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Mama Story: Pilita

Mamas, this story brought tears to my eyes. Pilita's story is one that shows what true motherly love is. Pilita is an adoptive mother. She isn't her son's biological mother, but she IS her son's mother. She even breastfed him with a supplemental nursing system (think tubing attached at the breasts) to help him bond.

I made her a necklace from our shop that says, "a mother's love" on it because a mother's love transcends beyond biology: As Pilita writes, she "didn't give birth to her child... but she did labour for him" during the adoption process. Here she is as she meets her newborn baby for the first time... happy tears and all!


Read below as she shares her story with us!

Pilita writes,

My son was placed skin to skin with me the moment he was delivered via C-section and we have never been apart since. I have been his hopelessly in love Mommy since his first breathe, have cared for his every need, stressed over the decision of "circumcision or no circumcision", breastfed him and cried over his umbilical cord nub falling off. He is my life, my heart, my Everything.....yet, weekly, I hear comments and questions that label me as less than. You see, my son is adopted. I'm sharing this so that other adoptive Mamas know they are not alone. I SEE you. My heart aches with yours and my heart overflows with joy to hear of the love you have for your precious Littles. No, I did not give birth to my child...but let me be the first to share with all of you, that I LABOURED for him! It was long and difficult, painful and filled with an ocean of tears. For 5 long years, I felt that infertility (severe Endometriosis) had robbed me of the gift of full-term pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. I wish I knew then what I know with all of my heart now. Endometriosis didn't rob me of anything. It gave me the most beautiful, incredible son and I know now that this is how it was always meant to be. The moment I heard my son's first cry and laid eyes on his sweet little face...I knew I had been waiting for him all of my life. I have no other way to describe it other than I recognized him instantly.

We had begun the process of preparing for IVF and, two weeks in, we received a call from family members (across the continent) asking if we would adopt their unborn child that was to arrive in less than 8 weeks. We hadn't even known that they were expecting. They were very young, struggling emotionally and financially and already had two little ones to care for. I was terrified. Adoption was always a part of my life plan regardless of whether or not I was able to have a biological child...but our relatives were young and understandably not entirely reliable by way of decision making. There had not been a single doctor's visit, we had some mild concern that drug or alcohol use could have played a role in the pregnancy and the only certainty was that there would be no certainty...about anything. We decided to throw caution to the wind and jumped in with both feet. We contacted adoption attorneys and began to prepare a nursery with everything a baby could possibly need. Spending thousand and thousands of dollars with no guarantees and nothing but faith and hope to carry us through. There were hurdles. MANY painful and scary hurdles. The first adoption attorney we contacted near our relatives' town ended up also owning a baby matching service and she tried to scare them and talk them into giving their baby to someone else. She began showing them books with profiles of couples looking to adopt and told them that she didn't think we would be approved as adoptive parents. They were so scared and confused by her manipulation...for what I can only imagine was all about the money she would earn for making a match...instead of allowing this child to be raised by loving adoptive parents who would keep him immersed in his biological family. We went on to find a supportive, honest attorney...but then came legal fees, court fees, travel expenses (many MANY travel expenses), social worker home visits and more fees for that, immigration processes (that we are still going through today) and the STRESS of waiting and wondering.

We arrived one week early for our son's birth. We had never formally met our birth mother. It was awkward. I had guilt. I saw her big, beautiful belly and felt horrible for hoping that she didn't change her mind. I imagined her seeing me as a thief who had come to take her child. I wept alone, on the floor of the bathroom, for the emptiness and heartache I knew she would feel when we left with our son and her arms would be aching for the child she wouldn't raise. I had been aware but completely unprepared for all of the feelings I would go through. Over those 7 days, I grew to love our birth mother more than I could ever explain in words. If I could have wrapped her up in my arms and adopted her too, I would have. She needed a Mother also. Desperately. Her own Mother was only a year older than I was.

During that week, our bond grew. I cared just as much for her as I did for the child we would share. As our birthing day drew nearer, there was a growing sadness between the two of us...only now it was not only about the baby, but about having to say goodbye to each other. The mere thought tied my stomach in knots.

It had been previously decided that I would be the one to accompany birth mom in the delivery room. The morning of the scheduled c-section they wheeled her hospital bed away from me and made me wait outside while they prepped her for surgery. She was terrified and each minute passed like a decade as I waited for them to invite me to be with her. I didn't want her to feel alone for a single second. Tears stung my eyes as I tried to force them back. I eventually took my place next to her and held her hand as the hospital staff began their work. Every person present was aware of our unique situation and the room was filled with love, support and complete understanding. I told her I loved her and that I would stay beside her for as long as she wanted me there. She squeezed my hand tightly as she felt the tugging and pulling on her belly. It all happened very quickly. In just a few minutes we heard our son's first cry. Tears streamed down our faces. She had requested that he be placed skin to skin with me after birth. A gift, I will always cherish and one that took such strength and selflessness on her part. I stood next to her as our son lay in my arms with his head on my chest. I asked the nurses to unstrap her hand and I placed it on our son's back. The nurse captured a photo of that moment for us. It means everything to me that our son will see how much both of his mothers loved him...and each his first moments of life. We became a family that day.

Our birth mother made the wise and brave decision to have her tubes tied while she was in the operating room. I held her hand while they performed the procedure. I promised her I wouldn't leave her until she was ready...and I didn't. When all was said and done, the hospital staff brought baby and I to the hospital room where we would stay for the next few days, all together. Birth mom allowed me to care for our son as she stepped back and watched. She allowed him to only know me as his Mommy. I can't even imagine the hurt and sacrifice it took for her to do that. She chose not to breastfeed but did appease my request for her to bottle feed him a few times so I could take photos of the two of them for him to have when he grew older. The following few days, I slept in the hospital bed next to hers with our son in my arms and I watched over her like a protective mother...calling the nurse for more pain meds, running to the cafeteria for better food, fetching warmed blankets and propping her legs up for her. We talked for hours about life, love and everything in between. Reality was setting in that I would have to leave her soon and it was a reality I could hardly bare. Everybody tells you how much you're going to love your child but nobody mentions how much you're going to love your birth mother and how devastating it is to say goodbye to the woman who gave you everything you've ever dreamed of, at the expense of her own broken heart.

They discharged us on day three and I wrapped our son up in a carrier, cradled against my chest as our birth mother stood close by. We took separate cars to the shopping mall and picked up some things together. We went to separate homes for 4 days, while we waited for our son to reach the allowable age to fly in a plane. I adored every minute with my new baby boy but there was always hurt in my heart for or birth mother. I missed her terribly. It was strange to not be together but I gave her the space she needed to cope and begin to heal and she gave us the space to bond and care for our son. We texted back and forth about her incision, how to stop her breastmilk, pain meds and how the baby was sleeping. On that 4th day, we came together to sign our legal papers and say our goodbyes. We would be driving to Dallas and then flying back to San Diego and then to Vancouver. The sadness was thick in the air as we all greeted each other with hugs. The papers were signed and notarized and our birth parents held our son for a while. His biological sisters held and kissed him too. They knew him only as "Auntie's baby" but the oldest knew that he had come from her Mommy's belly. Shortly after, we prepared to say goodbye and begin our travels. Birth mom burst into sobbing tears and I quickly followed suit. We were connected by heart and by tear ducts by that point. We hugged each other and didn't let go for what must have been close to an hour. I didn't want to leave her in the chaos of the life she was living. I wanted to save her and to love her and show her how smart and exceptional she was. She later told my mother in law that she felt like she was losing her best friend and the mother she always wanted. I walked out of that door, sobbing harder than I had ever cried in my life. I was, at once, the happiest and the saddest I had ever been. It took me hours to stop crying and get a full breathe.

Birth mom and I sent text messages and emails for a while but eventually she built a wall to protect herself. I understand, but miss her every single day. I see her in my son and I am reminded of the ultimate gift and sacrifice that she gave for us. I remember that the best way to love her right now is to keep my promise to love our son, protect him and give him the best life I possibly can...and when she's ready, I will share him with her...the way she shared him with me. He will always be OUR son.

I didn't carry him in my belly for 40 weeks, I didn't get stretch marks, swollen feet, morning sickness or feel him kick inside of me. I didn't give birth to the little love of my life...but YES I laboured for him. I walked through fire, jumped over hurdles, threw up from the stress, had huge swollen eyes from having my heart broken a million times....and at the end of it all, I birthed my family in a different way and I was given a healthy, beautiful son whom I could not live without and for whom I would give everything. Make no mistake, I am his REAL Mom...and I will forever be grateful to the woman who made that possible for me. She will always be a part of my heart and a part of this family that we created together.

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Thank you Pilita, for sharing your story of motherhood with us. I hope that each of the stories we will be featuring inspires, uplifts and perhaps brings happy tears to your eyes. If you're interested in a chance to be being featured (you'll receive a necklace if you become featured!)- please send your story to:
jessica {at} mintandbirch (dot) com! 

We are looking for stories that show the beauty, tribulations and trials, and the raw emotions that motherhood brings. We want to showcase and celebrate motherhood- the good and the bad. We want to celebrate YOU. We want to hear from real mamas like you! And in exchange, we will send out a necklace as a gift. The reason why I'm doing this is because I LOVE making jewellery for others. This is the reason we started our business, and we want to honour and love on you mamas! If you have already submitted a story and have not heard back, please don't fret! We are going to be reading every email that comes in. I wish I could feature and gift every mama that sends in a story, but it's a little hard to, but I will do my best to do this regularly and frequently!