Why I need to stop looking at #birthmom on Instagram

The only picture I have of my birth mom and I before I was an adult. I got this when I was 26.

The only picture I have of my birth mom and I before I was an adult. I got this when I was 26.

I don’t like to admit it, but I am a pretty emotional person. While I don’t cry all that often, I feel things deeply…both my own shit and the shit of others. This skill is helpful in working as a therapist, especially since I’ve learned how to have boundaries professionally, but when it comes to the blurred lines in my personal life…I’m less than able to do so.

Most of the time I’m just tra la laing through the interwebz, and then BAM I come across something, that, for whatever reason, slams headlong into my gut (which, I feel, is where most of my emotions lie, anyway). Sometimes it happens in real life, but mostly, due to an online presence, I find myself sucked into a vortex of feeling and can’t quite get myself out of it.

Like, for example, yesterday, when I was trolling around on my adoptive sister’s Instagram page and saw a picture of her with her birthmom. With the hashtag birthmom, I thought to myself “hmm, I wonder who’s posting under that hashtag.” And there I see them…bellies upon bellies. These young women are posting to something called ‘birthmom,” when they haven’t given birth, haven’t relinquished their children yet, and are documenting their whole ordeal for the world to see and I felt this WAVE of sadness.

These girls aren’t birthmoms. They are moms. Their children are their children, nobody else’s. They don’t have to relinquish. They won’t know what they’re going to feel until after the birth…or months…or years later.

And so, unlike other times where I’ve taken a deep breath and walked away, I posted to one woman’s page, something about making sure she was 100% sure, because the adoptive parent’s had already named HER daughter something else, without consulting her. Those are red flags in my opinion. But she got mad at me, and I felt sad…for her…for her baby…for a country that is focused on the million dollar industry of separating children from their parents because of conventional rules on things like age or education level of a parent (I’m not talking about kids taken because of abuse or neglact, ya know).

I know that I should just walk away from situations like that, but there’s the piece inside of me that thinks, “maybe nobody’s told her she could be a mom,” or “maybe nobody’s told her that it’s her child still, that she can make the choices,” or that I can somehow save just one. It’s like that cliche idea from The Catcher in the Rye, where he wants to stand at the edge of the cliff to catch the children from falling over and losing their innocence. And I’m seeing it happening, the falling, and can do nothing about it. And I feel so sad for those little babies, those little mes, who will grow up in adoption-land without needing to.