September 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
You are in my dreams every night. Your age varies–sometimes I’m older and I have a young boy holding my hand, sometimes you are still a newborn, occasionally you are not there but I have you in the dream, you’re just at home or something. It is torture. Often I have dreams without any visual images, just a deep feeling of sadness. Whether the dream is happy or sad, it’s always torture. I wake up crying and longing for you.
My dream today was the worst one yet. I fell asleep during the day, at around 2pm. In my dream I was going about life as usual, accompanied by the crushing sadness that follows me everywhere. I was walking along and encountered my family. They parked the car and started walking over, and I saw my sister taking you out of a car seat and carrying you. My heart leaped into my throat. I instantly took you into my arms and held you close, laughing and crying as I pressed my face against yours. I couldn’t do anything but that for a few minutes, and finally I asked what happened. My dad said that the adoption had been overturned, it was somehow legally invalid. I was so happy, I was crying tears of pure joy. You were happy too. You remembered me, you were smiling.
When I woke up, the pain of not having you there was so intense I thought I’d die. My breathing lurched and sputtered, tears streamed down my face. The dream felt so real. I’m sure a part of me knew that it was not. But the way it had taken place in present time, with you six weeks older than I’d seen you last, was overpowering. I could see and hear everything, especially you, so vividly. I could feel you against my body as I held you. I could smell your soft skin as I tearfully covered your face in kisses. And the way you responded to my voice and my touch. And the way you were able to coo and gurgle and smile at me, unlike when you were brand-new. And the notion that I had gotten you back somehow, that I would have my sweet little boy forever. It was almost worth the brief moment of happiness it brought me.
But I gave you up. You are not mine. Not for an intermittent period of time. Not as a reversible mistake. You are not part of my life and never will be, at least not as my child. The thought overwhelms me. I can’t process it on some days. Instead I look at my phone’s background picture, you with your perfect sweet face, and pretend I still have you somehow.
Holding you close to my body is one of the strongest ways I miss you. I crave it at every moment. I always want it so much. This lingering feeling, of just wanting to run home and hold you, is unreal! Not even my knowledge of the biological reasons behind it make me feel better. I try to tell myself that it doesn’t matter, that I am just wired to feel this way about my baby. But it does matter. I’m not above millions of years of evolution. I can’t feel good about my decision, no matter how I spin it, no matter how I try to be objective.
People exalt adoption as “loving and selfless,” but they have no idea. If I was an abusive psycho or a crackhead, relinquishment would be loving. But I’m not. Keeping you would have been far more loving and selfless. Of course I had a lot of concern for your future and your needs, and I thought of that, but I would say that far more selfishness went into my decision. I was so upset that I was pregnant. How could this happen to my perfect little life? I used to worry that the third trimester would be unpleasant, that giving birth would be painful, that my vagina might stay loose, that I might not lose the extra weight afterwards, that I’d have to buy new shoes because my feet grew during pregnancy. All of that evaporated once you were born. Suddenly, I couldn’t have cared less about me. I was willing to be poor, to spend all my time and energy on you, to wake up every two hours and feed you, to change diapers and get peed on and stay home all day and be fat and flabby and only have conversations in minute-long increments. I would have done it all happily.
No, giving you up was selfish. I should have accepted my fate in life when I found out I was pregnant, but I didn’t know then what being a mother does to you. It’s like having your brain taken over by an alien. I was stupid to think I was so different from every other woman who has a baby.
And furthermore, why is anyone expected to be “selfless” when it comes to their baby? Of course I’m selfish. Of course I want to care for my own baby. It is not my job to provide infertile couples with children. I am not and will never be that selfless. It’s hardly enough for me that I gave them so much happiness at the expense of my own. I am not reassured that someone else’s dreams came true, and my heart and soul and body are used up and dead. Your parents are great, but they had such a happy, full life before you. And I’m supposed to believe that they are somehow entitled to my baby just because they cannot have their own?
What am I even saying? This was my choice, albeit a stupid choice made during a crisis. And for that, I deserve whatever I get. I have no right to feel sorry for myself. I am clearly not worthy of you.
I just hope you know, nothing I do is nearly as good as having you. I go through the day not caring about any of it. I don’t want to be careless and free. I want to be turn back time, I want to be with you, I want to be your mother.