My favorite commercial during the 2012 Olympics is the one about how, to their mothers, they will always be children.
Once you become a parent, a parent you will forever be. I’m about to turn thirty-five and my little brother, the baby in our family, will be thirty-two in January, but our mom is still Mom. When our first son was born a beloved friend gave us the book “Love You Forever,” which sweetly describes how a mother is a mother regardless how big the child grows or how far the child goes…
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
The same is true of a “Birthmom.” Birthmoms are courageous women who give their children life and selflessly choose to place them in the home of another loving family. These forever mothers create and follow through with an adoption plan.
Being a mother is natural and beautiful. Sometimes girls become mothers in less than perfect circumstances and they’re facing an incredibly difficult decision. When a woman becomes pregnant outside the safety and security of a loving, stable marriage they have three options, and none of them are easy: single parenting, abortion, and placing the child with an adoptive family.
We work with single moms every day we’re open and they are incredible women. Somehow they manage to work outside the home then take off their uniform and work inside the home until they fall exhausted into bed every night. They are doing the work intended for two by themselves. It’s awesome, but far from easy.
People will say having an abortion is easy, but it’s not. Most of the women we work with do not want to have an abortion. Often they’re feeling intense pressure from someone else to end their pregnancy, but deep down they know they’re a mother and want to meet their child. When they make the choice to abort they’ll often point to the difficulties of being a single parent, the financial pressure, the judgment they or their families might receive. The less then perfect circumstances pressure them into making a choice they really don’t want to make. The procedure may be quick, but a mother’s a mother forever and they never forget their little one. We work with these parents quite frequently too.
Somewhere between these two options is the third alternative, adoption. It’s not easy. I’ll let a birthmom share her heart on the issue,
“I once heard a girl who had decided to parent her child say, “My baby’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” I believed her. But I wanted to ask, “Are you the best thing that could’ve happened to your baby?”
I placed my baby for adoption, and I can also say he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. He transformed my life. I loved my child more than words can explain, and I still do. I believe my love for him was the first real love I’d ever felt, because it was completely selfless. It was the BIGGEST feeling I’ve known. My heart grew in my chest the moment I laid eyes on him. Had I loved him any less—one ounce less—he would be with me now! My love for him was the only thing that could enable me to break my own heart. I didn’t just feel love; I did what love dictated.” – Tamra, birth mother (1)
When one of our moms chooses to create an adoption plan, the process of an open adoption begins. We connect them with an adoption agency, use our facility to introduce the birthmom to the agency, and walk with her throughout the entire process. We want all moms to know they are mothers forever and be treated as such. Placing a child for adoption doesn’t end motherhood. Another birthmom, Desha Wood, said it this way,
“He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.” (2)
Sometimes the best decision is the hardest decision, and when one of our moms chooses to place their child for adoption we recognize their heartache. They are doing what’s best for their baby now by giving it life, and doing what they think is best for their baby in the future by giving them a better set of circumstances. Birthmoms are heroes.
When someone walks into the PHI Center who is or might be pregnant they may eventually receive an ultrasound. But this ultrasound is different than the ultrasound a pregnant mother receives at her doctor’s office. Ours is a “Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound.” Before becoming pregnant most people would be unable to define words like obstetrics, ultrasound, Caesarian, or Braxton-Hicks contractions; if those terms are unfamiliar to you, welcome to the club. Even your baby’s doctor didn’t always know what these terms meant so it’s okay if you don’t have them mastered. Since we provide Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound we want to make sure you know what it is.
In another post we’ll answer the question, “How does and ultrasound work?” This post will simply explain the difference between the ultrasound a mom receives from her doctor and the one she could receive at the Pregnancy Help and Information Center.
Ultrasound is sound waves traveling at a frequency higher than a human can detect. “Sound” is the regular stuff we hear: dogs barking, people talking, and that kid tapping his pencil while we’re trying to concentrate. Sound that travels too slowly for us to hear is called infrasound and sound that travels too fast for us to hear is ultrasound. A dog whistle, for example, is a form of ultrasound. To the dog it’s just sound, because he can hear it. The human ear cannot pick it up because the sound waves are moving too fast. But we won’t be blowing a dog whistle at you in your ultrasound. Instead of a K-9 ultrasound, ours is “Obstetrical” ultrasound.
Obstetrics is the medical field that specializes in caring for women’s reproductive system and developing baby during a pregnancy (prenatal), childbirth, and once the child is born (postnatal). You might have noticed the letters OB-GYN after your doctor’s name, the “OB” comes from OBstetrics. “Natal,” by the way, comes from the old Latin word for birth, so prenatal and postnatal simply mean pre-birth and post-birth. I’m glad we changed it, because “Happy Natal-day” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. So, Obstetrical Ultrasound is ultrasound used in the medical care of pregnant women and their growing baby.
When the OB-GYN’s office performs the ultrasound they’re looking to discover all kinds of information: status of the amniotic sac, placenta, and ovaries, the presence of more than one baby, the age of the baby, the baby’s health, the location of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, the baby’s position, and his or her size.1 Their team are trained in all aspects of Obstetrical Ultrasound and are qualified to observe and diagnose anything happening within the mother’s reproductive system and with the baby.
At the PHI Center, our nurse is trained in “Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound.” Limited simply refers to the questions our nurse seeks to answer when she performs the ultrasound and what she’s qualified to share with you. The questions you’ll have answered in our Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound are:
1. Is there a baby in the uterus?
2. Roughly how old is the baby?
3. Does the baby have a heartbeat?
Basically, we can confirm you’re pregnant and that the baby’s heart is beating. The cool part for you is getting to see your baby on the flat screen TV mounted on the wall. It’s one thing to experience morning sickness and feel the baby wiggling inside you; it’s a whole new level of joy to see the little one star in his own reality TV show. We want you to meet your child as soon as possible and a Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound allows us to make that introduction.