The feeling I have at this moment is utterly tormenting. I have steadily been changing who I am as a person over the last ten years. That is what I have always felt I should do– evolve and grow. This growth came with some major failures and pitfalls, but I’m certain that I’m on the path that I need to be on.
After my birthmother experiences, how I deal with people changed exponentially. I couldn’t simply like or love people based on whether they kept up social pretenses or not. I don’t have the patience for naivete and blindness that I used to.
I still haven’t heard from the a-parents since my last entry. Not a word.
But today I also, after some heavy consideration, decided to depart from people that used to be important to me. It only just occurred to me that the sudden darkness in my placement experience made me less forgiving for people that supposedly know me. After a tumultuous time parting with blood, losing adults doesn’t frighten me.
I took a job with my oldest and one of the most dear friends a few years ago. That was a facade-smashing experience that taught me that people just change. I didn’t fault her for not being the girl I met in Kindergarten. I admired her for doing anything she set her mind to do. But it has bothered me ever since then that I didn’t care for who she showed herself to be. Along with those realizations is that fact that her best friends had “warned” me that working with her would be poisonous to the friendship. In retrospect, who knows how much of a collusion all of the calls, texts, and lunches to lament over our dear friend’s tyranny was actually just a way to shove me off. It worked…I was almost completely disenchanted with the glory of a two decade friendship. And I, alone, was the odd one out…not the others.
Whatever the circumstances, I never felt quite the same about her. As family members began passing on due to poor health choices, I began resenting her for not wanting to be healthier for everyone that loved her. This wasn’t isolated to her…my mother and other friends fell into this category for me. It was a hardline rationale: if you don’t care enough to sustain yourself, I’m not going to place myself in your proximity to be tormented by your deterioration. It made so little sense to repair and build with someone that would inevitably expect my unending presence to their emotional demise. So, I put comfortable distance between myself and people that I felt put their present wants over the inevitable.
I stopped doing things that made no sense to me. That meant no longer having “Hey, how are you doing?” conversations when I could complete the sentences that followed; it all became cumbersome and meaningless. Going and sitting in people’s houses when they felt like walking into chaos (screaming kids, animals, and clutter) was unnerving for me. I wanted to pull my skin off. Attending functions with people that I knew had foul intentions but were loved for putting up appearances also grated on me in a deep way.
Faking it no longer felt tolerable. My heart said “I love you, but I can’t do all the things necessary for you to feel like I do.”
And I still have close relationships with people…and they all understand most of my ways of being enough that we navigate each others’ needs in fulfilling ways. But in the last three years, I have definitely gotten a firm grip on what I can handle and what I refuse to. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that people can’t be salvaged from your past as you do what is necessary to survive what you’re going through.
Max, you’re probably walking. Probably have poor L running around the house trying to baby proof and catch your lightning fast hands before you stick something foreign in your pouty little mouth. You probably show signs of my intrusive observation and stubbornness. You probably picked up Nathan’s quiet-unless-aggravated vocal tendency. Your dimple is probably super cute and charming. Your eyes probably lighten when you don’t feel good and darken when you are any extreme emotion. You’re probably physically stronger than anyone would assume a baby should be. Your knowing personality probably takes your a-parents aback from time to time.
I know you’re smart; you’ll bloom into uncanny brilliance. You will be intuitive and good at picking up latent traits. You will probably not be pleasant when not getting your way. You’ll be athletically gifted but feel obligation to pursue sports. You will be disarmingly handsome.
And for all and none of those reasons I love you.
I will love you unconditionally til I am incapable of emotion or thought. I hope that in your lesser moments when you need an invisible pillar of strength that my channel of love is there for you to pick up on.
I love you, Maxton Collier. And one day, I hope you get to hear me say so.
Max hit his two month old mark. Cade turned seven a week later. Both of my boys had milestones and I went into compensation mode for the son I actually have with me.
A day before Cade’s birthday he, my daughter, and I made a trip to Dallas. He had a pre-surgery appointment at Children’s which added salt to my cut over missing a baby moment. While the surgery is explained to be totally routine, I’m still a mom…I’m freaked out internally but dutifully smothered my brave face on to keep my child from being scared. I’m not in a good place to deal witih any potential complications. But I’m going to enforce mind over matter here: my son will be fine! After the appointment I wanted to take the kids somewhere cool. We all have a love of cars and I thought Cade would be excited to eat at Gas Monkey. But as luck would have it, his interest was in the bikes parked outside and not much else. My daughter flipped out in joy, though. lol it figures.
So, as we wait on what turned out to be really good food, I began prodding Cade for gift ideas. At seven, he still doesn’t know his birthday and Christmas are not interchangeable on gift quantity! In his sweet little voice he prattles off expected things and I feel confident I could make him smile when he got his gifts. I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to keep from thinking of what I might have done for Max on his seventh birthday.
Everything has a parallel where I briefly think of the baby and wonder “what if?”… I’m thankful I no longer spend hours inside of a day pining, but I’m acutely aware that missing Max’s milestones will make me compensate and go further to make my home sprouts’ milestones better. My mind toyed with ridiculousness ranging from bounce houses to Halloween themed ghoul fests, but I reeled it in quickly. A Hershey’s cake and a trove of must-have gifts.
It was as he opened his toys and video games that I realized that he’s at an age that he’s so innocently easy to please. I felt a pang of guilt for thinking I needed to spend more to make him happier. He’s the one who’s happy with a Hot Wheels car and a toss up in my arms. Cade didn’t care about those “awesome” toys for more than three days. He carries the cheap new Hot Wheels in his pockets like lifelines, however lol… the talking, interactive, projectile toys are on the dresser getting little attention.
I don’t need or have to go beyond what they are happy with to make myself feel like less of a weakling. My oldest two are very aware that I miss the baby. My daughter makes an effort not to talk about cute University of Texas gear she knew I’d have put him in when we are in the store. She will glance at displays and pout a bit…not because she wants for herself, but for a distant baby brother. These instances add even more salt.
I firmly believed I was making a decision that made Cade and my daughter more secure. That I wouldn’t have to make them “go without” because mommy made a mistake. The irony!! Being down a sibling is definitely going without. How idiotic of me. They both could care less about the material things I thought they needed and wanted more than an expensive, garbling baby brother. Again, how idiotic! This wasn’t my only reason for my choice, but it was one of what I deemed most definitive.
Milestones come with time. I was raised to have a powerful sense of blood bond and family. That, coupled with two totally sentimental and intelligent kids is hard to hurdle. What has eaten me about missing “week old”, “month old”, “six weeks old”, and “two months old” is that I’m seeing that missing them are wholly on me. I’m missing time because I made a lifelong decision under circumstances that are deemed duress under every other scenario outside of adoption.
I’m at least glad Max has a very loving family. No matter what, that’s a great thing. But no matter what, I have to realize that what I’m missing is not compensatory or because of anyone else. That’s quite a pill to down.
I’m 28 years old, mostly sane, slowly getting my pre-baby frame back, and single. At this point in my emotional rebuilding, though, I want so little to do with the male species that I considered proclaiming lesbianism to curtail advances. However, I know how childish and irresponsible that would be this day and age, so I haven’t and wont.
Aside from the fact that any interest in the opposite sex is limited, those who have declared interest have done so in a way that’s annoyingly pushy. Given my post partum hormones and a little bit of angered baggage for my now adopted son’s father, I would think there was a floating red flag over my head. Why would a man think this was an opportune time to seek my attention? It seems reckless to me. I mean, I see being anxious for my attention in this delicate part of my life like hopscotching through a North Korean mine field. How much value do you put on yourself to do something so ridiculous…NOW of all times?
I like knowing that people care about me, especially when I’m dealing with feeling kind of alone. But feeling alone does NOT translate to wanting a boyfriend or to date for that matter. I just separated from the flesh and blood epitome of love and cuteness….does it really seem like a good time to impose your manly wants, desires, hopes, dreams, and whatever else on me? I’m trying very hard to get myself straight and yet I have to play diplomatic word games so not to hurt the feelings of guys that I’ve explained myself upwards of twelve times to.
I’m weird right now.
I don’t want to be bothered.
I have a lot on my plate.
There’s things I need to take care of.
Can I just breathe for a minute!?
Whether in diary detail or in aggravated bursts, I don’t see that these particular people have gotten the point. I’ve literally explained in tears and the guy glazed right over it to say (in short), “So, when will you be ready?”
Note, i introduced my mental quality as “mostly sane”…I’m debating whether or not these three individuals were put in my path to test the true boundaries of my sanity after going through emotional purgatory for the last several months. I stopped answering phone calls, replying to texts, and this became a cue to change approaches instead of showing up as a sign of disinterest. I don’t want to be mean to anyone. I really don’t. But when someone is so interested in their own idea of fulfilment that they overlook distressed conditions in another person, there are few ways to react. It’s hard to do anything other than be mean when someone can be willfully ignorant for the sake of self interest. And I’m hitting that point.
In none of these cases did it seem like “I want to be there for you”….the sense I got was that “I’m not finding what I want anywhere else and you’re still single, so I’m gonna wait. Right here. Til you cave. K?”
If I have a fault that makes men with this personality type attracted to me more than guys who show less signs of clinginess, I would like to know what it is. Pronto. I don’t care if it’s a severe psychological flaw, I’d like to find and fix it. Because I’m not out-of-the-box enough to figure out a second meaning to the word “no” and then approach these fully capable adults with the kid gloves needed to teach and instil that meaning.
It’s been six weeks since giving birth. It seems like longer in some ways and in other ways it seems like it just happened. Time has flown by in the way that it seems like the scent of Max’s hair, the feeling of his perfect baby skin, or the way his eyes had yet to settle in color are engrained in my memory. Since my time in the hospital after giving birth was all the time I had to spend with him, I don’t have much to cling to mentally. It’s a matter of debate to say whether or not clinging to memories is a good or bad thing, but in the instance of motherhood keeping memories in tact is the world–to a birth mother it’s truly everything.
I’m hitting phases of emotions that I sometimes feel capable of handling and other times I feel too angry to even sleep a full night from thinking so much. I now have the time to think through the small incidental actions (of the adoptive parents, Max’s father, the agency, my family, peers, etc.) and things I noticed and really sort through them. Along with the hundreds of little “clues” I feel like I should have picked up on and questioned I must deal with peers. People obviously knew I was pregnant on sight in my last trimester, but they didn’t know I was seeking adoption. I wish I’d have just openly mentioned the decision then instead of keeping it to myself, because now I have to explain why I had no baby with me.
“Yes, I had the baby…I had a little boy…Well, he lives in south Texas now. I put him up for adoption….”
The conversation often pauses there long enough for the look of shock and/or pity to cross their faces; that’s about when the tears start stinging my eyes and my throat wants to close up. First of all, people are not acclimated to seeing me get emotional. At all. So this starts a process of slight freaking out on their part and a fight to get my face back under control of my brain and not my heart.
“It’s OK! I’m all right….He has a great new family that I like a lot.”
At this point, I’ve reeled in the watering eyes and have managed not to get mascara and eyeliner running down my face and people are either anxious to remove themselves from the uncomfortable situation OR worse….the pep rally starts.
I cannot begin to describe the anguish it creates in my chest for people to tell me what a good thing I’d done in choosing to place my son for adoption. A lot of words of approval get tossed into the atmosphere around my head and I’m left fighting the urge to roll my eyes or get irritated by the processions of “brave” and “wonderful” and “selfless”. It may be different for other birth moms, but these little approval cheers tend to grate my nerves because I feel guilty for having been in the situation at all. As people tell you their opinions of your choice they’re not able to factor in the less than favorable circumstances surrounding the decision. I’m far more surprised that I can get through the praise than I can the explanations of these highly undesirable conversations. I’ve wondered a million times whether I’d be happier if someone berated me for my decision. It’s almost as if I want to have to defend my choice out loud so that I don’t keep cycling through these god-awful feelings of regret.
And those feelings are mostly what have been eating me. I know Max is loved. I know that he is safe. I know that he will never be without material needs. I know that he feels all the love he’s given because I’ve quite honestly never seen a newborn smile in so many photos! All that and yet I feel the motherly pang of regret. I’d fought to better my situation so that I could raise my first two children, why did it seem that I was giving up on this one? Feeling that way immediately triggers a sense of selfishness. Then I go through the entire cycle of feeling as if I shouldn’t feel selfish for feeling something so natural. However, I get gut-check moments from others sometimes. I was speaking with my social worker from the agency and as I mentioned getting photos from the adoptive parents she said, “So how are your kids?”
Your? The world should have stopped turning in that moment. It may have been harmless, but the way it slapped me in the face I couldn’t process it that way for the life of me. But I answered her the way she wanted and pretended like I didn’t want to yell. Amazing how “your” and mere suggestion of separation of how I classify Max from my two children at home angered me. I consider them siblings. They consider Max their little brother. Is that wrong? Because that “your” and the other ways she (either on her own or by procedure) found little ways of telling me that Max was not mine really got to me. I wanted to remind her that she was there as I signed my relinquishment…she saw my tears and heard my sobs as I read the document–I obviously comprehended the gravity of it all. I knew that Max was legally no longer my child and that I had no further claim on him.
Tell that to my body, though. Mother nature herself had been quick to remind me that I am the mother of a newborn child. Lactating (still!), contracting, hormonal swings, and PAIN all rolled through me full tilt. It took this situation to make me realize that taking care of a newborn during this period is what helps it go by much faster. Instead I felt every pop of my hips and pelvis, every crick in my back, and every gory sensation that is expected after giving birth…but it seemed specifically extended and poignant in Max’s absence. Nine months of pregnancy and I’m supposed to snap to because ink dried? …cute, lady!
I will never, ever be so nearsighted as to tell a birth mother that the child she bore is not hers. Even if she is the type of birth mother to have happily washed her hands of the entire situation. Don’t they teach diplomatic response to these people who work with women in these situations? Although I’d always acknowledged Max’s adoptive parents as his parents and had no problem accepting them as mommy and daddy to him, I still had the natural connection to him as my biological son. I care about him, I love him, and I want the best for him. There’s no amount of corporate or social training in the world to make a mother less cognizant of the fact that her child is a direct part of her….so why not just avoid causing that type of pain? Especially in a person who has made every attempt to show support to the child and the new parents! Especially if post-partum counseling has been forgone or forgotten by the agency. I can tell any agency worker or adoptive parent (from all those little incidents I previously mentioned) that you should do more to not act like the baby is your investment that you are staking claim in or that the birth mother should be leashed. No bueno.
I have NEVER used terms of possession in regard to Max when communicating with his mom. I know how insulting and/or threatening that could be. I know to be courteous of her love for him. Why would a professional not know to show the same courtesy to the woman who gave birth to the child?
As I continue to churn through the expected roller coaster that comes for birth moms after the baby has gone home with its family, I am also churning through normal single parent frustrations. School uniforms, supplies, lunch items, snacks, homework, bedtime, and my own school admission process has been a welcome distraction from all the the things my body, my peers, and my social worker hint at, scream, or say. Funny how you get “friendly” little reminders of your situation even if you’re the first to acknowledge it. C’est la vie.
For other birth mothers out there, I’m including a poll asking about your experiences with your agency, worker, and the adoptive family. I’d love to get feedback (and comments) on what others are dealing with or simply feedback from someone who found themselves here in passing 🙂
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