Photo Credit: Oxygen Media
Last night, Oxygen's new six-part docu-series, I'm Having Their Baby, told the story of Amanda and Mariah, the two latest moms-to-be preparing to place their babies for adoption. As if it isn't a hard enough decision, the episode highlighted all the background noise from family and friends that the moms had to face.
Amanda, age 28, had to cope with her sister who wanted to adopt Amanda's baby herself -- an offer Amanda declined, which naturally caused some serious family tension. It didn't help that the prospective adoptive parents were a gay couple which was an issue for Amanda's devoutly religious friends.
And 18-year-old Mariah (who already has a one-year-old) had to face some unsolicited advice of her own. Mariah tried to stay emotionally distant so that she could go through with the adoption, but her mother (who wanted her to keep the baby) made it incredibly difficult for her by talking to her stomach, rubbing her belly and telling Mariah that she "needs to show the baby love."
As a birth mom, I can certainly relate to the "unwanted advice" aspect of choosing adoption. Even the best intentioned family and friends tend to chime in with their thoughts about how they think you'll feel or what they would do. I had a friend tell me that she believed I would regret my decision to place my son for adoption because he would grow up believing that I didn't love him. (Um, thanks!)
The best thing my family did for me during that time was to be a sounding board: My parents would constantly tell me that whatever decision I made would be the right one and that they would be there for me no matter what I chose to do.
Basically, I wanted (and really, truly appreciated) support, not opinions -- which is what the birth moms in this episode needed so much. In the end, Amanda is incredibly happy with her choice and after she says good-bye to her son and his new family, there's even (crazy, I know) a rainbow outside. And Mariah, who is very torn and sad initially (which is exactly how I felt) also ends on a high note, very satisfied with her choice and making plans to visit her son.
You can find more on the show on the I'm Having Their Baby Facebook page or follow Oxygen on Twitter for access to exclusive content.
Birth mom Renee Hartwick writes letters to her son at Letters to Little Man.