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.