Every year around the same time, close to when you were born, I am reminded of the most difficult choice I’ve made in my life.

This year you turned five years old; when I think back it’s hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. The most devastating emotion I have ever endured was when I realized I was not the best thing for you, that I wasn’t able to offer you what I knew you needed. That moment and those that followed I was filled with fear, anguish, and grief. My heart told me I would find a way, that we would be OK. My head said you deserved better than “OK”, more than my struggle and pain.

When the day comes and you question my choice, I want to ensure you understand my choice wasn’t made with haste and it wasn’t because I didn’t love you . . . it’s quite the opposite.

I loved you so very much that I wanted more for you than I was able to give and offer. Choosing to keep you would have been the easiest, most painless, and selfish decision I could have made.

The time we spent together are my most treasured memories; those nine months passed by too quickly. The time spent nourishing and caring for you, feeling and watching you grow inside of me was my gift.

I met your mom and dad before your first fingers and toes were formed.

The morning we were supposed to meet, I almost canceled. When I arrived at the restaurant, your mom messaged me saying they were running late. Every instinct I had told me to run as fast as I could and never look back. I stayed because, as a mom, I knew how imperative it was to do everything in my power to give you the best possible opportunity at life. It didn’t take long to know, sitting in that restaurant, that I was sitting across from the very people you would come to know as your mom and dad. Their authenticity, candor, and fervor showed me that fate brought us together for a reason and that reason was so you would experience the best of life and love.

The days and months came and went quickly. With every milestone, I cried and grieved with unconditional love for you. My heart was torn with the joy of meeting you and the pain I knew would follow from losing you.

While I focused on acceptance and keeping the two of us healthy, your mom and dad readied and waited in anticipation and excitement for your arrival. Their adoration for and commitment to you were evident from the very beginning, never missing a doctor’s appointment and being present through every uncertainty. They offered support during a time very few others understood the path I was taking.

The day you left the home you made below my heart is one that changed my world forever.

A battle between my heart and mind raged. I never gave up the faith and trust I put in your mom and dad, never second-guessing my choice to place your heart and life in their hands.

I am blessed and overjoyed that I get to watch you grow and experience life. Witnessing your achievements and reveling in your happiness gives me comfort.

But five years later, I can say with all honesty I am still grieving your loss.

There are times, like today, I struggle more than others. Your brother and sisters ask about you often; they, too, struggle from time to time with the understanding of why you are not with us. Days when I see your smile and it mimics that of your older sister, or I see the way happiness lights up your eyes just like your older brother’s. I hope and pray you will one day enjoy and experience the closeness and love they have to offer you.

While I aim to travel this path with dignity and courage, there are times I am overcome with guilt, failure, and fear. It is in those dark moments, of my deepest anguish, where I fight to find the strength to heal and forgive myself.

I know that just as you are the piece of me that is gone, you are also the piece that makes your family whole.

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Kristina Guerrero

I am a faithful wife to my soul mate, a mom to our 5 incredible kids, a birth mom to a sweet 5-year-old little boy, a daughter, sister, and friend. I stay busy with our large blended family and working full time for the State of Nevada child support enforcement program in rural Nevada. I am pursuing a master’s degree in social work that I hope to use together with my personal experience as a survivor of domestic abuse to support and inspire victims. In my spare time I find pleasure in a tasty cup of coffee, getting lost in a great book, and long hot bubble baths.