Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Frozen Mother

This is not my term, but I thank the one from whom I first heard it and it really fits. A Frozen Mother is one of two types. She can be a Mother of Adoption Loss who has kept the fact of her pregnancy and the existence of a surrendered child locked away as a deep, dark secret. Many of these Moms are married to men who do not know about the previous pregnancy, and have raised subsequent children who are also unaware of the fact that they have a sibling out there somewhere.

I have had recent contact with one of these Moms. As much as she professes to love her surrendered child, she refuses any kind of deep relationship, would rather not even have a meeting and refers to the reappearance of her adult child in her life as her "worst nightmare come true." Most of these Moms are my age or older. They are mostly from the era when we were systematically shamed into submission and the old shame tapes never stop playing in their heads.

These Moms are totally terrified of anyone finding out about their single pregnancy and loss to adoption. They are usually self-persuaded, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that their husband and/or children will never forgive them, will be ashamed of them and their lives and families will be destroyed. It's very hard to get through to these Mother. The deep fear, under whose shadow they live their lives, stands as a very formidable barrier between them and the light of truth. I always feel so badly for the adult surrendered children of these women. I also hurt a bit for the moms, themselves.

The other type is the "good b-mom." This woman walks on eggshells, sees herself as less than a true mother, makes constant obeisance to the adopters and accepts crumbs rather than demanding respect for their motherhood. These are the women who will say they are "blessed" by their reunions with adult children that let them know, in no uncertain words, that they "only gave birth" to them and that their adopter is their REAL parent. These women seem to feel they deserve such treatment and have no right to any more or any better.

These are the women who will proudly proclaim that they are BIRTHmothers...not the real deal, somehow less than a mother, second-rate, second-class and permanently off in the distant background. The very thought of adoption activism, reform, truthful adoption language, etc., gives this particular Frozen Mother the hives. She lays claim to a "superior maturity" that has allowed her to "accept" her fate. She derides the activist mom as a troublemaker, and calls her bitter, angry and strident and relishes the approval of and pats on the head from adopters and facilitators. She may even go so far as to work with adoption agencies because, that way, she can still live in her fantasy that her loss to adoption and her self-perceived role in that loss was a "GOOD THING." Sometimes, this kind of Mom will awaken and thaw, usually after experiencing a whole lot of hurt.

It is sad to see some of our own sisters standing in the way of the forward movement of true reform. I have made the comment before that, when such resistance comes from a sister Mother of Adoption Loss, I feel a bit betrayed. Then, I also look at where I was about 15 years ago and I can see a little bit of where their heads are. It just takes more, sometimes, to awaken some sleepers. *sigh

8 comments:

iris eyes said...

The "good beemoms" do not believe they have any rights where their children are concerned, at all.They think that the adopters are the ones who have all of the rights..even though in most cases our rights as parents were violated...and there is no reason why an adult person cannot contact any other adult person.

'Good beemoms" seldom search for their children.And when they do search, they often try to contact the adopters first, to ask them for "permission" to contact the child..who is usually well into adulthood. Adopters usually say no..so that often ends the attempt at contact.Even if the child finds them, the good beemoms will sometimes say no to contact because of a sense of obligation to the adopters.

They also feel that anger is a sin and that it is a sign of a deeply unhappy person..and they would never admit to feeling that way.
They are very conformist and people-pleasing and feel they must atone for the "sin" of unmarried pregnancy.
Good beemoms are people who have bought into the idea that they are sinners and that adoption is wonderful.Many adoption agencies have 'good beemoms' working for them, endlessly atoning for their'sin."

Anonymous said...

There was a friend I had in my younger days who didn't know I knew she had lost a baby to adoption. (how I know is another story). She knew I lost my son because I talked about it often.

Once in a while we'd go out to a nightclub and there were times when she was drinking she would criticize and say terrible things to me. As I said, in my younger days I just accepted it and never retorted back so I just chalked it up to the alcohol talking.
One evening she started laying into me again then got up to go to the ladies room. While she was gone a man came over and sat in down her seat introducing himself as psychiatrist. He said he couldn't help overhearing what my friend had been saying to me and that he wanted to me know something. He said, "It's her, not you. She sees something in you that she can't face in her herself. It's her, not you."

The thing is, this friend may never face herself. I can understand that.
She may have taken it out on another mother. I have tolerated that.
But she's has never stooped so low to the level as trying to influence mothers into the same situation. I don't feel betrayed by happy beeeemothers. I am.

Leslie B

Anonymous said...

Robin, I reposted this again because my dyslexia got the better of me on my earlier post. If you are able to delete it I'd appreciate it.


There was a friend I had in my younger days who didn't know I knew she had lost a baby to adoption. (how I know is another story). She knew I lost my son because I talked about it often.

Once in a while we'd go out to a nightclub and there were times when she was drinking she would criticize and say terrible things to me. As I said, in my younger days I just accepted it and never retorted back so I just chalked it up to the alcohol talking.

One evening she started laying into me again then got up to go to the ladies room. While she was gone a man came over and sat down in her seat introducing himself as a psychiatrist. He said he couldn't help overhearing what my friend had been saying to me and that he wanted me to know something. He said, "It's her, not you. She sees something in you that she can't face in herself. It's her, not you."

The thing is, this friend may never face herself. I can understand that.
She may have taken it out on another mother. I have tolerated that.
But she's has not stooped so low to the level as trying to influence mothers into the same situation.
I don't feel betrayed by happy beeeemothers. - I am.

Leslie B

AMYADOPTEE said...

I guess I am the daughter of a frozen mother. She refused contact with me. I think maybe you and I need to sit down and talk. amyburt40@yahoo.com

Robin said...

Amy, it always breaks my heart when I hear about this happening. I can only tell you that it isn't YOU she is rejecting, but deep pain, shame and the fear of facing all that. She may also be like the mom I have discussed who is positive that her entire life and present family will disintergrate if her husband and children find out about you. These moms don't trust the love of others for them. It took me a long time to learn to trust, even a little bit. That is one thing I think we moms and adopted people have in common. If you would like to contact me, I am at westbrook8936@bellsouth.net.

Your friend B. said...

i can tell you what they fear and where it comes from. when we were young and vulnerable and pregnant, everyone rejected us. our families threw us out, our friends no longer wanted us to call, our partners abandoned us, and society shunned us and put us into wage homes and unwed mothers homes where they didn't have to see us.

if we reunite, we expect all our current family and society to do the same thing to us again. we expect our husbands and children to react the same way our parents did. and we don't blame them because we're ashamed and powerless inside still.

i know this shame of losing a child to adoption, and the incredible thing is that 6 yrs into reunion, with my son at my side, i STILL cannot tell many friends that i had lost him to adoption. new friends, i never tell. old friends i haven't seen for years think he's my second son R. whom they think is "my first born" because I never told them about M.

and i never told my other children about their sibling until i couldn't keep it secret any more, about 6 months after the first f2f.

what can we do? the shame of adoption runs so deep and i still do not know why i feel ashamed to tell anyone about "the disembabyment."

Robin said...

It took a lot of hard work, but I denied that shame and took back my self-esteem and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I have finally learned that the problem wasn't mine...I WAS worthy of the love and support I didn't receive and I was not guilty of anything except loving the wrong person and then being in the wrong place at the wrong time. B, you don't have to bear that shame any more. You didn't deserve it, you didn't earn it and you don't have to claim it. If anyone has a problem with what happened to you back then, it will just have to be THEIR problem. Keep working at it...it will come.

Joy said...

Hi Robin

I just wanted you to know I really appreciate your writing and point of view.