Birthmothers Dealing With A Life of Grief

Living the Life of a Birthmother

Giving my son away to adoption in 1987

Dealing with Birthmother Grief the Only Way I Know How

This blog is mostly about living as a birthmother because since November 18th, 1987, that has been the only way I have left to live. That’s the day I signed the relinquishment papers in some dark office in Newton, MA and there has never been a way to get back to the life that could have been. I gave away my baby to people I had never met and then tried to go on living my life as the agency and everyone else expected me to. It didn’t work.

Adoption Affects Birthmothers for a Lifetime

So, more than 23 years later; adoption is a huge force on my life affect me and my whole family every single day. I have no choice anymore. I can’t go back and change it, so I blog. Chances are, if you have found your way here to this blog, you are needing to know what it means to live the life of a birthmother.

That means you are most likely:

  • Another birthmother
  • Pregnant and thinking about placing your baby for adoption
  • Are an adoptee
  • Could be an adoptive parent or considering adopting a child or infant either domestically or through international adoption
  • Know, care for, love, are sibling of, are married to, in a relationship with, researching on, or
  • somehow interested in one or all of the above.

That’s good. Because most things I write about are related to birthmothers, adoption and adoptee rights in some way, shape or form. I’m definitely a “niche blogger”.

No Escape from the Birthmother Club

I think the most important thing to know about living the life of a birthmother is that it is never over. It comes in and settles on our skins and we can never wash it out. Forever stained and continuously affected in ways we never dreamed. And no one can tell us how it feels, or prepare us for what it feels. There are so many things I never knew about being a birthmother until after I let adoption into my life and then it was too late.

What Adoption Experts Told Us to Expect was Wrong.

We can’t get over it.

We don’t always go on to have other children when we are “ready”.

  • It didn’t get easier as time went on.
  • The sense of peace actual erodes if you are lucky enough to buy into
  • it for a while.
  • Our children were not always better off.
  • Reunion isn’t always a perfect happy ending.
  • The years are gone forever.
  • We are hurt. We are sad. And it won’t go away but only changes through time.
  • And you ask yourself “What is wrong with me?”
  • It’s not you.

Adoption Doesn’t Play Out the Way the Professionals Told Us

How you are feeling is normal and you are not alone. Because so many of us feel this way. And if you don’t, well then god bless you and I mean that in the purest of ways. God bless that you have somehow managed to avoid the pitfalls that comes with many lives of birthmothers; the grief, the loss, the unavoidable sadness around your child’s birthday and holidays, your sensitivity to all things adoption and or baby related. If you’re not in the same reality I am, then who am I to push it? But for so many of us, I think we have to face the fact that the birthmother rules that were provided to us was a bunch of untried hopeful theories based on now debunked beliefs regarding the human psyche.

Please know, again, you are not alone. There are many of us out there and many, most of us, feel this way. If you are looking for additional support, there are many adoption support networks, groups, and pages on Facebook.

Adoption Relinquishment = Trauma = Unresolved Grief

I think I write about adoption so I don’t have to feel it. I hate feeling it close within my own life. Sometimes, I’ll be listening to someone else’s adoption story and I will think “How horrible. How can they live with that in their lives?” and for a second I will forget. And then it hits me and I know that I don’t have to image how that person feels affects by adoption.

I know because I live it too. And I hate that about my life.

For non birthparents, the closest way I can describe it is this: When I watched the towers fall on 9-11, I know I shared with millions of fellow human beings the shock and horror of that day. As the day went from bad to worse to unbelievable, we collectively thought ” how can this be happening? No, this isn’t true!”

And if though hope and desire alone, we could have made it stop, we would have; but we could only watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolded. That’s the feeling I get when I allow myself to actually feel the deep loss that accompanies the reality of placing my son to adoption.

While I will always miss the sight of the Twin Towers in the New York skyline, I can only drum up a pale vestige of the complete physical revulsion and horror that accompanied that fateful day. Even when I watch the news footage. But, when I think about Max’s adoption, I could be 19 years old all over again and sitting in that hospital rocking chair getting ready for that last goodbye all over again.

And so I blog about being a birthmother instead of feeling that pain alone.

I share it with you.

More Posts About Life as a Birthmother

 



Adoption: No, NOT Much has Changed in 40 Years

cub the birth parent group

Lee Campbell might as well be the prophet of doom as she speaks about how the pro-adoption stance is growing and how the demand for adoption has begun to increase the stories of forced adoption, unethical practices, and unnecessary separation of families. She calls it.. right on the nose.. THIRTY YEARS AGO. read more…

The Highs and Lows of The Birthmother Chapter

Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood; Across Cultural Differences; A Reader:

Whats More Evil? The word “Birthmother” or the fights caused over it? So, while I hate, hate, hate, the adoption terminology wars and refuse to participate in them, I’m going to break my rules because I also hate, hate, hate assumptions and all the rest too. And since I was literally forced to deal with this today, rather than just enjoying the printed thrills of having my book come in the mail, I’m going to go there. read more…

Birthmother Wars; When the Positive Fight the Negative

subconscious external justification amoung birthmothers in adoption

“This Support Group is SO Negative!”

Lately, it seems that someone who feels “Ok’ about their choice, will express displeasure at what they see as lack of support. Which pretty much ends up being another long drawn out discussion where the Polly Positives complain about the Negative Nancys and the Negative Nancys defend their right to be negative. Rinse, wash, repeat. read more…

The Act of Redemption in the Adoption Process

• In doing what is best for her child, she fulfills her need to see herself as a good mother and accept the pain of relinquishment. In this way, she transforms agony of the entire story into a redemptive experience where she becomes a heroine in her own eyes and in the eyes of others.

Yes, if I am trying to be completely honest and self aware, then I have to admit that some aspect of my motivation to do this work, my obsession with all things adoption, is a form of redemption. I can see that I am making up for the mistake of relinquishment, but I am not 100% sure who I am redeeming myself to. read more…

New Jersey’s Golden Cradle Adoption Inc; More Unethical Adoption Agency Hyjinks 

case of a revocation of an adoption relinquishment consent in Pennsylvania, but Golden Cradle Adoption is insisting that the Adoption in a New Jersey Adoption.

Met Ana; she was told that she had the 30 day revocation timeframe under PA law because she is from PA, she lives in PA, she was told the family lived in PA, and the baby was born in PA, only to now be told that it’s a New Jersey adoption. Of course, New Jersey does not have a revocation of adoption consent period recognized by law. How convenient. read more…

Thinking More About the Birthmother Closet

dead birthmothers in the closet

Sometimes, I literally surprise myself when I say things. I did that while on the show. If you note, I did mention the “skeleton” in the closet in my “before” writing. Rather expected and cliché, I know, but when I took it literally, as a real set of bones, which did mean that something died in the closet; then the visual became, I think, a powerful truth. If there is a real place called the birthmother Adoption Closet, then what really died inside was the mother we were supposed to be before surrendering. read more…

There Is No Escaping Mother’s Day for Birthmothers

There is no escaping from Mother’s Day.

On a day meant to honor motherhood, you can’t help thinking of the one you never get to see. You can’t help missing those who are missing from your life. Mother’s Day, like birthdays and holidays of any sort, become a time to reflect and wonder where your child is and who he honors on that day. Does he think of you? Does he wonder? What is his name and are his eyes as blue? read more…

Emotional Unpacking; One Week After the American Adoption Congress Conference

AAC 2014 adoption conference

So Much Adoption in Just Five San Francisco Days. After going to more than a few adoption conferences, it might seem silly to say that they are life changing events. I mean, really, how many times can one’s life really change? But I have to say, that I did walk away with one giant realization when I got home. read more…

Missing Persons

Missing persons no closure

What’s the Difference? Family of the Missing Plane or Mother from Adoption

I personally find it difficult to understand why our society in general can grasp these families grief, yet they can’t understand or even acknowledge a mother of adoption loss’ grief. Do mothers not warrant the same compassion and empathy as those that lose a loved one in another fashion? Loss is loss. Grief has no rules as to which situation grants the right to grieve. read more…

The Adoption Pendant: Born from Kay Jeweler’s Adoption Ad Blunder

the first broken heart adoption pendant

I can’t say enough good things about the broken heart Adoption Necklace. It actually does make a great gift for adoptees and birth mothers as is one of the only pieces of jewelry I have ever seen that accurately represents the reality and truth of adoption. read more…

The Birthmother Shift – 12 Years In an Adoption Fog

shifts in birthmother understand and adoption losses

At or around age 12, childhood is over.
And for birth mothers, it is obvious that we missed the whole thing. It’s over. Our child is in the final stages of growing up without us. Their whole childhood is gone. They grew up without us. It’s done. read more…

Birthmother Commentary: On and Off Line

What Society Thinks of Birthmothers in Adoption

If birthmothers had to be identified all the live long day some people might find the need to pelt us with rocks or at least, if one was ever to take seriously what one reads online, hurl vast insults and barbed comments as we went about our days. I could see a lot of us spending a lot of time in tears because what people say out of fear or weird anger or ignorance or just plain judgment can be really harsh. read more…

Birthmother Gaslighting Manipulation by the Adoption Industry

Birthmother Gaslighting Manipulation by the Adoption Industry

I know many birthmothers who have “chosen” to relinquish a child to adoption have great difficulty explaining the very subtle coercion and thought process that goes into it. It’s not so obvious to be called brainwashing. It is often not forceful enough to be openly accepted as coercion. We don’t even know or want to call ourselves “victims”. Is it the sophisticated manipulation tactic known as “Gaslighting”? read more…

Rainbow Unicorns and The Mythical Birthmother Who Wants to Relinquish Her Child

Rainbow Unicorns and The Mythical Birthmother Who Wants to Relinquish Her Child

If there are other options that CAN BE sought BEFORE adoption, then the adoption itself, not matter how happy anyone claims to be, is a tragedy. “What about the mothers who truly aren’t able to parent?” If we want adoption to really be a good thing, ethical, and used as it should then we have to then ask, ‘What is the obstacle in her way that is making it less than idea for this mother to parent this baby? read more…