Saying Goodbye. . .

Saying Goodbye

If you missed yesterday’s post, you would know that on the 29th of January I had to put down Alley Cat.  She has been sick for the past couple of years and if you want to know more about that you can click here to go and read that post.  I have to know for years that at some point I would have to say goodbye to her, and I knew it would be hard, but I was in no way prepared for how hard it was.

Because of how people acted towards her at the end of her life I refused to let anyone else come with me.  It was just her and I and now knowing how it all would turn out I think I made the right choice.  They had to give her 3 or 4 shots because she pulled out her first IV, so it didn’t work.  Let’s just say that there was nothing humane about the process.

It was supposed to take a few minutes to work, and it took over 30 minutes to finally take effect.  I sit here now thinking about it all and I can’t help but smile because her whole life she had to fight to stay alive and she gave them a damn good fight at the end.  I wish it would have worked right away, but it wouldn’t have been Alley Cat if she gave in easy.  I know she was sick, and it was the right thing to do, but I feel like I failed her because there is no way that it was painless, and it wasn’t short like they claimed it would be.  I am now left wondering how much she felt and what her last moments were truly like.

The real reason I wanted to talk about this today is that it brought back so many of the emotions I felt when I placed my daughter for adoption, and I wasn’t prepared for that.  I have always said the Alley was my “replacement” baby so instead of getting pregnant shortly after placing my daughter for adoption I went and adopted Alley.  I feel like I just placed my daughter a few days ago, and that is one thing I never wanted to feel again.  It is hard to be brought back right to place I was at 10+ years ago because at this point I would have thought that there was no way I could feel these emotions as strongly as I did then and yet here we are.

In the end, I hope that I don’t have to feel like this for too long because it truly sucks.  I know I will survive this because if I could get through it the first time than I know for sure, I will get through it this time as well.  I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other one and keep going.  I know that it will pass, and I will have good days and bad days but in time, the good days will start to outnumber the bad days.  I will never forget her or my daughter but as time passes you do think of them less and less.

Alley Cat-Last Pic

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Ways to Cope With Placing Your Child For Adoption

I placed my daughter for adoption in July of 2005.   I attend a support group for unwed mothers that the agency I was going to had.  Not everyone in the group was placing for adoption but I learned so much from the girls that have placed and listening to what worked and didn’t work for them.  I figured that I would share some of the things that worked for me and things that may work for other birth parents.

Before I get into them I was researching some things on adoption and I found this article.  While I reading through article I found this paragraph and I really liked what it said.  I am going to post it here because I think it speaks volumes about how birth parents are looked at by people who don’t understand are choices.  Here is the paragraph:

Most people at some time in their lives experience grief when they are separated from a loved one. However, in adoption, there are no standard grieving processes or approved rituals to help birthparents cope. When a well-liked co-worker accepts a new job in a new city, there is often a going away party. When a loved one dies, there may be a religious service, a wake, a funeral, and visits to the survivors’ home by friends and relatives. But birthparents’ grief is distinct from most other types of grief, because it is not always socially acceptable to talk about what happened.

Now on to the ways I coped and ways that others have coped with the greif.

  • Journal-I wrote out why I placed her in a journal that I then gave to the adoptive mom to give to my daughter when they thought she was ready to read it.
  • Talk to other birth moms-It helped me tons to be able to talk to other girls who had been though it and could tell me that it would get better with time.  I never thought the first year would end but each year it gets easier at least it has for me.
  • Take one day at at time-There are time where You are going to have to take it minute by minute but know that time will heal the pain.  At first the pain is so raw that it is all you can think about but it does get easier I promise.
  • Build a support system-I helps to have people who know the whole story and whither or not they agree with your choice they will still stand behind you and listen to you talk.  There will be times that just talking to someone and having them not try to answer but just listen helps so much.  It makes such a difference to just get the thoughts out of you head and have someone not feel the need to try and make it better but just listen.
  • Allow yourself to feel the emotions-I know in the beginning I wanted to run from the emotions I was feeling and not feel anything but by doing that you are going to be making it harder in the long run.  Allow yourself to feel and grieve.
  • Keep Scrapbooks and/or pictures around-If you were to walk into my room right now the only pictures I have up are the ones of her when she is older.  In the beginning looking at the pictures made me feel better but after the first year and even know it is so hard for me to look at the pictures of her while we were in the hospital because I want the baby.  I heard from one of the girls in the support group that her child became two different people in her head even though she knew they were the same.  She like me wanted the baby and not the child that she is now.
  • If you need help ask-Don’t be too afraid to talk to a counselor if you are having a hard time deal with all of the emotions.  I saw one quite awhile after I placed my daughter and that helped me so much.

When I think of more ways I am for sure going to post them and if you know of any other ways to cope please leave a comment so that I can add it to my next post.

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My Adoption Story Part One

I have had quite a few new followers in the last few months and I figured that I would re-post the story of me placing my daughter for adoption.  This post is just the story of all everything went and the following post will be about my feelings and thoughts on everything.

I was 19 and going to school up at Weber State University.  I was a sophomore and going to school for nursing.  I was living in the apartment style dorms and moved a few times because of one thing or another.  If you want to know more about that whole situation let me know and I will write a post about that.

Anyway, I found out that I was pregnant in the ER because I was so sick.  I already knew in my head that I was pregnant but didn’t want to admit it to myself or anyone else for that matter.   I remember when they told me that I was pregnant that I knew that she wasn’t meant for me.  My family was always for adoption, or at least the family that knew.

I moved out of the dorms and back home after the fall semester was over because of all the drama that had gone on that semester.  After I moved home I started working 2 jobs and taking one class online to keep me busy.  I decided that I was going to place through LDS Family Services because I am LDS and I wanted my child raised in a home like I was raised in.  They also had a support group for girls that were pregnant and unmarried that attend almost every week after I moved home.

In January I started looking through profiles of couples that were looking to adopt.  The first time I looked I picked out two couples and brought them home to see what my family thought.  This is where the story gets weird to say the least.  Come to find out my grandma had talk to my social worker and asked her to pull a certain profile so that I could look at them.  One of the profiles that I brought home was the family that she picked out.  I didn’t know that until she told me after I delivered and everything was done.  She knew that if she told me that I wouldn’t have picked them because that is how my brain works.  If someone tells me to do something I won’t do it even if I know it is right.

In the mean time they did a blood test at the doctors office and they told me that the baby could possible have either downs syndrome or what they call Trisomy 18.  Because of that blood test I had to go up to the University of Utah and have a longer ultra sound to rule out both of those.  After we got done with that the chances of it went done some and I decided that anymore testing could just wait until she was born.

After I picked them I made up a really cute basket of stuff for them and sent it to announce to them that I had picked them.  Well come to find out they had a gotten a baby in March and the agency didn’t know if they could place my daughter with them as well.  I told my social worker that I still really felt that is where she was supposed to go and that  she needed to try everything that she could to make it work.  After a few weeks of going back and forth and asking the other birth mom if it was okay with her they finally decided that she could be placed with them.

This was such a relief for me.  After we got that decision we started the process of meeting with them and getting to know them.  While this was all going on I was getting huge and super tired of being pregnant.  I was due on the 7th of July and my doctor scheduled me to be induced on the 7th if I didn’t go into labor on my own before then.

Well the morning I was supposed to be induced my water broke and lets just say I knew she would come on her own time and she waited until the last possible second to do it on her own.  I was in labor for about 12 hours or so.  When it was time to have her I had the adoptive mom in the room so that she could see her being born.  They ended up having to use the vacuum thing to get her out because she was stuck on my tail bone and I was too tired to keep pushing.

Two days after I had her I signed the papers and said my goodbyes to the baby that I named Gracelynn but they later changed to Brita.  There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t pop into my head and I just wonder is she happy??  Did I do the right thing????  Will she hate me one day because of the choice I made to place her for adoption????  I hope one day I will get to meet her and get to know her but I also know that it is totally up to her and I will have to live with her decision.

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Dear Melissa

As you all know one of my best friends passed away on Sunday.  I have tried many times to write this post and I have never been able to get words down on the screen.  I have really struggled with this because it was such a shock to me.  I was orginally going to write about what I love about her but I have decided that I am going to write a letter to her so that I can tell her everything that I never got a chance to do while she was alive.

* I am not going to get into what happened and other things that are going on as a result.   I know Melissa would want me to keep living and let go of anger and hate.

Dear Melissa,

I miss you more and more everyday.  I wish that you would have called me and let me know you were so down so that I could have helped you.  I am writing this because I want to tell you and all my readers what I learned from you in the short time I knew you.

  • I learned how to be a better writer.  You wrote posts that made people think and I hope that one day I can become as good as a writer as you were.  Every post you wrote for my blog and even your own blog made me think and contemplate things in my own life.  It takes an amazing writer to make people realize that they need to make changes in their lives just because of something you wrote.
  • I learned not to ever let people treat me bad.  I saw what happened to you and I refused to let people do that to me.  I show the toll it took on her and I don’t ever want people to control me.
  • I also learned that admitting you have a mental illness is nothing you need to hide.  It was great to see that I can blog about things and there are people out there that won’t judge me and will understand.   You are part of the reason I wrote my adoption story and started to post things that make me vulnerable.  I guess I hope one day I have people come to my blog like you had going to yours!
  • I learned to look for join in the little things in life and how to deal with what life throws at me.

I will never forget you and everything you taught me.  I promise that I will live the rest of my life for the both of us!  I know I will see you again and I can’t wait til that day comes.

I love you,

Margaret

Grief-Melissa

I was going through my archives looking for a post to post about Melissa and I found this post.  I am not sure where it came from or why I had it as a draft and never published it.  I actually think she posted it on her blog but I know that we all can learn something for her while we are mourning her passing.

Grief Has Taught Me A Few Things

Until I began experiencing grief as a result of dad’s death, I never realized anything could feel as emotionally and physically painful as depression. In fact, they have felt so similar that I became confused, and had a difficult time distinguishing the difference between the two. At one point, I even convinced myself that I was heading toward a depressive episode.
I went to my psychiatrist, thinking she was going to raise the dosage of my depression medication, because of how badly I was feeling. Instead, she told me what I was feeling was normal grief, and while it hurt just as badly as depression does, it was not the same thing. She told me to be patient. She told me the worst of what I was feeling would pass in a few weeks. She was right.
She did give me a word of warning, telling me that with my history of depression I would have a greater chance of my grief turning into a depressive episode. Her solution was not to raise my medication dosage, but instead watch me a little more closely than usual.
Now that the pain of dad’s loss is not so intense, I can see the wisdom in what she said. I can also identify some of the differences between grief and depression, as well as acknowledge that I have learned a few things from this experience.
Both grief and depression include symptoms of sadness, tearfulness, disturbances in sleep, decreased socialization, and changes in appetite. In most cases, that is where the similarities end. Usually, after the first two to three weeks of the grieving process the person is – in most cases – able to carry out most of the obligations and activities that come with daily living. However, a person with severe depression will lack the ability to function for many weeks, months, and in some cases years. In addition, early morning awakening is more common in depression.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed between depression and grief is what my mind has focused on. During my severe major depressive episode I spent a lot of time thinking about myself – in a self negating way. Some of my thoughts during that time were that I was “worth nothing”, “a burden”, and “unlovable”. Nothing could penetrate my thoughts of despair, and my inability to have hope. Eventually, the only option I felt was left to me was suicide. In my grieving process, I have been in emotional pain, but there have been no feelings of despair or hopelessness. Nor have I had any negative thoughts about myself or suicidal thoughts.
There is no question that feelings of loss and sadness are a significant part of grief, however, those feelings are distinctly different than feelings of loss and sadness in someone with depression. A person with depression will usually experience a constant and overwhelming feeling of sadness, while someone grieving typically experiences sadness in “waves”. Most of the time, it is in response to some reminder of their loved one.
For me, these painful memories of dad are paired with positive feelings and memories. For example, when I began the process of trying to organize things in the garage I became overwhelmed with grief. Dad’s death was the reason I was having to organize the garage, and get things ready to move. That hurt. I sat down and cried for an hour. When I was able to calm down enough to get back to work one of the first things I found was dad’s coonskin hat. So in the middle of that emotional pain I found something to laugh about. During my depressive episode finding that hat certainly would not have made me laugh, in reality it probably would have caused me to cry even more.
While there have been plenty of times when I have wanted to be alone in my grief, I have noticed that I have not gone to the extremes I did during my depressive episode to isolate myself. I have maintained social contacts, and even reached out to friends and family when I felt overwhelmed by my grief. I have allowed myself to be consoled, something that would have been impossible if what I had been feeling was depression symptoms.
I still miss dad, and I know I always will, but at least I have a professional sport team, my mother, real friends, and online friends to help me through my grieving process.
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More Advice From Melissa

Here is another post that Melissa wrote for my blog.  This was originally posted on 9/10/2010.   It was entitled Love Letters To Yourself.  There is much I can say about this post or about her today.  I am going to write a post about her and I would love to be able to include any memories that you have of her.  I love you Melissa!

Love Letters To Yourself

In a previous guest post I briefly mentioned writing love notes to yourself, something I like to do. I find that writing myself love notes is a wonderful way to keep myself motivated and feeling good about myself. Love notes do not have to be long, just a few short words on a post-it-note are just as valuable as writing a long letter to myself.

There are times though, when only a long letter will do. Not just a long letter, but something like how people used to write letters long ago. Letters containing pressed flowers, smelling of perfume or having lovely pictures. Even writing them with a fancy pen that is only reserved for my special letters. It is all about making myself feel good and taking care of myself. I like to save these letters. Pulling them out when I need to hear special, loving words.

I believe that no one knows better what I need to hear to build me up than myself. These letters do that when, for whatever reason, my family cannot fill that need for me.

You never want the letter writing to yourself to become a chore, something you feel like you have to do, so don’t do it very often. It is about loving yourself, showing yourself compassion, not one more thing in the long list of things that you must do. Don’t get bogged down in using proper grammar, or punctuation, or making it perfect. It is about love, not about perfection.

Make the time that you take to write these letters to yourself special. If you find that you cannot get time alone during the day to do this, try it after the rest of your family goes to bed. Play some soft music, light a few candles, take some time and clear your mind before you get started. Think about the wonderful things you want to say. If you cannot do all that, you can still make that time special by putting some pressed flowers in your letter, decorating the envelope, even putting inspirational pictures from magazines and photographs in it. You could crush some fragrant herbs and put them in, or include your own drawings (even if they are only stick figures). Write some quotes on little slips of paper and stick those in as well.

Start your letters off with terms of endearment, like “Dear” and then put as much love and compassion into the letter to yourself as you can. Write it to someone you love dearly. As difficult as it might be, do your best to not write it in the first person. An example of this is:

Dear Melissa,

You are a wonderful person. I love how strong and self confident you are. You are a beautiful, inside and out. I value you. I admire the compassion you showed to those hurting people today. (and just keep going)

In your letters to yourself you could write about your good qualities, something you did that you are proud of, and things that bring you love and joy. Write about a walk you took, or a special time you spent with another person. You could write about something loving another person did or said to you. Use your imagination, write only about the things that build you up.

You can write your letter all at one time, or take a whole month to write it, adding bits and pieces here and there. Do it the way that works best for you.

On your hard days, on those days when you are hurting and your self worth has taken a blow, pull out your love letters to remind yourself what a wonderful person you are. Read them all, or read only one, whatever it takes to heal your hurting heart.

If you decide to try writing a love letter to yourself, I would enjoy hearing about it. Only as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

Written by Melissa Mashburn of Sugar Filled EmotionsMyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected