January 12, 2014 § 10 Comments
Nothing I do or say matters. I will never be taken seriously. I cannot make anyone see what it’s like to be a birth mother.
I don’t like using that simplistic term, but I say it now because that’s what other people say, and often disrespectfully. They will not say you are a mother who lost her beloved baby shortly after birth. They will not believe in your love, in your tears, and your grief. They won’t understand what the big deal is. You made a lucky couple happy, you gave a child a “better” life, you get to pretend none of it ever happened. Win-win-win! Go back to whatever you were doing before. It doesn’t matter that you and your child are separated. You’re a BIRTHmother. You’re just a vagina and a belly pouch. An egg donor. That’s how you are viewed legally, medically, and socially, but worst of all is that your own child may be taught to view you this way, as less important, as someone not worthy of respect.
I am addressing a young lady I stumbled across who is planning on adoption for her unborn son. She is obviously middle-class, young, and LDS. As I live in a state that is 62% LDS, I am familiar with the religion and the culture, and the enormous value that they place on adoption is one of my strongest gripes with them. They are not simply a church that needs to move past their 1950s stance on single parenthood, they are also a global corporation that makes a handsome sum from infant adoption. So I don’t think I’m incorrect in saying that bishops and elders are extremely biased and therefore inappropriate people for an unmarried, pregnant woman to speak to.
I feel bad for this girl. I can only imagine the coercion present in being LDS and contemplating adoption. I merely had the grave misfortune of living in an adoption-friendly state and having the entire quality of my life affected by those same unjust laws, where sweet LDS ladies are allowed to separate families at the same speed as a fast food drive-thru window. But for this girl, the choice is already made–with plenty of input from her family, church, and community. And afterwards, there will be continuous pressure to be happy, obedient, grateful, to justify that pain to herself as being worth it. Is it really?
I’ve noticed that my most-viewed page, right after the home page that shows my most recent posts, is September 2012. Immediately after clicking on my blog and developing a morbid interest in another person’s grief storm, people want to read the beginning. I’m glad. My first few posts are the only ones that matter. Ever since then, there is nothing new, just the same pain, over and over and over again. I might gain some new perspective, I might suffer some new injustice, but I will always be marked and changed by that same fresh pain I wrote about only six weeks after giving up my baby. It still hurts.
If an expectant mom is considering adoption and reads this, that’s all I want them to know. That giving up a baby hurts. It hurts like nothing you’ve ever felt. That pain is not worth anything. It’s not worth your child being raised in a rich family. It’s not worth the freedom and mobility of being childless. It’s not worth the extra chances to move up the socioeconomic ladder. It’s not worth receiving those photos and those letters that are everything you will ever know about your child. It’s not worth making another couple happy.
Yes, there are some moms who think it was worth it and claim they are happy they gave away their children. They’re entitled to their beliefs. Just as I am entitled to my belief that they are often too brainwashed and scared to examine the situation honestly.
But which will you be?
Will you be at peace with adoption? Or will you be like me, who laughs at the thought?
There is no way to know while you are still pregnant.
I thought I would be fine with it. I believed I was different. I was sure I could handle it. I wouldn’t listen to anything that challenged me and made me sad or uncomfortable. I was just like you.
I understand the influences this girl has in her life, from her church and community, and I don’t expect to go against that. I didn’t jump all over her and criticize her. I never hoped to change her mind. All I suggested was that she waits before signing an irrevocable consent to relinquish. Wait longer than 24 hours or 72 hours, because they will want her signature as soon as legally possible. I said that you cannot process everything for days after giving birth, so give yourself that chance to leave the hospital and parent your baby at home. The adoptive parents have lots of time to bond with the baby if you choose adoption. And don’t worry about bonding “too much” with the baby, as I did. Adoption is not like pulling off a band-aid. It doesn’t hurt less just because you do it quickly.
Respectful advice, or so I thought. I never knew these things. I thought I had to sign after 24 hours. There is nothing bad that can come from having additional time to recover and make the decision with a clear head.
Instead I was criticized for being negative and for extrapolating my “bad experience” onto her.
No, we will never learn. We will keep believing what we want to believe until it’s too late.