Episode 46

46: Courtney – “ I Found My Worth as a Mom at 17”

Courtney spoke of having a “feeling” she was pregnant and facing denial for a few moments. She quickly went into action and reached out and was “ghosted” in the true sense of the word.

She found resources on the bus route, found an adoption counselor and made the life- changing decision to place her child in adoption.

Courtney gave birth and within 3 days was into her next transitional phase in life. Courtney is amazing and her story shows how powerful and worthy she is.


BMRT - Courtney

D. Yvonne: [:

And when we say real talk, we mean real talk. You probably are hearing people saying things that you have not heard before on this podcast, but it's healing, birth moms real talk podcast is a place of grace and healing. And I'm so happy to have today. Courtney welcome Courtney.

Courtney: Thank you. I'm grateful to be

D. Yvonne: here.

Good, good, good. So I always will turn the floor over to you and share about your journey as a birth mom. Talk about growing up, where you grew up with and how it was.

Courtney: Oh, goodness. [:

D. Yvonne: and wrong places.

Courtney: So for me, I was trying to find my worth and trying to find my love, uh, by, by being wanted and desired by guys. And so, um, my senior year of high school, it's so crazy. I had missed a cycle. I have no symptoms. I just, I literally woke up one morning out of bed, sat up and I was like, oh my God, I'm pregnant.

D. Yvonne: Oh, wow. Wow. You just knew it. Or

enough for anything to even [:

Um, I reached out to the father and, uh, you know, basically was like, I'm pregnant. Every woman has three options and, uh, When I said, I literally was like, yeah, I can parent I can choose adoption or I can abort the baby. And I guess he took that as me saying I was going to have an abortion because he hung up on me.

his phone was disconnected. [:

Like this may have ghosted me

D. Yvonne: in three days. I don't

Courtney: know how long it was. Probably it was probably like a week or so. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Um, so yeah, this, I mean, ghosting was, was termed just for me. And so basically at that point, I really. As much as I love this growing being, um, I am in high school. I, you know, work, menial jobs, menial customer service jobs.

I cannot love doesn't buy diapers. Right. And so basically I made

D. Yvonne: two enough. Cause how old were you at that time? I was 17.

? Thank you. Yeah, [:

Um, made an appointment. My adoption worker, um, was amazing, answered all my questions because you know, the only thing I knew about adoption was what I saw in movies or afterschool specials. And all I knew or thought I knew was that. I would give birth. I wouldn't know the baby's gender. I wouldn't see or touch or you know, anything with the baby.

And then on my death bed, an adult would pop up and say, I'm your long,

D. Yvonne: last child. I know that movie. Oh, I know that movie. I've seen that movie. I've seen that movie. Yes, yes.

This is what adoption can be.[:

And 20 plus years ago open wasn't really a thing. So what, um, the term for my adoption was called semi-open it basically meant I got to pick his parents and that they would agree to send letters and pictures a certain amount of times per year. Um, fast forward. Um, I gave birth on a Tuesday. We left the hospital on a Thursday.

He went with my casework. Um, a friend from high school picked me up and then on Sunday I moved in for my freshman year of college. So it was a, it was a whirlwind.

D. Yvonne: Yeah. Yeah. So in nine months you find out you're pregnant or you discover and you say, I am pregnant. Got your test, told the father within a week, he had ghosted you by phone Bieber and moon.

ency and I getting it right. [:

You're doing all of this by yourself. 17 year old, realizing so forth. Whew. That's a lot, Courtney.

Courtney: It was a lot. It was, um, but you know, I can't, I can't complain. I'm grateful that I had the maturity. I'm grateful that I knew how to find resources because there's so many women and girls out there that don't know how to find resources and don't know like, oh, there is a way to make it through this, you know?

ional support. Um, of course [:

They were there for my uncertainty. So I'm grateful

D. Yvonne: for that, you know, um, you brought up different things for, as in support for different things, emotional, because one thing that I experienced, I never been pregnant. I didn't know what it felt like when, when I actually was going into labor. Oh, what? I was just having gas pains, you know, it's like, okay, I've got a gas pains or whatever.

And then I'll be, I mean, this is my mindset. And I was like 19, about to turn 20. Or maybe I turned 20 at that time. And I was like, okay, I'm having pain. And I was like, oh, I, it may be, it may be labor. It may be, it may be, maybe I should go to the hospital. Cause I really had not gotten anything. I mean, cause it was.

't know. And it was like two [:

So again, people don't know resources as. You didn't have the resources, you found the resources. And so many times as you say that young girls and young mothers or whatever, they don't know the process, their steps, and what's available there. Right. And it makes such a difference. Such a difference. Yes. So you, you left on a Thursday after giving birth on Tuesday and start a college when it's three days later.

Courtney: Yeah.

D. Yvonne: Okay. So you're in your dormitory. Uh, a three-day mom without your child moving on from that.

such a whirlwind, I kind of [:

What time do I have to be at 10? Okay. I have a job. I have to be there at two. So. I, I guess you would call it car compartmentalizing. Right, right, right.

D. Yvonne: And so I didn't need to and prioritizing. Yes,

Courtney: absolutely. Cause I mean, I'm, I'm in this new atmosphere. I'm, I'm now 18 and I'm at college and you know, and so it actually took me a very long time to begin the grieving process.

because I've already paid a [:

And the health clinic has a therapist. All right, Courtney, you've got the resource. You you've already paid for it. Right. And that honestly is when I began to. Uh, tackle all the emotions that are, um, associated with being a birth mom. Do you know,

D. Yvonne: remember your first session with a therapist and what you said?

I don't,

Courtney: I don't, um, I know there was lots of tears. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know there was lots of tears and lots of Kleenex. Because I used to use

D. Yvonne: washcloths because his lung tissue.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I still do that. I mean, I really haven't used tissues. I just have a cloth. What'd you do to call out, Hey, you know, it's there.

y. Right. But like Burt, now [:

There were no, you know, therapists that deal solely with birth moms. And so, you know, my therapist was very kind and letting me just kind of talk. Um, and basically because my therapist had never dealt with adoption, which she did. And what I really appreciate is that basically she did this. For me as if I was a grieving person, which I mean, technically I wasn't leaving

D. Yvonne: person technically.

Um, it's a friend that vision franchise grief, which is grief different than cause I actually was on a grief share session this morning because when people typically that's for people who lose to death and

ause our child still exists. [:

D. Yvonne: Yeah.

Courtney: So, um, so thankfully, um, I had that resource to kind of start, begin the grieving process.

And I mean, honestly, the grieving process is going to be lifelong. Yes, yes it is. Um, you know, but overall the healing. Positive knowing that I did the best that I could in that moment, you know, with the way my life was set up with the way my resources were set up, I did, you know, what I thought was best, not only for myself, but especially for my son, you know?

blame you. I don't hate you. [:

D. Yvonne: And that's where I say clarity will come based on both sides. As I said, I just came off.

The bookmark was real talk we had on Facebook live for the triad is just you saying, you knew you did the very best for your son, whatever. And I'm praying that day will happen. That when you do meet your son, a four as where he is with that, because that's the thing and I'll bring you out. If you've listened to the podcast, you know, it's about a platform for the birth mom sharing her journey because people don't know the journey of.

hat you felt for nine months [:

I wasn't with my son for 45 years before I reconnected again. And it was only after 15 minutes seeing him when he was 12 days old, but that bond never broken. We are now in the process of reunion of getting to know one another, but it's on both sides. And so the whole thing of the adoption community or constellation and so forth is listening to stories like.

that you gave your baby away.[:

Fighting words for me. I said that in the support group and I was about to come across the table and somebody who said that it was like, but, but she, she apologized by saying, well, that's what I thought, because he would go with these perceptions and until you get the reality and the perception with that, that's what, why this, this podcast has really broken a lot of things from people, because I hear from people not even involved in adoption.

Well, I learned a lot because only when you listened to the other side of the story, do you mean. Amen that you learned. True. True.

Courtney: Cause we did everything but give up on our children.

D. Yvonne: Yes, yes, yes. But if you don't know, but you don't know and you'll repeat those things until. They're changed or you get a different perspective and so forth.

word. I won't even say I use [:

You mentioned support groups in birth moms or tweets. So how has that helped and what are you doing now consistently? Because we say this is lifelong, so it's not like, well, I'm gonna just go into therapy six months and not be fine. Uh,

Courtney: no, it's lifelong. So my entire, my entire being made, I guess, a pact with myself.

in this space where I was at [:

Service. Right. Right. So I went on and I got my undergrad degree. I went on to get a master's degree. Um, thank you. Um, I currently work in the nonprofit sector. I am an adult educator. I teach soft skills, communication skills, um, things that, no matter what job you do, you need to have. Um, I love what I do. I love being able to give back.

a children's book. I've been [:

Like I I'm trying to make the best life that I can. Um, To make him proud, honestly.

D. Yvonne: Yes. Yes. You know, and I'm glad you say that the best life that you can. Um, uh, some of the listeners know that I lost her brother recently and I spoke, um, made some comments reflections at th at the service. And I say, make your dash count.

You've got a birth us, you got your sunrise, which is a birthday. And you got to sunset the day that you die. It's that dash. Okay, whatever you've been, wherever you've gone is make it the very best. And whether we, we, we were involved with the adoption or whatever else, that's how to me, that's our place and our purpose in life.

because that's up to me, the [:

At any time, if he had searched himself, he would have been able to find me, but I was in constant thing back 40 years ago. It wasn't even a thing. You know, it wasn't, I mean, to the point of just trying to find if you grew up in this area, whether it's a yearbook for the high school and it wasn't until social media, which was like 2015 that I did see a picture of him on, I knew it was him.

I knew it was him. I knew it was. And I was so bold enough to say he can cuss me out and he can say a crazy lady, all that, what I was going to say, Hey, I'm looking for my son. And I think. And I was like, I'm not sure what you're saying. Well, well, if you want to talk about it, you know, here's why email them or phone number.

hat message to, he responded [:

I am. I, you just don't know, because understanding, you have to understand where we're adoptees are coming from too, because when I reached out to him and he wasn't ready, that he, one of his thoughts was, well, maybe she's not ready to meet. You know, and that's where, and I say this, I said it before earlier today that how birth moms get yourself ready?

y, whenever your son reaches [:

I like the fact, you said you have conversations with the adoptive mom. Tell me about

Courtney: that. Um, and I really love, um, that you mentioned about getting ready, you know, so many people are like, why aren't you upset that he hasn't chosen to meet you yet? Well, no, no. It's his choice. I made a choice about him when he was in my womb.

He's an adult. What do you mean? It's his life? Um, so I love that you said that, but yeah, it took, um, it took a while to get to this space with his mom, but I'm so grateful basically on his 18th birthday, she called me. And we, we spoke for hours. She's like, now that he's 18, I want our relationship to change the relationship between she and I.

t's so crazy because there's [:

Yeah. I burst into tears. Yes. Because she booted me. Yes. She included me and that, because I think, I don't think people realize. The adoptive parents have so much control and for birth moms, it's, it's intimidating. It's terrifying. It's I don't want to step over this line. I don't want to make them angry because then they have the control.

our son, you at this birth. [:

D. Yvonne: Um, I'm so glad that that his adoptive mom has that perspective because reality is true.

It's our son. We gave our children life, their adoptive families, teaching them how to live life. That's why. Yes, a nature versus nurture without nature, you don't have nurture without nurture. You don't have a person getting a giving directions of being given direction. It takes both. And it's the reality of all sides.

adoptive mom and her saying [:

And you don't know what's going to be the situation, but I will say that I truly believe this is my belief, how that adoptive family brings that child into the home and understanding that they, they are newborn. They may be 10 days old, three days old, two days old or whatever, but they got our history.

was like, I was, we were, it [:

Okay. And he's taller than I am. And I could hear him exhale in my ear, exhale and like I'm home. I mean, that's how I felt. That's how I felt, because I truly believe that our body is so complex and so amazing that allows you to, when he say sensory nerves and so forth, and then to see the similarities with.

Uh, of, of how you can really bro someone and they pick up this and they pick up that not only physically, but I personalities a big part of what we're learning together about each other is learning each. Right and seeing, okay, I like this. I like this, or whatever. So many similarities you can't see now, but I'm, I'm moving my hands.

pass on with that. And so I [:

Well, it's not like it's not rigid. Well, let's talk the first Sunday of each month and what it's like, we free flow free flow whenever with it. It's okay. Cause I'm, I'm secure with the fact that whatever decision he makes, he's my son, whether he want to speak to me ever again, I'm not. None of that is going to change.

of mind to grow within that [:

And we can say that about just relationships in general. That's true. Take the, take the adoption out of it and just think about relationship. What's your true best relationship. There's someone who can be, you can be transparent with and you can be intimate with and share your, your, your best and your worst and still love each other and still love each other.

So you're storytelling. Tell me more about your storytelling, your children's book.

people get on stage, tell a [:

Um, I lived in Virginia and I stumbled upon the podcast.

Listen to the entire, every episode that was in the podcast I listened to. It's you don't know if you're going to laugh, you're going to cry. You're going to cheer. Um, and when I moved back to Atlanta, I was looking for events to go to, and I stumbled upon a Facebook post about the moth. And I knew that they did live shows, but it just didn't click in my mind.

Oh my God. They do it in Atlanta. So I went to a show the next month. It was amazing. And I've been going every month. Since every time I went to the show. Strangers will come up to me. Are you telling a story or you tell a story and I'm like, absolutely. No. What do you mean? Why would I tell a story? Um, you know, not only am I an introvert, but I'm also shy.

Absolutely not. And, [:

I look at one of my fellow volunteers and uh, they're like, oh, the theme is love hurts. And in my head, I was like, oh, oh, okay. So the show is 10 storytellers. You put your name in a hat. They pull out 10. So they pull out five. They do the first half. There's an intermission. They do fight. At intermission, the host is like there's 21 names in the hat.

to practice putting my name [:

So we come back from intermission, they call number six, they call number seven and then number eight is called and they call my name literally from the moment I stood up till I got on the stage. I'm like, what story am I going to tell? How am I going to talk? Cause I, it, any who? Fast forward, I told the story of my.

My journey with adoption. I got a standing ovation and I

D. Yvonne: won. Wow. That was, that was not our mistake. You know that?

Courtney: No, I know it was not a mistake. I know that it was, it was my destiny. Yes. Um, yes, it was absolutely my destiny. And from then I've gone on to win more storytelling competitions. I ended up writing a children's book all about worthiness.

ve realized that this is one [:

Have sex with people as a teenager, because I didn't know my worth, you know, I chose to be in relationships with people that weren't good for me due to my not knowing my worth. And I know that there are so many stories out there of people that didn't make the best decisions because they didn't know their worth.

And so I figure if I share the knowledge of inherent worth with the world, starting with kids, That the trajectory of their lives will change for the better. The earlier that they know

D. Yvonne: you're teaching and learning, those are learning lessons. When you mentioned for his children and starting with the children, I think it was.

And really, [:

Courtney: he can't talk about it, but she parked that.


D. Yvonne: And anytime anyone has to whisper about it, that's that shame. And they put that guilt on you or try to put the guilt on you. But again, as you say in worthiness, because of that, that was what kept me through to work through. And be the person I am now because not only was it not support for me, for my family, emotional and so forth, but as far as me refraining from owning what my, my name is not shame.

guilt. I am worthy. And, but [:

Is moms wanting to know why the children don't want to meet them? Or a adoptees knowing what, why their mother doesn't want to meet them. And I S I S I said, I can't speak specifically for your mother, but I can say if there's a birth mom, when their child finds them, that they don't want to meet with them.

t it takes is that mom to do [:

To be the very best person just as you're talking about court. So I emphasize that because that is so, so important. So many times that I hear people comment of listening to the lessons. And so I'll ask you not only what you're doing, because you just shared for us what you're doing, but how would you encourage other moms to do their work, uh, uh, therapy or whatever it is to be able to be there for that?

It could be whatever, but I [:

Courtney: And that's. I mean, honestly, that is the biggest thing. It is forgiving yourself and saying, you know what? I did the best that I could. I'm not going to put shame on myself. I'm not going to allow others to put shame on me. I'm going to work at being the best I can be emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Um, because when you feel good about yourself, It changes your entire outlook on the world, knowing that you're striving for better, knowing that you want to be the best you for yourself, not necessarily for anybody else, but for yourself, right. And all that will radiate outwards. And then you'll be better for, you know, your parents you'll be better for your siblings.

kids that they parents have [:

And so just allowing yourself, grace is very important. Right. Got beating up on yourself,

D. Yvonne: right? Yes. That's what a line that is bottom line, because, and give yourself a break. You know, I was sharing with Courtney before it, with all the things I've been going through. I gave, and I keep myself self-care, but I've had to, I've had to give myself more self care because of the situations I've been going through.

t with birth moms and adopt. [:

One of the comments, one of the adoptees said on the Facebook today was they want transparent. Tell us everything we know it may be hurtful for you, but we want to know because that's our information to edit is, and it is so as being able to respect other people, the other people in a triad situation, and be honest enough to say the tough things, even though we may not want to, but to grow, to truly grow, we have to stretch to how do you get a diamond press?


And you building yourself up consistently, consistently that you become, and I use the word powerhouse because one session on did last night with the power of a birth mom, the power of an adoptee, the power of an adoptive mom. You put all those together. We will rule the world. That's my favorite cartoon, pinky, and the brain it's really.

ted mom. That's true because [:

Um, it discourages me. I'd like to get your opinion to Courtney about it. We talked about a hot topic about to me in, when you say birth, uh, support groups and retreats. When you, when you, when you're working on something, the goal is to get through it and grow. I see a lot of birth moms who are woe is me.

And that's fine. You got to wallow when you can, but you got to have a plan to get out of. Correct. So what's, what's your statements. You will say the birth model, we talked about doing your work or whatever, but when they're in the midst of that, and I'll say this statement and let you let you comment, you gotta be very aware of your environment and who's around you and stay around positive people, stay around positive people.

But if, if, if everybody in your group and everybody, you know, is what worries me, that's Baba. That is

Courtney: a problem. [:

You know, bad things happen to people. Great things happen to people. But you've got to change that negative mentality into a positive thing, you know? Yeah. Oh, okay. It's great today, but it's not going to be great every day. What about those other days when it was sunny and bright and beautiful, you know, you've got to focus on getting to that next goal, getting to that next, uh, positive thing in your life.

d just remember, you know, I [:

It's ice cream. It's my favorite food group. Okay. I'm having a rough day. I'm going to go get some ice cream. Okay. Others? Yes. It's journaling or coloring in a coloring book, but find something that will bring you joy and do that thing.

D. Yvonne: That's it? That's it. I was outdoor. Um, my community that I live in has an outdoor, um, was an atrium and I was sitting outside in a rocking chair kind of chilly, but it was this morning around seven.

Yeah, when you put me outside, just I'm here to birds and whatever, more so if I can around water, so I wasn't around water, but along with that, and that was soothing of my soul. That was assuming my soul. And I'll say this to all the birth mothers out there listening, you've done some hard work, recognize what you've been through.

d just as Courtney said, you [:

Yes. Make your dash count, make it count. Any last words, Courtney, before we end up,

Courtney: you know, I'm gonna, I'm going to treat the audience the way I treat my students and I am going to end it with. I love you and you are worthy.

D. Yvonne: Wow. I like that. I like that. That is so true because, um, and this is something I do myself and I, and when some of the training that I do, um, write a love letter to yourself.

ourself as often as you can, [:

And it's been such a joy for so many birth moms come on and sharing their story and people in the comments and emails here is saying they got so much from this episode and that episode and your story needed to be told. So thank you so much for being a. And you'll be tuning in soon to Courtney's episode.

to support, and you want to [:

We're actually a reading primal womb. Now that's real. That's real deep, whatever. And it's the whole thing it put brings you closer to having a village in not just being on a, on a support group once a month. So really, uh, send us an email that info at birth moms, real talk, go on our website at www birth moms real talk for you like to share your story.

And I tell you, Courtney, I'm getting probably two or three each day. These women are coming. Oh, it was ranked time or what it's like, they're ready to share then not everyone's ready to share. I understand that those of you are not ready to share on the podcast, then get involved with the village. You still can share, but a step private, you know, because we have to understand and recognize and respect each other's privacy that they really want to keep with that.

onne rivers. We will see you [:

About the Podcast

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Birth Moms Real Talk
Conversations with Mothers who relinquished children into adoption.

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D Yvonne Rivers