Do I Keep Having Babies Because My First Was Placed for Adoption?

caring mother kissing little fingers of her sleeping baby

I have always felt a call to be a mother. I looked forward to the role even as a child watching family friends nurse their babies. I saw their bond and knew I wanted that one day. I was older when my brother and sister came along. I treasured getting to rock them, make them laugh, and feed them their baby food. I’m almost 28 years old now. I have a daughter that I placed for adoption at 16 years old and four kids that I parent. I don’t feel done and could honestly see myself having more. Nurturing is part of who I am. Just like writing, having and raising little ones is a calling for my life, but I still wonder…

Do I keep having more babies because my first was placed for adoption?

When I found out I was pregnant at 16, I was shocked. Let’s face it, teens feel invincible and often believe It’ll never happen to me! I was also terrified of what my family would say and hated myself knowing that I would disappoint them. But secretly, I was excited to be a mom. My best friend Jessie was there when those 2 pink lines on the pregnancy test appeared and soon after we were searching baby names together and admiring baby bedding. We imagined life with this new little person to love and join our BFF crew. Though I knew adoption would be best, I fought to be her mom during most of my pregnancy. It was the longest, hardest tug-of-war within my own heart. Thankfully, I was surrounded by family who supported whatever choice I made, so the decision was truly mine. I could have parented—with help. But I knew she deserved more than what I could give her at that point in my life.

My youngest baby is now 5 months old and I feel that familiar pull of motherhood calling me again. Why? Do I keep having more because I’m trying to fill the hole in my heart? Am I looking to fill her spot at the dinner table each night? Am I trying to fill the spot in the van that should be hers? These are questions I ask myself as I try to figure out why I feel the need to keep growing my family. From the outside looking in, is this is a void people see me trying to fill?

The truth is, her spot can never be filled. I know that. Only when she visits our home and all my kids are under one roof does my heart feel whole again. When she leaves, my heart breaks once more. There is more quiet in our family chaos after her car pulls away—an extra presence missing without her around. I know adding another child can never replace my firstborn. That is the bitter side of adoption—the constant absence of a family member.

The more I ponder, I realize my adoption placement plan is not the reason. In all honesty, it is placing my firstborn for adoption that makes me value and treasure motherhood even more. Knowing all the events—both big and small— I have missed in my first daughter’s life makes me want to pour myself into the children I am parenting and experience the stages of motherhood over and over again. I’m sure one day I’ll feel done…I hope. And maybe we are done now and that is okay too. Or maybe it is just a habit of the last 5 years, always being pregnant or nursing. Maybe we just like having kids and a full home. Maybe within the loudness we treasure the sound of laughter bouncing from our walls. Regardless, I love being a mom. I truly believe that being a birthmom has helped me become a better mother, because I know what it is like to miss out and watch motherhood from afar.