deaf ears

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.

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§ 10 Responses to deaf ears

  • blackout says:

    It just astounds me and makes me ill to think that it is actually legal to take, or pressure for consent within those first 24 hours or less! I mean you are still laying there bleeding and exhausted, and having just been through one of the most physically and emotionally draining experiences of your life; and then they they are shoving the paper in you face as fast as they can. I don’t think it had even been a full 24 hours for myself and I thought I pretty much had no choice but to sign it then and there, NOBODY tells you what your rights are and they treated her father like he just did not exist at all. Fucking bastards.

    I’m glad you tried to help this girl, there is no harm in encouraging someone to take their time and not be pressured to sign before they are ready. Sadly, she will most likely soon be one of us, and then she will know what we know. Maybe it will take a few years for the happy birth mommy martyrdom to wear thin, but there will more than likely come a time where she is confronted by the unending vastness of her loss. It’s only a matter of time for most of us. Do you read Another Version of Mother? We live in the same city. She was pressured to give up her child by her LDS church and family. She has come to her senses, too late unfortunately. Her story is heartbreaking.

    • Another Version of Mother and Letters to Ms Feverfew are two great blogs that have helped me understand the LDS influence on adoption. Like I said, it’s as if they’re still in the 1950s. With their emphasis on family and genealogy, their stance is cruel and hypocritical. Adoption is far too common and shamelessly promoted here.

      It makes me sick too. Clearly the only reason that’s legal is to benefit the adoptive parents. I hate my son’s parents just because they came here, no one who cares about ethics would adopt from my home state!!

      I wish I had someone talking to me about my other options and how important it is to take time to decide. I was so set on adoption, I really believed i had no choice and no one would help me. The agency and prospective a-parents were a huge influence. I may not have been convinced to parent while I was still pregnant but i felt differently soon after birth. Not soon enough, unfortunately. I fear the same for this girl. It seems she wanted to parent early on in her pregnancy, until the church and agency sunk their claws in and now she is spouting all the same garbage about “right thing” and “better life.” It is so sickening.

  • Gidget says:

    Thank you for your insights. You write and express your thoughts so beautifully. Keep writing keep bringing unethical adoption to people’s minds. I believe it is certainly unethical to place any pressure on a pregnant woman and to have consents without a lengthy cooling off period.

  • CSherm says:

    You speak an unfortunate truth from beginning to end. Much love to you, Ariel <3

  • complicatedwaltz says:

    I’m sorry you weren’t heard. For your sake, and for hers.

  • Robyn C says:

    24 hours is definitely not enough time. I also believe that social workers, counselors, attorneys, and the like need to stress to expectant moms (and dads) that the time between birth and being allowed to sign TPR is a *minimum*. It’s not a deadline. They should be told that they can take as long as they want.
    I’ve tried to steer people away from adopting in UT. I imagine you’ve heard about the birthfather suing the state for over $100 million for violating his rights? I’m wondering what the outcome of that case might mean for making adoption laws in UT at least a bit more ethical.

    • blackout says:

      Robyn, I really hope his suit is successful. No, it will not bring his child back, but I hope it will set a precedent for others who think that they can come to Utah for a fly by night adoption without paternal consent.

      Ariel, was David asked to give his consent?

      • They said they didn’t need his signature, but it was “better” if they had it. David and i were not dating the last 2/3rds of my pregnancy but they did encourage me to stay in touch with him and obtain his consent. Also, they pushed for him to sign his TPR prior to birth. In Utah, the father can legally do that. He refused and said no, he wanted to be at the hospital and do it then.

        Utah gives zero shits about fathers, and same goes for C and L. Aside from barely saying a word to him, the agreement was to send updates to both of us, and I’m the only one who has ever received anything.

  • Ursula says:

    I’m sorry you had to give up your child. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it must have been, and still is. I really hope that in the years to come that you are either reunited or are allowed to contact each other even if it is just for and hour so you can tell your son the truth.

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