watching the social workers walk out of the hospital with my firstborn son, still sore from giving birth to him
  • wondering where they took him
  • wondering who was holding him
  • wondering what was going to happen to him
  • facing every parent’s worst nightmare

It would have been me.

But Jesus.

I won’t lie. There’s another side to my feelings about her. It’s not jealousy. Or competition. It’s more like looking at her and wondering if I will be her in a few months.

I fear the pain she’s already lived through.

Handing my baby over to the social workers to be cared for by strangers. Wondering where he is and if he needs me. Missing his firsts and wanting him so desperately it hurts. Fearing that he wants Mama, but can’t have her.

I hate the notion that her success will mean my greatest loss. And just as much, I loathe the idea that if she fails, I somehow win.

Because if he goes back, I’ll curl up and die for a while. But if he stays, I’ll grieve with the knowledge that she’ll do the same. Either way, pain will be thick.

It’s true that she and I are very different. I was adopted and she wasn’t. She is his birth mom and brought him into the world when I didn’t. I know him in ways she doesn’t.

And every time I say “Come to Mama” I am reminded that there is another.

But in this we are the same.

She and I are both the other mother.

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Beth Lawrence
Beth Lawrence is a preacher's wife, mother of two and foster mother to one who loves helping other women feel less crazy while inspiring them to love Christ like crazy. You can catch up with her at her blog, Just Beth, and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.