Just Sitting with It; Not Fighting, Not Struggling, Not Suffering

hello darkness my old friend

Sad Determined Acceptance of Adoption Grief

hello darkness my old friend

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I’ve come to talk with you again….

 

Welcome to November. As a chill takes to the air and most folks go digging for warmer clothes, I start to think about the extra layer I wear for the mid weeks in November – the very familiar feelings of “Adoption Birthday Triggering.”

I know you know what I mean;

the unavoidable random thoughts and feelings that seep through our thoughts no matter what positive intention we might hope in vain for; bringing you back, body and mind, to the moments etched deep in your soul as you both say hello and say goodbye to a baby soon relinquished to adoption.

the actual physical ache of our cells screaming in rebellion and remembering how much it just hurt to have our babies taken form arms by any means… no matter of it was forced, or coerced, shamed or chosen… making you tired and jumpy all at once, short tempered, distracted, spinning thoughts from shallow to deep and back again with such a velocity that it literally can cause nausea.

holding back, wound so tight, trying to keep it all in, acting normal while inside walking on eggshells, around even yourself, fearing any outside influence upon the false sense of protection will break though the carefully controlled damn of emotions and set the cascade of tears in motion.

and the deepest fear of all, that once begun, the tears will never stop – that you could travel to that blackest of all places in your pain and never be able to find your way out again.

Yeah, I know you know.

Wearing the Veil of a Birthmother’s Grief

This is my 27th year post relinquishment, so really, I know what to expect. I know what this feels like. I once wrote about this, comparing it to an old shroud, a mourning veil, a tired worn, threadbare sweater that I must wear until it falls off my bones. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I think that is the thing now that is hardest to come to terms with in my life. It is not the how or why or what lead up the relinquishment; it’s not the forces, nor my own culpability or ignorance, nor the repercussions- except the absolute permanency of this condition.  I truthfully have come to a point where I no longer expect that things will actually get better for me, for this birthmother. There is little else I can do, that can change the reoccurrences of this state of November, to ever un-know the affect of my child’s absence upon my life. It is a sad realization that this is as good as I can reasonably hope to expect. It’s the looking forward, knowing that I will never be without that old sweater, that darkness always as a constant companion, that I still want to revolt against.

But the futility, I do truly fear. And so, really, all I can do is open my arms and embrace it.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

A Crumpet and a Spot of Dread

I actually really do mean that. I’m not trying to fight this wave of unavoidable birthday emotions. I am not going to push them away. They will swam like a mass of fruit flies and avoid my swats no matter what I do. I am, instead, prepared for what may come; a determined resilience, not resistance.

I’m not looking for them, mind you, but when the thoughts fly at you like arrows, there is little to do to swerve in time, you take the hit. Soon upon arising this AM, I enter the bathroom and my brain informed me that, “You went into labor today.”  Now, this phrase keeps ricocheting around my skull repeating the words in a permanent echolalia. The most I can do is try to catch it and give it a place to rest.

Yes, I purposely choose my outfit for today; comfy leggings and my leopard print slippers, a comfy t-shirt under a big thick warmy sweater and a black beanie cap, no makeup. If I want, I WILL be allowed to take an afternoon break; curl up with my kitty and watch Law and Order repeats until I doze off.

Yup, I literally tell folks in my life that they cannot expect too much of me until after the 19th- until then I cannot trust that I will be 100% present enough to really “be” myself when parts of me are traveling back thought time and still trying to understand the trauma still.

And I share it. I share what this is, what it feels like, that it is normal and expected for the birthmother population. No, I am not crazy and no, either are you.

babymax1 babymax6

I posted these images this morning on Facebook. Yes, it’s Ok that I feel sad today. Today marks the anniversary of the end of a person I could have been, who I was becoming, and instead, I stumbled. It’s right that this is a sad occasion for it is a loss and though years have passed, I still her/me in there. I look objectively and shake my head in sorrow wondering how “she” feels or I can allow myself it feel and inside, the worst reality sets in; I know how she feels for I am her, she is me, this is my life and I will never be able to undo being a birthmother, the mistakes I am about to make so soon after these pictures… and in response my soul cries,  “NO, I don’t want to live THIS life!”

But she-I-her-me cannot hear us – it is too late.

“It’s the only life we have”, I respond instead, “and we have no choice.” And so I do what we all must continue to do and just breathe in again and then breath out.  And make it to another day.

And I will. I will make it to another day and then another after that. And that’s I guess my point right now. Today is hard, tomorrow, his birthday, will be too. Then in my mind, we leave the hospital and then sign the consent, so 72 more hours of painful memories, but not more than a week more. It’s Ok if the damn breaks and I cry. I will not fall in the vortext. I know the way out. I’m OK.  I’m just sitting here with my feelings and letting them wash over me.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

4 Comments on "Just Sitting with It; Not Fighting, Not Struggling, Not Suffering"

  1. Michelle Pellegri | November 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm |

    “I think that is the thing now that is hardest to come to terms with in my life. It is not the how or why or what lead up the relinquishment; it’s not the forces, nor my own culpability or ignorance, nor the repercussions- except the absolute permanency of this condition. ” Oh, how I understand this all too well. Thank you for writing this. Big hugs to you today from a fellow first mother.

  2. “It is a sad realization that this is as good as I can reasonably hope to expect. It’s the looking forward, knowing that I will never be without that old sweater, that darkness always as a constant companion, that I still want to revolt against.” This is a profound statement and the truth of being a first mother.

    My sister has proposed my family gather to celebrate Christmas the week after this year. The son I lost to adoption was born on December 30, so I know I will not likely feel up to joining in. When my family gathers – everyone has all their children present (including my parents) except for me. Even though we are in contact, my first-born son will never join us for a variety of reasons, and therefore, my only grandchild will not be there either. I need that time to be gentle and turn toward comfort and nurturing of the girl inside who had just turned 17 when my life changed forever. Thank you for sharing, but I must say I hate this is the reality of life for all of us. Hugs to you today and thanks for addressing this topic.

  3. Those pictures made me cry.

  4. My child is 30.. I miss him every day. The pain of loss is more than I can live with. I can see no escape.

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