i had a plan. it stank. still stinks

As I’m sure my earlier post intimated, I am having a hard time right now.  There’s no trigger.  There’s nothing wrong in my world.  I’m in a good place in my marriage and even spiritually, I feel.  Just for the past few weeks, in spite of it all, I have had ongoing sadness and an ongoing longing for a history with my son that could lead to a present with him.  Whether it is appropriate or whether it is not is not the issue here.  I just want to, for once, be honest about it.

Even though there is need for serious reform in adoption and adoption practices, I have no wish, at this time, to crusade for it.

There is not a bad guy in my adoption story, and I have no need to blame anyone – not even myself as I’ve really just reached an exhausted end with even blaming myself.

For once, I just want to be what I am, and what I am is sad about losing my son and losing out on his childhood.  I don’t ever, even for one moment, feel that I have the right to ask or even know what is going on in my son’s life…I signed all that away.  I forfeited it.  So I go on, day after day, not asking and, therefore, not knowing.  And that just sickens me and saddens me more than my body and soul is able to even deal with.

I’m not depressed.  I’ve been depressed, so I know what depression is.  I know what mild depression is, and I know what profound depression is.  I know what to do to manage what happens to my serotonin levels this time of year, and I’m doing all the right things.

I’m just sad beyond words that I did what I did.  There is nothing else I can say.  I never could have admitted that until a year or so ago as I didn’t think I had a right to even that.  It doesn’t matter whether I’ve a right to it.  I have it.  I have the regret.  I have the sadness.  I miss my son, every day.  I miss the childhood I missed.  I miss where it would have led us to today had I just not tried to fix something that didn’t need fixing.

I will say this: I was a pregnant woman.  Why I couldn’t just allow myself to be that, for even just one day, I cannot say.  I realized a few months back that I never even let myself have a day to just be a pregnant woman, a woman with a baby on the way.  I had to, for whatever crazy reason I had going on in my head, be the woman with the plan and stay focused on that plan, without deviation, completely blinding myself to the beautiful thing that was happening inside me: a baby was living and growing…in me…my baby.  But I wouldn’t let myself think about that.  I wouldn’t let myself hear the truth.  And let me say, too (and if foul language is offensive to you, then please be advised that I am about to use it here and now), it was a shitty plan, and it’s been shitting on me since the day I followed through with it.  My adoption plan was the shitty “gift” that keeps on shitting on me, and shitting on me, and shitting, and shitting, and shitting again.  And it’s shitty.

I guess I wasn’t through blaming myself, after all…And did I say shitty?

Shit.

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if only….

Some may scoff at the compelling temptation of the human soul to “indulge” in “if only.”  For a great many birthmothers, I find, and myself included, “if only” is the trap that we do not get the luxury of avoiding.

So for those who find “if only” distasteful, you may stop reading and participating here.

For the rest of us, please know you are welcome to speak freely your “if only” here.  This is a safe place, free of judgment.

And I’ll go first.

If only wisdom had kicked into my soul when fertility and vitality kicked into my biology.

If only…

mother grief…gotta grieve it.

Tree-of-Life

When I married my husband a little over 2 years ago, he was extremely concerned about my health.  Actually, more accurately, I could see on his face and hear in his voice he was scared that he’d married a terminally ill woman.  So was I.  I didn’t dwell on it, but it’s like I could feel some life-sucking force taking over my body.  I was suffering, like I had learned to suffer – and had suffered my whole life: In silence.  I did not seek medical attention for it, but I didn’t shy away from my doctor either.  There wasn’t enough of one specific acute symptom or set of symptoms to try and get his input into the malady.  It was just a well-being thing – or complete lack thereof – that I really wouldn’t have been able to describe to any kind of healthcare professional.  If I had sought him about it, my doctor would probably have referred me to a mental health professional for prescription management of depression and anxiety and/or whatever else could be conjured up to write prescriptions for (prescriptions for therapy included).

Now that I’m where I am, it’s become clear that’s not what was needed.  I think I’d known for some time what was needed.  My body had simply just reached a point it could no longer bear the grief I had been stifling.  I hadn’t necessarily been stifling it on purpose as I knew it wasn’t healthy that I had not been able to let myself grieve.  I just had too much going on.  The grieving I needed to do was an all-consuming, 24-hour-a-day thing that a job and other things were not compatible with.  And there was the thing that I knew all too well: It felt as though it would kill me if I really let it happen, and I knew it would go on for a long time if I ever did let the process start.  When I could finally let it out, if felt like it was killing me, but, actually, it was quite the opposite.  It was a pretty intense, good 2 years of deep, deep, exhausting, grievous, gut-wrenching, back-breaking grieving.  I think that part of what kept me from going there before, too, was not having a support system and a safe place to go through it.  My precious husband provided that safe place…HE is a safe place, the safest I’ve experienced in all of my 48 years.  Our home is a safe place.  Our house is a ghetto, foreclosed on former rental unit with 20 people living hard in it at one time with human pee in the corners, oozing dripping stuff that had to be scrubbed from the walls along with rips, tears, holes, you name it.  It was NASTY when I first moved in – and Steve had already spent countless hours scrubbing away the nastiness and repairing the disrepair before bringing me in as his wife to help…and, in spite of all that it was in its former life and all that it still lacks, it has become our home.  We’ve made it our home.  And it has sheltered me through the hardest thing imaginable.

I’m still very much going through that process of grieving – and my son is 21 now, so I had a LOT of catching up to do.  Now that I’ve been through the initial breaking forth of it and have gotten what was dammed up mostly out of my system, I have started to notice the things that I do to be and stay healthy actually contributing to a feeling of health.  I’m starting to feel vitality and life in my body again.

A recommendation: Whatever it is you have to let go of and grieve, you are your only you, and you are incalculably valuable, so give yourself permission to find your safe place, permission to pray for your safe place – whatever it is you need to let what needs to happen happen – and grieve(!) it(!) OUT!!!  It is not the purpose of the human body to be equipped to hold that stuff in.  I almost let grief kill me, and, of this I am certain: There are far better ways to die…(!!!).

the day that changed me – forever

I feel it is important to celebrate the victories – no matter how small – as it is to bring light to the tragedy that resulted from my collision with adoption.  I refuse to let any one part of my life make the sum total of my life a tragedy, but it doesn’t always feel as though I’m on the winning side of that objective.  Reclaiming a piece of me I’d been missing, that seemed to be missing in action, was/is important – no matter how short-lived…as least the girl I knew, and that I liked, before is not completely gone.  It’s important to let the light shine on these small little windows of hope because my heart still breaks daily.  That which I tried for so long to hold together with masking tape now lies hopelessly in ruins, laid bare before my Creator and for all who care enough to see.

21 years ago today, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful newborns in my life, and the eyes I see them through are different than the eyes that saw before the birth of my own son.  There has never been a more extraordinary newborn in my eyes – before or since.

A part of me is thrilled and proud as I recall the moment I first laid eyes on him.  A part of me falls to pieces all over again.

I.  Am.  Still…broken.

help from hubby

My husband physically got me out of bed in the morning.  The first time, I was not liking being verticle, so I got back in bed.  About 15 minutes later, he came in and got me out of bed again, threw my arms around his neck as if to piggyback me and walked me to the couch, ignoring my protests.  He was fixing a friend’s computer and I guess just wanted the company, and he didn’t seem to mind that the company was puny…I found it all very sweet.

If you’re going to be sickly and on the couch all day, you couldn’t ask for anything better than a Star Trek movie marathon.  During the commercial breaks I read articles and adoption blogs.  Eventually, I asked my husband, ‘Do you think I offended [my son] by contacting him?’  True to his truth-teller form he said, “Well, at least you give a sh**,” and he went on to expound by pointing out that it wasn’t like birthparents who refuse contact or who lets their family member go all the way to Vietnam and then asks for money (referring to a documentary we watched called Daughter from Danang).  I looked at him, smiled, took his hand and said, ‘Thank you, baby.’  I needed that.

And you know?  I do care.  I never stopped caring, and I never will.  That is the truth, and I’ll always have the truth.  Sometimes one has to let the truth be enough.  Hearing it?  Helped.

coping

When this all builds up to the point of becoming unmanageable, my habit since 2008 has been to cram a few things indiscriminately into a bag, run to my car, drive as quickly as I can within the legal limits, and get to the nearest wilderness…the farther away from the sounds of machinery of any kind, the hum of electricity, etc., the better.  Add water, especially a running river…bonus, big time!  It’s absolutely the only thing that can truly get me settled down once I reach the point of feeling like I could easily explode.  Before I went with my impulse to head to the woods, I don’t know what I did…perhaps just lived in a state of perpetual meltdown???

Now I’m married and caring for an elderly parent, so that’s not as much of an option…thusly…thuh blog.

When I started this blog, I didn’t promise that any of this was going to make sense.  I just promised, myself, really, that I was going to process this latest stage I’ve reached with having relinquished my child this way, by writing.

Tonight I watched an hour news program focusing on one case of a 16-year-old girl who was brutally murdered and buried in the desert, watched as family members painfully recounted the experience of dealing with their daughter/sister’s death.  No matter how bad a situation can feel, I can always look around and find a scenario that someone else is grappling with that probably feels worse.  Oddly, knowing that someone else has a tougher issue to work through doesn’t help in the really tough times.

It’s a cycle I go through.  It just so happens that at this juncture the part of the cycle I am currently in is the brutal part.  I’ll get through it.  I always do.  The difference now is that I want to somehow take my pain and do something with it that will make a difference – perhaps even be a part of another woman being spared the pain of adoption separation.

I’m also mourning the loss of more children.  In my thirties, I wanted 4 more boys – rowdy, active, all-boy boys.  As I started approaching 40, I told God, ‘Never mind.  You should’ve seen to it while I was still interested!’  Part of me still couldn’t quite let it go, though, my chance at motherhood.  And I realized a couple of years ago that I really wanted a daughter too.  One day while doing some gardening a few months back, hot anger shot through me at all the time it took to finally find the man I could see myself with for the rest of my life only to find out that he doesn’t want kids.  That day doing the gardening I asked God, ‘Is this some kind of sick, cosmic joke?’  The part of me that also does not want kids is pretty pronounced at this point, but the part that wanted it is still pissed, still hurting.

There is nothing else to do but go through the stages of grieving.  There is no bargaining with loss…it isn’t listening…it doesn’t care.

a heavy revvy

Seeing this today on facebook really hit me like a ton of bricks (that first comment is mine):

fbrevvy

Is it too much to ask for a little humanity here???  In this modern era we have been perfecting ways to very clinically deal with women who get pregnant under the societal norm’s less than ideal circumstances, and the best we can do after decades is move us through like a bunch of cattle?  I grew up on a livestock farm.  I have experienced life on a farm, cows and sheep calving, de-worming, all the things a farmer must do to make a living off of livestock.  It’s very difficult to see our approaches as much different than life on the farm…(and no wonder I couldn’t burn rubber to get off the farm fast enough once I came of age…but, then, that’s for another entry, perhaps…hmm…I’m building up quite a few of those, innit??  :D)).

They “counsel” many women before sending them to the stirrups to terminate “unwanted**” pregnancies, but, as far as I know, they never show them films of or offer the chance to speak to women who went before them recounting the deep dark secrets that haunt them from having terminated.  When I was newly pregnant, and word got out in our rather closely knit community that I was pregnant and considering relinquishing to adoption, there were so, so many women who sought me out to tell me that they wish they’d done what I did instead of terminating (of course, now, though, looking back, I would tell them with emphatic certainty: ‘No.  You really don’t wish you’d done what I did…please, pretty please, just trust me on that…’).

I had counseling…the whole time I was pregnant.  I had access to women’s health organizations.  Not one entity who knew what I was doing offered me any films or conversations with birth moms whose ties were completely severed from their children – or with children who grew up adopted either, for that matter.  Since everyone else around me was taking my word for it that I knew what I was doing (even though, I clearly see now that I didn’t have a clue), including my own family, the most useful counseling would have been this rich, untapped resource of experience.

Haven’t enough people been wounded past the point of recovery?  Haven’t we done enough damage?  Haven’t we figured out that our children are the greatest thing about us?  Haven’t we figured out that a woman considering relinquishing for adoption during pregnancy is the very person who should be considered to put the wellbeing of her child first, so, therefore should be given first consideration and opportunity for the giving of that child to raise?  Did the story of Solomon judging between the 2 women who gave birth, but one woman’s died and she stole the other woman’s and tried to pass the child off as her own teach us nothing – after thousands of years to have this lesson sink in??? (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Solomon was David’s successor to the throne of Israel, and one of the first issues brought to him at the beginning of his reign was the case between the 2 women: 1Kings 3:16-28).  GOD!!!  Please help us stop the madness!!!

** – re: “unwanted**” – It is my opinion that no pregnancy is truly unwanted.  I believe the very desire for sexual encounter is rooted in an even deeper desire to procreate, but, then, that would upset a lot of feminist and probably even humanist sensibilities, so I won’t expound on that too much more…for now…

Humanity

We live in an imperfect world with no perfect answers.  I don’t actually believe I have the answers to the hard questions surrounding adoption.  What I do have is eyes and ears, and the stories I hear of traumatized birth mothers are much like my own, and the songs and dances we ask of our children who are adopted are irrational and unreasonable.  What I feel is there has to be a better way for mothers and for children.  If adoption must be then there has to be a more humane way to handle it than what has come to be accepted and deemed acceptable, there has to be!  What has come to be accepted is unacceptable.

Being a birth mother is not the sum total of who I am.  The grieving, the injustice, the anger, the self-doubt, all of what I have expressed on this site thus far is not the space I occupy all the time.  I do laugh.  I do smile, and I know that my smile comes from a genuine place.  I have a husband of nearly 2 years who is very much a bright spot in my life.  I love to garden.  I love to be in nature.  I love children and am no longer afraid of loving children (it took a few years…).  I love animals.  I have a dog.  She is an 8-pound wonder!  I passionate about the environment and alternative medicine.  I am musically and otherwise artistically inclined, but I lack focus and commitment.  I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being just one thing: a musician, a painter, a sculptor, etc. (leastwise, that’s my excuse, and, gosh-darnit, I’m sticking to it!).

I am a person of faith.  I have been on a journey of following Christ Jesus for 18 years and have been through a great many things with that as well.  It has been a joyful and rewarding journey, but it has not always been an easy one, and it has not been without trouble; it has not been without pain.  I have listened to many sermons and many admonitions to rise above all these circumstances.  I have listened in earnest to how I, as a believer in Christ, should be, think, feel, and behave.  To try and live up to it has left me feeling, to be very honest, pretty inadequate.

I don’t know if I’m supposed to be this, or supposed to be that, all these things I’ve heard: whatever the “who’s who in the Christian zoo” happens to be by whose ever authority it is to say I should be this or be that.  That said, I have decided that, at this juncture of my journey, it seems the most spiritual thing I can do is allow myself to be a human being.  That doesn’t mean I give myself license to go out and participate in some kind of crazy, stupid sin. It’s not even close to being about that.  It just means that when it’s time to feel what I’m feeling, I let myself feel that instead of putting on a brave face.  It means finding my way to being what I am meant to be by looking to the One who sought me out and loved me unflinchingly when I needed it most.

Right now, what I am is a mother grieving over being separated from her child.  It doesn’t matter that it was self-imposed.  I am learning to live with what is and process what circumstances have dictated I avoid until now.  My wish is to be reunited with my child.  For that to have a fighting chance of potentially transitioning to forming a relationship with my son, these things of my state of humanity must be dealt now with lest they betray me at inopportune moments and sabotage whatever chance or chances I may have of getting to know him.

Fears

There is nothing I want more at this point in my life than to reconnect with my son.  So much so, the fear of losing him when he finds out the real deal about me is starting to dissipate, and the desire just to see him is starting to take over.

I suppose my biggest fear of meeting him has been of not living up to whatever fantasy creature he has conjured me to be in his developing mind through the years.  When I start to think of who he might want and/or expect me to be I immediately feel hopelessly inadequate, like I won’t measure up.  I’m afraid he will be disappointed.

But something in me that runs much deeper must know that the mother-child bond is able to transcend all that or I wouldn’t have wanted to be a mother to him for 5 days before relinquishing.  I wanted something of me to remain with him so that he would somehow know that I really always wanted him.  Those 5 days were the most wonderful days of my life.  And I was completely free of worry about what might happen to us.  I knew that no matter what dark paths lie ahead for me, he was going to be alright.  I suspect that if that little ray of light that came in for those 5 days hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be here to write these things now…

Anger

Do you want to know what really pisses me off?  The number of people who treat me like the freaking plague after I tell them I relinquished my child.  Yes, hells bells, I relinquished my child!  It was 100% my decision.  No one forced me (then again, no one tried to stop me either, but that’s, perhaps, for another missive).  I get that people who haven’t been there cannot understand, cannot even comprehend what would lead a person to do such a thing.  I get it because I cannot even understand or comprehend it now that I’m on this side of it.  Even people who, at one time, I was close with have closed the door on me (and going about it politely doesn’t make it suck any less, by the way…).  I feel unfit for this world because I felt unfit as a mother all those years ago.  But (and I want to use the gd word so very badly here, but out of respect for the One who has upheld me and stood with me and by me in the face of it all I will refrain), I am still a human being – and not a monster!  I didn’t kill my child.  I didn’t abandon my child – even if to you, little Ms., Mrs., and Mr. Ignoramus, it seems like I did (and if you have been kind to me, you know, then, that this is not directed toward you…and, thank you for your kindness and for not turning away).  I think about my son EVERY DAY!  I worry for him like you worry for your children.  I pray for him to avoid the pitfalls I fell into like you do and wish for him to not make the same mistakes I did.  And I just want to say here and now that I am not a freak!!

I know I’m not really angry at people who cringe away from me.  Although it hurts – like hell, in fact – it doesn’t hurt any more than the damage I’ve already done to myself and also to, God help me, potentially, my child.  You can’t hurt me any more than I have already proven I can hurt myself.

You can go your way and push me out of your thoughts, but you cannot push me out of this world.  I live here too and have to live with the choices I’ve made like everybody else does.  Even if it makes you uncomfortable, I am still here.  I am still, bleeding, HERE!  And I am one in a number of bleeding heres who are a signpost that points to something in this world that is very, very wrong, and very, very broken, and very, very much needs to be fixed.  No woman should be made to feel – either by silent signals or by very loudly vocalized ones – that she is unworthy of her own child.  And I also want to say to you, judgmental society, that conceiving a child is never a mistake.  Even if the relationship between the 2 people who’ve conceived is all wrong, or doesn’t work out, or what-have-you, it is never a mistake.  I’ve never believed that conceiving and having my son was a mistake, and I never will.  In the hearts and minds of the judgmental public, a change must – and will – come…if I have anything to do with it, anyway…