To honor National Adoption Month this November, I bring you a big brave story. In this episode of About Your Mother, meet Ashley Mitchell.
Ashley Mitchell is the founder of Lifetime Healing Foundation, which supports birth mothers and those affected by such trauma. Her mission is unique but needed. Give it a listen, and you will understand why.
Reflections of the Mother
Ashley describes her mother as an intellectual. She grew up in a home of educators, and her mother was a brilliant woman. Though she also knows a lot about sports, more than anyone in their area.
Ashley’s mother continually encouraged her to learn about different things, which spurred her love and fascination for discovering as she grew up.
“She always taught me to know a little bit about a lot of different things. That just spurred so much of my fascination with documentaries and reading books. And it has served me really well to be able to sit in any kind of demographic with any kind of person to and have a little bit to share about any topic that comes up. And I have really appreciated that.” – Ashley Mitchell
Journey into being a Birth Mom
Ashley shares her story of finding herself pregnant at twenty-five. Because of a failed abortion plan, she found herself looking into adoption as an option.
While her son and family have a good relationship now, it wasn’t always the case. There was a lot of grief and trauma post-relinquishment that Ashley experienced. It was a slow process to educate herself on how to heal from the pain. She came out on the other side with a mission of building a support system for birth mothers nationally.
“No woman should go through something like this….it changes you to the core of who you are. And to then expect the women to just be up to their own devices, to fill in the gaps and to heal was just not… it just didn’t sit well with us. So we wanted to change that national standard for sure.” – Ashley Mitchell
We forget that adoption has been all about family building. And it's been that way for decades - to package and present adoption as this beautiful family-building tool. But we are missing the piece where we separate and break a family… Click To Tweet
In order to unpack her own experience as a birth mother, Ashley was drawn to learning the history of adoption. She found information – somewhat like propaganda – that carried the notion that these children were unloved and unwanted. These beliefs kept the birth mothers in secret and shame, telling mothers to pretend the relinquishment didn’t happen.
Yet when Ashley placed her child for adoption in 2006, her mindset was to give her son a better life. Because she loved her child more than anything, she was willing to be separated from him for that belief.
“The packaging is shifted a little bit. We’ve marketed adoption a little bit better from being ‘unloved and unwanted’ to ‘we love you so much that we’re going to give you this gift,’ and it’s been really interesting to watch in both scenarios.” – Ashley Mitchell
To hear more from Ashley Mitchell and her mission to support birth mothers all around, download and listen to this episode.
Ashley Mitchell, owner of Big Tough Girl and Founder + Executive Director of Lifetime Healing Foundation, set out to seek increased care, understanding, and resources for birth mothers.
For over a decade, Ashley has been one of the most consistent and sought after birth mother voices in the nation speaking to reform, ethical practice, and national grief and trauma support.
Well known for her vulnerability and transparency in adoption, her story has touched the hearts of countless members of the adoption community and beyond.
Connect with Ashley Mitchell