The Downward Spiral to a Birthmother

Pee stick of doom

This story begins here:” How to Begin a BirthMother: Chapter 1

I returned home from New York City, hastily packed, defeated, depressed, and full of fear.

Back to my room, back to the life of which I so wanted to get away from and this time without any dreams of escape. My physical load much lighter, but my heart filed with failure and regrets, now fearful and more doubtful of my abilities.

Let’s face it, I couldn’t pull it off. I failed at school. I failed at living on my own. I failed at keeping myself safe and I still needed my mother to bail me out. All I had left was my job and my social life and so, that’s what I did.

But the drama wouldn’t stop.

Working for lawyers proved to be very helpful when the 17th precinct called me. Jerry was trying to press charges for breaking into the apartment and getting my stuff. He was, claiming that I had stolen things from the apartment, that furniture and such was missing after my exodus. It was all such a blur. As I said, too many people had keys to that place and then we left it unlocked. I had stuff stolen from me and I have always assumed it was Maryanne or Cat..if nothing else, but for the reason that they things taken were the best in my “cool” wardrobe. Jerry would not have known what to take. He didn’t covet my belt and skirt. Whether the roomies helped themselves to more after they left, knowing my schedule and feeling entitled on revenge, whether things were really taken by some outside person or persons, or whether Jerry had stolen from himself to make me look bad and “get me”, who knows.

More panic, but also some anger on my part. One of the lawyers was kind enough to go to the precinct with me and talk to the police. Once explained of the situation and what he had had done, the police didn’t have any interest in me. They were definitely more interested in the illegal sublet part of the story and Jerry being a pervert. He couldn’t have been a very smart man to go to the police when his own actions were also clearly illegal. I can’t suppose that he would actually think that I would protect him and his money making schemes. He ended up screwing himself over big time, not that I ever found out what had really happened to him.

I do know that I was scared of him for a long time. I had visions of him stalking me, now even more crazed since the police were involved, even if it was his own doing. I felt that he wanted to “get” me, that he would hurt me if given the chance. I spent moths looking over my shoulders and always leaned against the walls now when waiting for a train or subway. In my mind’s eye, I saw him pushing me onto the tracks. Fear was now also part of my life.

Yes, Fear was with me, but also defeat.

A sense of desperation.

I was back home in a place that I had spent years planning to escape from. Not only that, but I had lived up to everyone’s expectations that I would fail. I have no concrete evidence that my whole extended family expected me to fail, but it was a feeling I had, a feeling so strong, it permeated my every move. I had embarrassed myself and had not enough confidence to cough it up to a learning experience.

Once I had to return due to the apartment fiasco, the truth came out about my involvement in school. Force to still more admit a tired defeat. My reasons sounded hollow. I imagined no one believed me and spoke ill of me when my back was turned.

I immediately went to work full time at the firm. Why not, it wasn’t like I had classes anymore to go to, might as well make money. Who knew? It seemed like am OK idea.

I felt most trapped every morning as my mother drove me to the train station; the daily litany of complaints and grumbles. I slept the hour long train into the city. Squished together like sardines, I recall some awkward moments when body bumps from train movement felt secretive, but dirty and not in a good way. One time, I was sitting across from a man and somehow, he managed to get his knees in between my knees. Then he acted like he was asleep. Because I didn’t want to touch him, even on the knee, every time his legs spread apart more, I had to spread my legs farther apart, slowly, over almost an hour. Of course, I was wearing a skirt and of course, there was no way that I could have got up and moved my legs completely without making the situation obvious. And god forbid I call attention to something that held my feelings at stake.

Really, what I felt didn’t seem to matter.

No one asked me if I was OK, but that is when I acquired the good Jerry as my shrink.

It seems astounding that no one around me acted as if they were aware I was utterly failing and flailing about in some dramatic spiral. It was assumed that I would be fine and maybe act like I should. No one told me this, but no one said anything really. Nothing was discussed, or maybe I just blocked it all out? Even now it is more appealing to me to find the fault my own rather than live the reality that no one even noticed. It can make me feel dirty and unloved even now. I can’t believe that I saw this all as normal. Did they all honestly think that that these kinds of things were something that all girls my age went through? All my friends were successfully working their way through school. Laura was parting just as hard, but making the grades. Everyone else was hacking it and I, I dared to fall flat on my face. There was something wrong with me that I was unable to complete things. It was all me. My mother was right. I was truly self destructive as my mother constantly proclaimed.

My mother was an amateur Freudian shrink. She liked to dissect people and find their neurotic defense mechanisms. She did get a degree when I was young in sociology. She was very proud of herself for finishing school. She liked to remind us all that she did it herself whereas her parents paid for her older brother’s and younger sister’s educations, though the providing free babysitting while she took night classes.. that never did much to remove the grudge. My mother held grudges forever.

I remember my grandparents coming over when my mother had classes. My grandfather would sit in the living room and read a book, while my grandma would hang with me. We watched TV together. She hated Carol Burnet, but I would make her watch it. We drew pictures together and she sang me songs. All and all Grandma was pretty excellent. My mother was a good mother too, but like most, she was flawed. Flawed by her own experiences, her own fears, her own angers; she made her mistakes. Some, obviously, I think, in parenting. I don’t say this out of anger, but out of desire to be aware and avoid those pitfalls.

The truth be told, some of my family dynamics were plum fucked up.

One of mom’s favorite subjects to dissect was my father. I remember when I was about 8, hearing about how he practiced projection and makes the other person seem like they have the issue. Now, we would say that he does not accept responsibility for his actions. She used to tell me that my father had no conscience, too much ego. And I would have to sit there and agree.

One did not question my mother at all. To disagree was to gather the wrath upon oneself. Much better to be ripping someone else apart rather than be torn to shreds. All my mother required was someone to be an audience to and that was usually me.

Together, I was made part of their marriage.

We were both mad at Daddy if he broke one of her rules. I had to take her side. It was a matter of my survival. Being scored by my mother was not a place you wanted to be. So I sided with her. On everything.

He resented me for being her little parrot. But really, he should have taken that up with her, not blamed and resented me.

In turn, he could never stick up for me either. When I was in trouble, it was like the evil dead in that house. You were virtually ignores. You know that sharp silence when everyone is acting like normal, but there is a noticeable scent of something odd in the room. Anger permeating the air and sending ripples out everywhere. In my childlike optimism fed off happy families in chirpy sitcoms, I would try to break the silence only to be shot down again with a curt one word answer. All one could do was hope that she would break the silence and allow life to resume once more.
About me, my mother would have her common complaints that “I always did what I wanted” which I always thought was so logical of a statement it was inconceivable that it be stated as a complaint. It was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.

Also, anytime I did something displeasurable, I was doing it “to her”. Like that was my reason. My clothing had embarrassed her. I shaved my head to make her look bad. What kind of mother will the neighbors think she is seeing me coming home at 6am? How could I have made her look bad by lying?

Then there was the big stuff. The self destructive. Not enough drive. Introverted. Unwilling to succeed. Sneaky and manipulative. And I believed it all. I was all those things.

Now whether they said I was all those things or I was all those things because they said I was, I will never truly know. I can’t go back in time and track the words with the actions. My recollection was the more they complained the worst I fought. The more they try to limit the more I broke out. If, they had noticed me early on and embraced who I said I was, then I do not think that I would have had to go so far. It was like, “Ok, so I will give you reasons for disliking me”, but at the same time I was desperate for approval. I was invisible at a young age.

I spent allot of my childhood saying “hi” to my father.

“Hi, daddy”
“Daddy, hi!”
“hey hi!!”
I just wanted him to pay attention to me. He used to get mad at me if I wanted his attention. Always. I always felt like a bother to him.

He spent his time either working, or sleeping so he could work. As a cop, he worked the bizarre hours that the job demanded. Four to Twelves. Midnights. Then he read books. Lots and lots of books. Very solitary. He would spend his days off manicuring the yard. Mowing, edging, weed whacking, sweeping, hosing down the driveway and the patio. For some time in my childhood, he made stained glass in the basement for hours. At another times, he thought that he could learn to play guitar. He played for years, again, down in the basement, and always sounded bad. No music gene there. Basically I think he avoided us in every possible way.

When I was 16, I gave up on my father as a human being.

I got tired of hoping that he would not act so despondent to me. I hated asking him for a ride to work. Instead of being pleased that I held down an actual job and paid my own way for movies and lunch, he always acted so imposed on when asked to leave his couch and provide a ride. I was a bother when I talked to him and annoying when I spoke to others. I was a terrible burden when I asked something of him.

The last straw was asking him to help me hang a full length mirror on my wall. I had had the darn thing for months and had asked him repeatedly. Finally, I got him cornered and he could provide no other excuse. It was not a warm father daughter project. No Hallmark here. He preformed the task so begrudgingly and then threw a fit when he cracked the mirror slightly. I can see this too, in my mind’s eye, looking at the cracked mirror, hearing his cursing, and thinking:

“I am done with you. No longer will I expect anything”

I saw some truths at a young age.

I think escaping to NY would prove that I wasn’t such a burden and so useless….

as I had been taught to feel.

So failing that; the feelings of uselessness began to effect my whole life. Before that, all thought high school, no matter how bad, I was able to isolate my parents and their opinions. I had friends who thought highly of me, I had teachers who were amazed by my brilliance. It was easy to believe that my parents were simply wrong. They just didn’t see the real me. After I failed, perhaps they were right. I began to think that everyone could see right through my facade to my failings like my mother. They all knew what my mother said was true. I sank so low in a desperate attempt to get someone to see differently.

You know that song? “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places“? I think about the time frame that was between my return home from NY and the beginning of my great affair and that song is my mantra.

Some things were really great about that time. I had lots of money working full time. I was getting paid some ridiculous amount per hour. Maybe it wasn’t that crazy being that I was the receptionist in a Manhattan law firm, but it sure was allot of cash at the end of the week for little old me. And I had no expenses suddenly. No school tuition, no car, no insurance, no rent, just some food and my monthly train fare.

What’s a wild and crazy girl suppose to do with lots of money when she is depressed? Shop.

We took cabs everywhere. Why bother with the subway when five bucks will get you door to door. My friends can’t go out because they don’t have cash, no problem, my treat. Can’t go to that cool concert? Don’t worry I’ll get the tickets. Dinner out, drinks on me, let’s go shopping. It was almost like I was manic depressive, but on a really, really, really fast cycle…manic when out, depressed when alone.

I once went out with my whole paycheck and spent it all on a shopping spree at Canal Jean. Anything I wanted..everything I wanted. I just piled it onto the guy who was with me. He followed me around like a lost puppy as I heaped more and more clothes and hooked hangers on his belt.

Laura and I went to Trash, the coolest store in all of NY, and for some reason I bought her a rubber skirt and a mohair sweater. Maybe it was early Christmas, but I dropped over a hundred bucks.

I made it and I spent it as fast as I could. We all know that you can’t buy love, or respect, and even friendships seem more hallow when you know you are footing the bill. I couldn’t get new and improved self esteem and wear it the same way I could wear a new shirt. I could buy out all of NY and still feel like crude.

Now, if a new wardrobe didn’t make me feel better, it could at least provide for a more important role…finding me a new boyfriend. Love, would, as always make me worthy.

If someone else saw me as worth dating..then all would be OK, right?

At this time, much of my social life centered around Ana’s ultra cool apartment. Laura was very involved with her new best friends at FIT, two roommates named Jenn and Ariana. I had tried to meld my old friend with my new, but Ana was not impressed with Laura, and hence, Laura didn’t like Ana much. I felt kind of rejected by Laura, so my attachment to Ana was like Velcro. Plus the 6th Street apartment became my home away from home and the center of my outings.

There was a core group of us at Ana’s. Ana and Chris who were dating, Joe Truck who was so old at 25 and pretending to go to college so his mom would fork over money, Robert who was a dear sweet man, but still deep in the closet, Keith a friend of Joe’s, and me. Other people came and went, visited and hung out, but we were the constants.

I decided that I liked Joe. He was nice and cool and most importantly there. One night, as we all crashed after clubbing, he and I were lucky enough to nab Ana’s bed. This lead to a conversation about how nice it was to cuddle which lead to cuddling which led to sex. Great, I thought. I have a boyfriend. The very next day was Sunday and I was back at my moms. Laura called me from the city to announce that Joe had called her and asked her out. The day after he slept with me “as friends” he asked out my best friend. And they went out until she cheated on him with the next guy. Great.

Keith, around Christmas, started going out with Jenn from FIT. She had gone home for Christmas break and we were all at some party. Keith was obviously not too much into the monogamy of the relationship and was flirting his butt off. I, in all my wisdom, thought that it was o.k. if I slept with him, because I really didn’t like him and at least I was safe “for Jenn”. I really didn’t want him. He was going to cheat anyway and at least I would not try to really “take” him from her. So I did. And then he proceeded to continue to cheat on Jenn with whomever else, and I just felt more like crap. Couldn’t even keep a temporary boy for Christmas break for the good of a freind. I think she was pissed at me too.

There was another kid who hung out named Guy. I had dated Guy right after the first break up with Bill. It only lasted a few weeks but we remained “friends” since we all had the same group of friends. Somehow, he too, ended up dating Laura. Laura was at this time a nonstop dater who had boys coming out of the woodwork and then she would systematically cheat on them with a new boy. She also had a long term, long distance boyfriend in New Orleans. I just might have been a little jealous. But it does go to prove that desperation is obvious and not an attractive factor.

One night, I was arriving at the apartment, walking down 1st Ave and I heard all the guys calling my name and they ran up as I waited. What they said next still stings to this day,

” We saw you and we talking..OMG who is that girl, she looks really amazing”
“Yeah, we were actually fighting about who gets to talk to you first”
“And then you stepped into the light”
“And it was only you”
“Yeah, we were all like “Shit, it’s only Claud”
So even if they all thought I was amazing, no one wanted to even think about me “in that way”. They knew me and knowing me was to reject me.

One other great low point.

There was this girl Paige who joined the group and everyone fought over who got Paige. Joe, cheated on by Laura, did win her over. Paige had a younger brother who was like 15 or 16 and had visited us all in the city. We all went out and that night the designated crash pad was Guy’s parent’s apartment as they were out of town. Guy’s folks were professors or something at Columbia and they had one of those huge old places with tons of rooms like a house up that way.
So that night, we all broke up into beds and bedrooms. Guy put me in his sister’s room with Paige’s younger brother. OK, I biggie. I was tired. The boy kept making a move on me until finally I told him he could kiss me all he wanted, but if he thought my underwear was leaving my body then he had another thing coming. He seemed surprised.

The next morning Guy actually chastised me for not sleeping with him. Apparently, he had promised this kid a good time and so he had bunked him with me. My own friends were whoring me out. That’s what I was good for.

I am sure I could remember more, but I think I have mercifully blocked the rest out. It was probably only about 2 months time that this all return home and the desperate acts. The only thing I achieved was to make myself feel even more pathetic and undesirable, heck, even unlikeable.

And this is who I was. This was the place that I was at when I was asked out to the first innocent lunch with him. Like a lamb to the slaughter I went. It’s hard to admit how desperate I was. It’s hard to think about how awful it all was. It’s hard to remember this all. But it’s true and what I remember. And I know so much of where my head was at was the reason why things played out the way they did…why I was so ripe for the picking.

I was hanging on the tree like a rotten overripe fruit. And when I fell, I smash.

So I went to lunch with my boss.
And again.
And again.
And drinks.
And then to bed.
And then, pregnant I became. It happened so fast. I was only with him a short time, less than a month. I used birth control, and still, I was pregnant.

And I never told him.

Continued: In Which my Unplanned Pregnancy becomes an Adoption Plan

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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,, 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.

1 Comment on "The Downward Spiral to a Birthmother"

  1. Why 🙁 Why didn’t you tell him ?
    Claud Ive sat here inbetween my children’s daily schedules and my life now as a boring housewife 🙁 (but very grateful to be a mother) and it hurts to read your lifestory because so much of it parrallels my own through those ages..although I was not as brave as you bunking in places and living day to day…I needed more security than that…but oh the things I did 🙁
    Yes I was 18 yes he was 40 something – yes I was lured in But *UGH* when I look back I think WTF Was wrong with me, I should have been committed for giving my body to him.
    I was ridiculously desperate to be wanted , loved, adored, the fancy life – yeah I know that all too well….

    ….off to continue reading…

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