The Elephant in the Room

It is utterly painful to know just how many women go through the transition of being simply a mother to being a birthmother. It’s painful to know because of the thousands of different feelings that go along with the process. It’s painful because even if you’re not naturally empathetic toward others, a birthmother that can clearly describe her anguish can make you feel it.

I’ve noticed blogs lean one of two ways: angry and bitter or sad and confused/coping. (If anyone comes across something different, please send me a link!!)

Realizing that all the things I’ve read incites either/or of those emotions makes my heart very heavy. Adoption placement is not an easy thing to do. It can be equivocated to other traumatic occurrences that can happen to a woman only in the sense that it can leave a lasting mark on the soul. It absolutely terrifies me to see writings from women who are way further down the line in this transition who are still coping with very heavy emotions. Is any human being supposed to be able to handle decades worth of that? My stomach is lurching and churning at the mere thought of feeling just the way I do another year; the plain hard truth is that I did not consider the possibility of battling emotions of this decision continuously my entire life. Maybe I was being delusional or maybe it was innocent naiveté, but I thought that developing a relationship with the adoptive parents would help. I’m not getting any information that corroborates that. “Help” in regard to this particular subject is like Neosporin on a molten steel burn.

Something that seems to be universal is that none of us came to adoption as a simple “want”. I really wonder if there are mothers who seek adoption placement because they just have the desire to. It is amazing how powerful the hand of society is on this subject…the assumptions, impressions, and strong opinions on the subject…even if a person has never directly participated in the process. Is there any awareness at all that one side of the story is bittersweet at best? That the best excuse to be fathomed is “at least ___”. All the reasons people told me that the choice I was making was great have lost quite a bit of sheen, sparkle, and appeal. Every true benefit lies in the fact that the child is happy and safe and the heartbreaking fact of life is there is no guarantee on happiness or safety. That fact makes it even harder to get over the emotional speed bumps and flat-out road blocks associated with separating from a child. (As I write this, I’m trying to block out the sound of a cooing and garbling infant in the lobby…)

I’ve carried all three children I’ve been pregnant with to term, but I’m even more pro-choice now than before. Although my personal choice would always be life, I would never presume to think every woman should be subjected (or forced to figure out the hard way they are unable to adapt) to the certain torment of adoption. Just like everyone is not cut out to parent, not everyone is going to handle the emotional purgatory of relinquishing flesh and blood regardless of open or closed status. I don’t think I’d wish this on my worst enemy. I’d probably hug my worst enemy if I found out she had gone through this at any length. Since I have a daughter, I’ve hoped that our talks and her watching this experience for me has lessened the chances of her ever needing to make a decision like this. I’ve told her about waiting for marriage and I’ve begun having discussions with her to get her ready for making choices in regard to her health and her body as she gets older. While I think that she understands I don’t feel like it’s quite age appropriate to discuss the full consequences of this decision.

The elephant in the room seems to be whether or not people really and truly know the full scope of adoption. Do people have such strong opinions about a subject that they only know the Hallmark movie joy: a birthmother’s decision creates in the life of a waiting couple? While I’m completely aware of the fact that there are tons of negative and positive stories reflecting the experiences of adoptive and birth parents, is there any real scope placed on the long-term effects on people who have gone through this process? Does the society that so negatively portrays the circumstances in which a woman may become pregnant or seek options  as a result know what the positive choice (by opinion) requires of a human being?

I seriously doubt it.

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2 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room

  1. I’m not sure I understand what you mean about first mother blogs being either angry and bitter or sad and coping? I thought most of them exhibited all of those emotions, which are not so unrelated after all. Some blogs haven’t reached the angry/bitter stage–give it time and they will, after they realize how duped they’ve been. For a long time, I wasn’t angry at others (though I loathed myself) because I still felt like I’d made a free choice and I couldn’t lay blame on anyone else. It’s so very hard to see that you were coerced, and you never had much choice in the first place.

    No one considers that giving a baby away is a lifetime of suckage because no one tells you. If any of us knew, we wouldn’t have “chosen” adoption.

    • purpletexan says:

      Yes, they all can exhibt these in progression, but have a stronger overall tone. I really like your perspective because you’re a new generation birthmother as well. It’s really sickening what people buy into as a universally good thing when there’s such an ugly underbelly in how the mothers are left to feel.

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