contrast and compare

October 20, 2012 § 18 Comments

Shortly after I started writing on wordpress, I began searching all over the internet, hellbent on finding someone with my same exact story. But that never happened, and I felt just as isolated as I did before. Of course we are all as unique as can be, but I guess I wanted to find someone who had screwed up in all the same ways. Maybe if I found that person, they could tell me exactly how I could feel better. On both counts, I was bound to be disappointed.

I did find a girl who also found out she was pregnant at 27 weeks, so I felt like less of an idiot about finding out so late. I found many who were disillusioned and in denial and never thought about life after placement. I found many who had complicated, painful relationships with the birth father. The themes of loss, missing your baby, questioning your motherhood, feeling misunderstood, and being changed forever were all prevalent.

After reading so many blogs, I became jealous of certain aspects of some birth mom’s situations. I’m not proud of that, but it’s difficult not to compare.

For example, most were opposed to abortion, while that was my first reaction to finding out I was pregnant. I was just too far along in my pregnancy to get one. That makes me feel like shit now; I’m glad my son is in the world. I envy those who had the full nine months to decide. I had three months, and I panicked. Some had good relationships with the birth father before and/or after placement. I’m definitely jealous of that.

Some have very open arrangements with the adoptive parents, and I wish I had that too. I don’t need to hang out with them every weekend. But they live so far away that visits are out of the question. Mostly, I wish we could correspond by e-mail or be friends on facebook. I wish I hadn’t agreed to 6-month updates. I didn’t realize how long six months is when it’s your baby and you think about him at nearly every moment. It’s been two and half months, and I’m on the verge of exploding. I just want to know everything! I have so many questions. I want to see new pictures of him all the time, instead of looking at the same old pictures of his first two days of life. Babies grow and change so quickly.

I wish the agency wasn’t mediating our contact, too. That really irritates me. But I know I’d sound like a serial killer if I asked for direct contact. It’s so insulting. I trusted them with my baby, but I’m not trusted with their e-mail or home addresses? Or their last name? I found everything with one Google search! L has a wikipedia page due to his career. Honestly, I had no idea that it was mediated, up until that shattering moment when David and I wheeled the bassinet down the hall. Before leaving, I mentioned to C and L that I’d written letters I wanted them to have, but I forgot to bring them to the hospital. Their caseworker said, “Just send them to us, we’ll send those to them.” My heart sank.

I never sent those letters I wrote while pregnant. Partly because I no longer mean anything I said at the time. Partly because I’m uncomfortable with the agency reading them (I’ve heard they do, so they can black out last names and other identifiers). And partly because I doubt C and L care about anything I have to say. If they do, they can say so, but they don’t.

Time goes so slowly now. Probably because I am so much more aware of it. Every Tuesday, I know it’s been one more week. Every day feels like a week.

I digress. Most bloggers I’ve read chose adoption because it was their only choice, while I had a family who would’ve helped me. I just didn’t understand at the time that keeping him would not have ruined my life. Losing a baby has done far more to that end. So in a way, I envy those birth moms who did it because they had to. I don’t envy their situations that led to having to make such a hard decision. But I envy their knowledge that they looked at every possible angle, contemplated parenting, and decided adoption was best. I didn’t even try. I just gave up.

That’s why I don’t stick to using “positive adoption language.” Why sugarcoat it? I say I gave up my baby, because that’s the truth.

Some are religious (often Mormon) and that seems to help, as they believe God is always with them or whatever. I don’t have that comfort. A few times I tried praying, as well as telling myself that this life doesn’t matter, and my son will be with me again. But I didn’t buy it, I don’t believe in afterlife or God. I think of the stars and the rocks and the vast time scale, and try to convince myself of my life’s insignificance in that way, too. That has helped me through past suffering. But it’s still my life, and it’s the only one I have. Knowing how small it is doesn’t take the hurt away.

I feel that most birth moms are stronger than I am. I don’t doubt that their pain is the same as mine or greater, but sometimes I berate myself, thinking that other birth moms deal with it better. I deal with pain, but it’s a facade. I can hold myself together and be normal, but I can’t claim to be truly happy. Not at this point in my life anyway. I don’t doubt I’m capable of being happy again. And we all grieve differently.

What I most envy, however, is that so few birth mom bloggers regret their decision. So if you’re wondering why I don’t buck up, go read another blog. Most of them are cheerier. Without exception, they all say it was hard and that they love their child, but many of them speak of the “joys” along with the challenges, and their faith in having done the right thing, and how the parents they chose are better than they would’ve been. I wonder if I will ever get to claim joy in this adoption thing. Maybe. In some ways C and L are better than me. Certainly they were better prepared to be parents, but they aren’t superior in every way. I know I will always regret. No matter how happy I am in the future, I know I won’t look back on this and say it was the right thing to do.

I don’t want to come across as immature or like I believe everyone should think like me. That’s not it at all. In trying to find common ground, I’ve realized we all are unique people leading different lives, and if anything, that should give me confidence to feel validated in who I am and how I feel. It helps to know I’m not alone.

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§ 18 Responses to contrast and compare

  • monk-monk says:

    Ariel, I am so sorry for your loss. And I am so sorry that our society paints adoption in such a positive light, because it is so full of grief for first moms and for their babies. As an adoptee, I do know some first moms who might be good support for you, because it’s not going to be easy, and society will try to tell you at every turn that you should get over it…

    I don’t have many more words, but know that I am thinking of you. I am sorry for your loss. Be true to your feelings, don’t try to sugarcoat and buy into that myth, your feelings are real and are valid.

  • Cheerio says:

    A friend sent me a link to your blog. I doubt our story is xactly the same, but the pain from losing our son is probably similar. I more than regret my decision, as most of the moms I know do too. It is really hard listening to girls chatter on with how good adoption is. About as good as being doused with acid is how i feel. I dont want o bring you down, but am here to listen. I am so sorry you know this pain. … Cheerio

    • don’t be silly, nothing you can say would bring me down! it does hurt me to know how many girls do know this pain, as well as the knowledge that they could have kept their baby. it just seems like most of the bloggers are positive, and yeah, that bothers me even more. it was people like them who convinced me adoption could be the right choice for pregnant girls in my situation. they have every right to state their opinions, but at the same time i want to tell them, how dare you advocate for this industry at all?

      it makes me sad to know how many infant adoptions there are every year, and how many bereaved mothers there must be. the media deplores those numbers as being too low, but i think we both know they are far too high. however, i feel happy and relieved every time i hear of a “failed placement” because i know that a mother and her child are going to stay together. :)

  • shannon2818 says:

    You sound very strong to me. Keep being real, you’re shedding light on the other side of a very important issue. I’m an adoptive mother, and I still think adoption is tragic.

  • jessicaspangler says:

    this sounds like all the mothers on first mother forum. you are very brave

  • Dot Girl says:

    Ariel,
    I know our stories are not “exactly” the same, but I share your experiences. I would love to sugar coat everything and say it will all be ok, but the truth is this is a loss and a painful one. My son was adopted 24 years ago when I was 19 and for a long time I thought I was ok. Truth is I really wasn’t. I can tell you that you will heal but do not let anyone tell you that you should “GET OVER IT” we never get over losing our babies. Stay strong young lady, make sure you do everything you can to first and foremost take care of you right now. My pain ebbs and flows, but I have learned to forgive myself just a little for allowing my son to to be adopted. It has taken me 15+ years of therapy to get to this place. I wish you love and peace, and encourage you to join a birth mother support group on Facebook or in your area.
    I will lastly say I never understand why people who adopt feel so superior to the women who give birth to the babies they raise. Fight for more contact with your child if you can, you deserve to know he is alright,loved and well cared for. You are not a second class citizen, you are a brave and beautiful woman who allowed them to care for your baby and they owe you a better relationship than what they are offering…they owe your son his true identity

    • thank you for all your support.

      i haven’t requested more contact, for a few reasons. the openness agreement did say “pictures and letters every 6 months” and that’s what i agreed to. i didn’t feel like i could request more than that without being obnoxious. going that long without contact sucks, and i didn’t realize how badly it would suck, but i can’t be the one to initiate extraneous contact. i don’t want to scare them away and risk getting less contact than i asked for.

      the other reason is that i don’t want to go through the agency. i’m not comfortable with that. if i could e-mail or snail mail directly to them, i’d be more likely to say, “hey, for my peace of my mind i would love to know how he’s doing. hope things are good.” but i don’t want to send that to the agency. i’m figuring if they send me anything at 6 months, i’ll write back, once, something polite and carefully worded. then hearing from me won’t be a nasty surprise. like i said, i can’t risk doing things wrong.

      you are right, they should feel they owe me, because i picked them. but i’m sure they are more focused on the excitement of a baby than thinking of me. nothing can be done about that.

  • Susie says:

    I don’t think you are any less strong than any other mom of adoption loss. I think we all learn to deal with the pain by putting on a facade. We have to ~ unless you are a mom of adoption loss you just can’t realize what that life is really like. We are looked at as though we have two heads if we dare speak out about adoption as being anything other than wonderful. The facade is often easier to cope with than the reality.

    As far as the cheery “birth mom” blogs… I wonder how many of them are putting on a facade themselves? How many of those happy bloggers feel as though they have to blog happy in order to avoid having the adoptive parents pull the rug out from under them? I know a few natural moms who have had that happen ~ their own grief and loss is used as a reason for closing an open adoption. They were told that it was for their own good, in order for them to “get on” with their lives and get past the grief. As though that is even possible. I also think that some of the natural moms blogging as being happy about it are simply trying to convince themselves that they are happy, for to face the reality of life without their child is just too much to even begin to think about. I lived in deep denial for almost 30 years until I was reunited with my son ~ and the repressed grief and loss has taken me almost 4 years now to cope with.

  • Susie says:

    It was hard coming to terms with it all after so many years. So very hard. So much so that I became convinced that the denial saved me. I didn’t have anyone in my life back then to help me through all of it. There was no internet to find other moms, my family was unable, society at large didn’t have a clue (although they still don’t). I really think that if I hadn’t gone into that denial I would have become an addict at least, a suicide victim of adoption loss at most.

    I’m glad that moms now are able to find others to help them deal with the loss from the beginning. I just wish that those of us speaking out could be heard by every mom considering adoption so that no other mother would have to live this life unless absolutely necessary.

  • maryanne says:

    Arial, in some ways I was you 44 years ago, especially in that I did just “give up” and never denied or repressed or got over giving up my first child. Not for a minute, although I wished I could and also thought I was not as “normal” as all those mothers who supposedly got over it and went on. Also prone to depression and if I had begged my parents they would have helped me but I did not say a word, feeling hopeless and entitled to no help in the midst of post partum depression and grief over being ditched by the man I loved, along with our child.

    Of course there are many differences too, nobody’ s stories are exactly alike, but you are certainly not the only mother to feel as you do so soon after surrendering, now or in past years. Some of us just can’t repress things like that, and those who do are often still under the thumb of the adoption agency who persuaded them that giving up a child was easy and mostly painless.Sooner or later that wears off for most mothers, as you can see by reading older mother’s writings of years of denial suddenly blown away by a crisis or a reunion.

    Don’t give up on yourself or your life, hard as it is. There are those of us out here who care about you, who have been there, who are not going to feed you cheery bullshit about the “good” in having given up a baby. Stay as strong as you can, love your purple colors, your kitty, and look up at the beautiful mountains that surround SLC. Connect with art and beauty and nature, and express your pain in ways that do not further harm yourself.

    From a fellow Capricorn, cat lover, who worked in a store and preferred selling in the men’s dept too:-)

    • i was also ditched by his father, who i really loved. wow, we do sound a lot alike! it must be love. <3

      as susie mentioned earlier, the internet is wonderful for seeing that you're not alone.

  • freebairn says:

    I have something I’d like to talk with you about…if you are okay with that, can you please email me? I’m at freebairn@ymail.com.

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