Thursday, January 18, 2007

Uncovering

OK. What do I have to say? I woke up this morning looking afresh at the past. How do I pull this together? Suz's posting of Joss Shawyer's article http://www.exiledmothers.com/voices_from_exile/february2003.html initiated another roll of the adoption story in my psyche. The article included this: "... the first mother must deal with her own pain in another forum, by entering into therapy, by talking to other women who understand, by kicking holes in a wall, by doing whatever helps." What a concept! I didn't know I needed help, support. I thought I was supposed to be a grown woman now, competent, with children "of my own". It was the "children of my own" that gave me the first glimmer of what I was dealing with. Originally I had no shame, only pain. I didn't care who knew about my failure at motherhood. The pain was much more important to acknowledge than trying to keep up appearances. My parents were the ones that didn't want anyone to know - wanted me to get on with my life productively, to put the past behind me. I distanced myself from them because they didn't want to talk about the most important event of my life. Moving on was messy, but I moved and moved and moved. Until 12 years later when my son was born. And I devoted myself to motherhood, with insecurity as well as gusto.

Buster and Ezzy were in school, (spouse) was in graduate school. I was teaching kindergarten. We'd moved to the midwest, learning to live with ice and cold. And (out of the blue) Joy calls. A new kind of fear entered my consciousness. For the first time I was ashamed. I tried to look at the situation through Buster's eyes. How could I tell him I had given my firstborn away? I was his mother! What would he think? If I could sacrifice one child, why not him? What in the world was keeping me and him together? What in the world could have separated his beloved grandparents from their first grandchild? Projecting myself into his point of view was horrifying.

I tried to put distance between him and Joy, to make it impossible that I could have done something so horrible. I had to make it not horrible, just something that happened that he couldn't, wouldn't have to possibly understand. Nobody wanted to acknowledge what had happened. Everyone had their own reasons. They all had to do with it being too horrible. I clung to and repeated the story I'd been fed, about how my baby was wanted by a family that could really take care of her, really love and support her, in the way I couldn't. I was too young. I didn't go into the shaming of how it was also because I had no husband. Or that my parents refused to help me with my child. Or that I was just too alone to raise a child. I didn't want my kids to see their mother as a loser, unwanted. So I made it out like it was all ok(!?!?!?!) Yep everything's fine here. Don't you worry about a thing. We're a happy family here.

All that trauma, all that pain would just have to go someplace else. That's supposed to be a secret. That didn't even really happen. So yeah, Joy and I will have an occasional phone call. We'll write letters, see each other every couple of years. We even started an email correspondence of frequent misunderstandings that is so damn messy we'll just keep it away from Buster and Ezzy. There's something wrong with Mom and Joy but it's their problem. No one else needs to be brought into their mess.

When Buster and Ezzy became hormonally charged teenagers I brought up the fact that I personally knew that an unplanned pregnancy was devastating. Losing my baby to adoption was the worst experience of my life and should be avoided at all costs. But I haven't yet told them that it was the worst thing that ever happened to my baby too. They are no longer 'teens'. They are doing well. I am sharing more and more about my relationship with Joy and her beauty and success. I have fantasies about moving more and more into "normalcy", meaning open acceptance of all of my family, my three children knowing each other, knowing they are siblings, not separated. They grew up in a strange kind of broken home, separated. I am bringing them together inside myself, so I can share them with each other and give them the choice to share with each other too.

This blogosphere is my therapy.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I can tell you are integrating parts of yourself and becoming "whole". I enjoy reading about how you and others are coming to grips with a traumatic event in your past. It isn't easy for you or them but the "connection" and healing it can bring makes it worthwhile.

kim.kim said...

Maybe it is "messy" because you keep her seperate from her siblings? I mean either she's a family member or she isn't? Perhaps I am being too simple minded, I really don't know.

Joy said...

Kim--

I am NOT a family member that was clearly decided.

She didn't claim me.

Or that is what I was told.

She claimed her other two children.

So that makes me irrelevant in the equation.

I think the focus being on her son, the FEAR that he MIGHT imagine, what ACTUALLY HAPPENED to me, makes that really clear.

So when you post it as a question like that, she is a family member or isn't she, clearly I lay in the isn't answer.

Although I am a mind of you don't get to pick and choose like that.

Which is my belief, but my belief doesn't influence anyone else's or their behavior kwim?

Being Me said...

Being Me said...
Yes Kim, That certainly exacerbated the messiness. Our separation was definitely of the BSE and I didn't claim her. I denied any "rights" to her based on a belief that I really didn't have any. Some self esteem issues there. The messiness that lingers is somthing else. I am no longer separating her from her siblings.

Dear Joy, You continue influencing behavior with your magic. You are exceedingly relevant to me and mysteriously so to my other kids. I am sorry this is so hurtful. I'm working to get clear of misunderstandings and lies. I'm sorry if it hurts you.

suz said...

awww, gosh. i so relate and i am a mom that was born probably close to the time your joy was born. proves how little things change.

yes, i understand. i have done my best to learn from my older sisters like you and not make the same mistakes. thank you for sharing your experience so younger moms like me can learn.

yes, blogging is indeed therapy. very much so.

hugs.

kim.kim said...

Do you mean in your heart you didn't claim her when she was tiny and all the years lost to you?

You claim her now though don't you?

I can't relate to this at all, so you have to excuse all my questions.

Being Me said...

I mean when I "signed the papers" and lost her, I lost her. I felt that I didn't want to contaminate her with my longing, unrequited crap. I was trying to make as clean a break as I could, thinking it would be for her best interest. I prayed for her every day because that was all I felt I had the right to. When she found me again I had a lot of fears of losing her again. I never let go after that. Now I know she always was mine and always will be. It's taken a lot of time to get to acknowledge that.

suz said...

yes, your feelings are quite common for a BSE mom. That is the crap you were fed talking. You believed (becuase you had to) that you had no claim or right and she was gone. But in your cells, in your molecules, hidden was always the primal known fact that she was yours. It can be very disconcerting when those two worlds collide. Its often one of the reasons moms deny contact. They just cannot handle that collision of competing realities.

Being Me said...

Secrets and lies always lead to trouble it seems. But I had no idea how much.

Suz I really have learned a lot from you.

Kim, I appreciate your questions. I am just learning to ask questions.

Anonymous said...

I thankyou for sharing your "journey" through the mess that is adoption.
You, and other mum's, help me to understand the "mum" side of this mess.
Hugs to you.
C.
xx