adoption, family

The Difference Between Their Birthmom and Me: An Honest Conversation About Addiction

As many of you know I recently herniated a disc in my spine. Since then I’ve gone to PT, had cortisone injections, and took pain medication after pain medication in order to perform the most basic movements.

Today I couldn’t make it any more. My surgical consult isn’t until the end of the month. I landed in the ER at the hospital where my neurosurgeon practices. They consulted with him and put me on some heavy duty meds normally given by IV in the hospital. I am now going back tomorrow for an emergency appointment with the surgeon.

I have learned something huge through all of this. The medication today is only thing that helps to somewhat dull this pain. It isn’t gone, it still feels like I live with searing hot daggers lodged in my spine. I have shooting, squeezing, blood-curdling muscle spasms all down my right leg. The pain is like fire and acid and nightmares too terrible to remember. I need this medication they gave me. I cannot make it without the medication I got today. I am living in pervasive, festering, agony. I feel that my life and my sanity are forfeit if I do not have the tools to survive until the appointment tomorrow. But I will have the appointment.

The good news for me is that soon this will be over. There are medical interventions available to me in order to help. As unbearable as this is, I know it will get better for me. Here’s the thing. What if it didn’t? Re-read the last paragraph. Re-read it and replace the pain in my spine with the pain of depression. The pain of mental illness. The pain of addiction. For some people that pain is real. There is no emergency appointment with a surgeon tomorrow that will make things all better right away for an addict, a person with a mental illness, a person with a deep and unyielding depression. These people? These addicts? They aren’t so different than me. That second paragraph is probably the closest I will ever come to walking a mile in their shoes.

Today I am humbled. Today is the day that I can honestly empathize with the birthmother of my children. I may wish her well and pray for her and hope she finds healing. Yes, I do all of those things. But do I understand the things she did? Can I fathom the things she left undone? Do I, in my heart of hearts, believe that I am somehow better? It’s an ugly thing to admit about myself but, yes, sometimes I do. Tomorrow I will have answers. Tomorrow I will have my way out.

Let me take today to be humbled. Let me take today to understand, at least a little bit. Let me take this horrible day to realize that we are not so far from those we may judge. We are not so far from those addicts, those hurting, or those in need. We are all human. If only we all had the promise of help tomorrow. For this experience I am truly grateful.


20 thoughts on “The Difference Between Their Birthmom and Me: An Honest Conversation About Addiction

  1. Oh my – this hit so close to home. Little kicked me in the back last Sunday and one of my disks slipped… only yesterday was I able to function fully. I was snapping at everyone, so angry I was in this pain, acting like a crazy person- and I couldn’t “help” it. It really gave me insight to my kids’ behavior which they can’t help because of their emotional pain!

    I wish I had the empathy for bio mom you have – unfortunately I haven’t reached that point yet. I often wonder if I ever will… I blame that on the fact that she is my husband’s ex wife a lot, and she tried to kill him on top of all she did to the kids… But in reality I just haven’t found my empathy for her yet. Maybe someday…


    • Don’t be hard on yourself. Forgiveness is hard. Finding empathy requires common ground. You HAVE that empathy for your kids. You took your injury as a learning experience. It seems unlikely that you will have a murderous experience anytime soon (ever!) so that’s a bigger stretch. I know you’re an amazing mom. Please tell me you’re getting medical attention for your back!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dawn says:

    Thank you for this. I needed it today. I do find myself leaning toward feeling like a “better” person than our children’s bio mom, especially when I hear “You’re not my real mom.” or “My real mom was great.”. I find myself thinking, “Really?!” “She was so great that she abused and neglected you.” That is not humility. “There but for the
    Grace of God go I.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dawn , you are just having human emotions and that’s ok. I cherish the times when I am humbled. I can’t always relate to her but maybe I can more than I realized. BTW, if your not a real mom, be a ghost mom! You can float around and rattle some chains. You won’t be able to make lunch, though. Ghosts can’t touch food. Try it, it’s fun. I’m sure you have some very important haunting to get to! Lol


  3. Lynn says:

    Many years ago, before I adopted, I was taking an antidepressant. There were side effects that I didn’t feel made it worthwhile so I quit. I didn’t quit cold turkey but decreased a little each week. The side effects of withdrawal were horrendous. For the first time in my life I understood how an addict would want to continue doing drugs just to prevent the withdrawal symptoms that come with stopping.

    Insightful post. Of course, yours always are. 🙂


  4. Hello Friend
    I can’t relate because I don’t have children. I do understand some of you feelings. In my heart I know God created everyone the same. Life somehow got in the way. So glad for the relationship you have with daughter.


  5. Pingback: Fighting Fear With Bubbles: Adventures in the Fear Behind Anger | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

  6. Pingback: Sobriety Not Required: Biological Parents | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s