How can you possibly heal as a birthmother when first you are an adoptee? You spend your time trying to fill the void, trying to find your roots and healing the split-off parts that run you. In fact, being a birthmother was, in a certain way, outside my consciousness. In writing this article I discovered that although I have been writing a book on adoption for five years, I haven't written much on being a birthmother and that wound. My healing process focused on reconnecting with my inner children who felt lost and terrified of being alone.
Being adopted ran my life, while being a birthmother I contained into an episode in my life. I allowed myself to feel the loss and grief of relinquishing my daughter once a year, on her birthday. I prayed for her. I prayed that she was safe and loved and well taken care of, but my pain and loss I saved for this yearly event. It was a natural process. As her birth date approached, I was taken over with grief which came flooding out. As time went by, I wrote letters to my daughter and sent them to the county to be placed into her file. I wanted her to know I loved her and also provide a vehicle for her to find me, when she chose. But I never worked directly with the 20 year old part of me, who gave away her only known relative, until now.
I asked myself, why I was so unconscious of my birth-mother wound? I believe the experience of losing my birthmother conditioned me to experience loss and separation, for I knew these feelings well. I didn't know how to bond, so I gave up my child for adoption. To heal from two such losses - loss of my blood mother and ancestors and then my child - is a lot for one being to heal. I was only able to heal in stages. First the core wound and then 30 years later, to actually feel and heal my birthmother wound.
Until I was in my early forties I didn't know I needed healing. I was not conscious of my neediness, I jumped over my fear. I faked it. I had an attitude of "I'll show you," and most often I did. I believed I could do anything I wanted, and I did. But under this facade was a dark hole, the void. Fear from this hole would rear its head when I was tired, or before a new project. At such times I had to prepare and prepare, I had to look good, and do it right and be the best. But in my forties I began to feel overwhelmed more often - over less and less. Then a boyfriend left and triggered my entire past. I felt wounded to my core. I wanted to be with people all the time and I felt raw and needy. I acted out and I felt small and helpless. A friend suggested early childhood counseling and within a week, I found a therapist and began my healing. I wasn't conscious that my healing was related to being adopted. The word abandonment made no sense - I had been chosen was what I knew. This was the first step in my healing. In therapy I learned about my losses, I saw my secrets and I began to make life changes.
Along with therapy, I continued to deepen my spirit journey, my connections to the Divine, Great Spirit, God, and my guides who teach me. I learned (remembered) the Native American Medicine Way, and I opened to guidance from my Animal Totems, Angels and Arch-Angels. I designed and taught empowerment classes which empowered me. I walked into my feelings and fears of being alone, of being abandoned, of feeling I have to do something to be worthy of friendship, etc. When fears arose I went inward and found who was afraid and what was needed to heal, and then I gave this to myself.
Sometimes I nurtured an inner-child or brought in more love. I worked with these younger parts of me and brought them home to my heart, where they could feel the heart beat and know they were loved and safe. As they healed, they became integrated with me fully. I acknowledged my losses, and I discovered my gifts from these wounds. I connected to the Greater, my spiritual journey. I saw my pain as an opening to my spiritual journey, an opening to heart wisdom, a gateway to my soul's journey and my work as a healer.
I have experienced many healing methods to come back into wholeness. I began healing the heart wound through early childhood counseling, re-mothering, interactive hypnosis, connecting to my higher-self and letting her guide and mother me, and getting regular massage for nurturing and release. I attended retreats to deepen my connection to Spirit and God and connected to the wisdom and love of my soul-heart.
While healing others, I created ways to connect my heart to my center brain. Through my indigenous guidance, sweat lodges, prayer circles, drumming, rattling and becoming a healer I found my place in the oneness of the universe. I know I am not alone, I feel my connection with my animal brothers and sisters, the plant and mineral kingdom, my spirit ancestors. I sit daily in meditation, I've learned to listen to the greater, to my soul wisdom, to God and the universe and great mother earth.
Through this journey I have unfolded as a healer, and it heals me. Holding love space for others to heal their wounds heals me. Walking with others into and through their pain, heals my pain. It is a life journey and we are all in it together. We are all connected. I am not outside and alone. Being a healer teaches me everyday how to be loving and compassionate, how to use my wisdom and the wisdom of the greater, how to remain in heart space no matter what comes up and how to be related in a deep and profound way. Being a healer touches me at my core and brings me great joy.
© Marty Donahoe
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.