conducted by Coley Strickland
Christmas is a rough time of year for many birthmothers. We are reminded of what we lost, our everyday motherhood to the children we placed for adoption, more so at this time of year. I believe during the holiday season it is most important to take care of ourselves and find outlets and ways to work through the grief that comes up. One great way to work through grief is journaling and fellow birthmom Michelle Thorne’s new book does just that.
Revealing You: A Journal for Birthmothers is not your typical book. Instead this interactive book is more about you, your thoughts, your feelings, and working through your grief through journaling. This book is divided into fourteen different chapters. Michelle shares her thoughts, quotes, and journaling prompts on a different subject in each chapter and then provides you with lots of blank, lined pages for oodles of journaling.
Michelle has been a birthmother in a semi-open adoption for fifteen years now. I asked her a couple of questions about why she wrote the book and how journaling has helped her over the years and specifically at holidays.
How and why did you come up with the idea of creating a journaling book for birthmothers?
“I think that writing is a safe and healthy way to cope with the intense grief associated with adoption. As a birthmom, and also as a Birthparent Advocate for Bethany Christian Services, I have seen the need for positive coping mechanisms after placement. I have used a lot of the ideas and questions in the book with the post-placement support group I facilitate. It has proven to be helpful.”
How has journaling helped you as a birthmother?
“I process through writing and have since I was young. Journaling helped me understand and organize my story. It made me realize two things. One, my story is important and needs to be shared, and two, my story changes. There are things that remain, but when I look back to the writing from 2005 or 2010, it is vastly different from my story today in 2015. Writing about my adoption journey is tender, but helps me own my story–the good, the bad, and the ugly, all of which are important and make my story what it is.”
How has journaling helped you make it through holidays such as Christmas?
“The Holidays are hard because families are hard. On days like Christmas, when we are full of joy and give gifts to loved ones, I feel the distance between my son and me. The moments I don’t get to have with him can leave me feeling really depressed or even chaotic when I am enjoying the children I am parenting. It’s so conflicting and complex. Writing has helped me recognize that and honor him in a way that is all mine.”
Why do you think journaling is important, specifically and especially for birthmothers?
“Birthmothers need positive coping mechanisms. So many positive coping mechanisms are simply designed to keep you out of jail or from getting pregnant again. I think journaling is valuable to birthmothers because it helps us process what happened and what is happening now. It’s more than a quick fix. Journaling is a walk with yourself when you need honest company to get you through the moment.”
Anything else to add?
“You don’t have to be a writer to journal. This journal has prompts and questions to help you think critically through your adoption journey. The chapters can be visited and revisited as you continue on. The hope is that you take the journal and make it your own with thought and color and out of that comes some sense of hope and purpose, and perhaps a bit of relief too.”
So grab your favorite pen and work through some of your holiday-related grief and stress by journaling whether it be through Michelle’s book or your own journal.