Is this what happens to those who mourn, when time has passed and we forget to pray for them, we neglect to visit them in their time of need? I don't know. Maybe that is part of it.
Maybe the blessings of the Atonement were still available to me then, blessings of which I had partaken during the repentance process and while I was preparing for the birth and subsequent placement of my baby girl. Maybe I ceased to utilize those blessings as I should have. Maybe, in my sorrow, I neglected to seek the Spirit in my life.
I cannot explain why it was such a change from the joyous peace I had felt previously, but it was. Although I knew my choice was correct, I still suffered. Maybe this could not be avoided. It was a painful decision, and I needed to fully experience the consequences of that decision for it to have true value.
One thing that was expecially difficult during that time is that I felt the need to express my story, my testimony of adoption. I knew my Heavenly Father loved me and that He knew me. Even though I had kept it a secret in the past, I wanted to share how the experience had blessed my life. I was discouraged by church leaders from doing this. I also shared with people who had been my young women leaders, but the reception was not what I had hoped for.
There was an instance in which I was able to share my experience with a young woman who was pregnant. She even humored me enough to go to an LDS Social Services office in Price with me. Ultimately, she chose to parent. But I was grateful she and her family had been willing to hear me out. They may never know how much that helped me with my healing. Thank you, Valerie.
Recently, I have made the acquaintance of some other birthmoms from that closed adoption era. We have discussed some of the ways we "coped" with the pain. One woman went nun-like in the years immediately following her birth son's adoption. One self-mutilated. Two of us were the opposite of nun-like. It was a different form of self-mutilation.
I am just glad I survived that period of time in my life. In many ways, I am lucky I did. I went through a string of unhealthy non-relationships. I tried to find my way back to living the Gospel more faithfully, but it seemed like I failed over and over again.
I lived for the moments when I received an update letter from the family. Those updates kept me sane. I loved hearing how happy they were, even hearing about their struggles with finding the best formula for her. Everything I received from them was the ultimate gift. In hindsight, I can see I was too obsessive about that, but at the same time I don't know how I could have been any other way. My birth daughter's family took care of me. They wrote amazing letters. They continued to write, even after they were encouraged to cut back on communication.
I also now believe that I need to do my part to encourage all adoptive parents who can to keep an open line of communication with their children's birthparents, to send updates as often as they can, even if they very rarely hear back. Those communications were my lifeline. I am so grateful for their willingness to write to me when I requested to be able to share letters.
Although I was a mess for several months, I knew it was time I seek the Spirit once again in my life. In the time leading to my birth daughter's birthday, I decided to dedicate the month in her honor. Once again, I resolved to take care of myself more, to remove myself from unhealthy situations, to make better choices, to be nun-like. And that was when I met my future husband.