Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Mothers Who Lunch
Look into their eyes,
And you'll see what they know:
A toast to that invincible bunch,
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch.
Let's hear it for the ladies who lunch--
Rise!Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise!Rise!
That is from Elaine Stritch's "The Ladies Who Lunch." It seems that I meet other mothers of adoption loss two ways...a retreat of some sort or another or meeting for lunch. I have a friend from Canada who makes trips down here to visit her reunited son and we have met for the past two years for lunch. Another good friend works or did work out at Patrick AFB and we have met for lunch on several occasions. Today, I met a new friend, a mother and a talented artist, who lives just a couple of hours away from me in Ocala. We met at a little restaurant in Astor and stuffed ourselves silly while talking about our experiences.
Too often, people might look at us and say, "Just another couple of women with nothing to do, out for a change in the routine." They don't hear what is said at those tables. My new friend is a bit younger than me and surrendered in 1980. The rest is not so different. She was from a small community, largely ethnic and very, very Catholic. Because of that upbringing, birth control and abortion were not options for her 30 years ago. Her parents were very old school, and between them and the CC, she pretty much had the same experience the mother from the EMS has. The only difference was that she was shamed by her parents and church..we had the entire United States social system and the government on us. But that doesn't lessen her pain and, even she admits that there were massive social changes while she was growing up. Unfortunately, her parents hadn't heard about them. The attitudes about this remind me of the Bible Belt, Protestant fundies where I grew up and learned about intolerance.
So there we sat, two women, one with gray hair and one who could have been her daughter and the people around us would never have believed what was happening at our table. We dealt with the ostracism from our families, the lack of understanding of anyone who hasn't been through it, the emergence from the fog and the new-found courage to speak out about our motherhood deleted by a sorry, sick system. We both had moist eyes and my friend shed some tears. There was nothing to do about that but order a hot fudge brownie for dessert.
I can honestly say that, while I still recognize the EMS/BSE as a historically significant part of a horrible story and separate from those that came later by virtue of massive numbers and a punitive, national social climate, no way do I think that the mothers who came after us hurt any less. Those from the remaining, little pockets of reactionary attitudes, like my friend, were put through the same wringer and came out just as damaged.
What makes her like the EMS moms is the fact that she also was subjected to emotional ultimatums and force. She was ORDERED to surrender. She had no support to keep. The father had graduated and moved away and the faith of her mother and father, this religion of "love," aimed at her heart, fired and hit, dead center.
Oh, and one other piece of information came from her story, one I have heard before. When being coerced, we always got the bit about the child deserving TWO parents...a Father who was there for the child. Well, as
it has happened in many other adoptive situations, the adopters divorced when my friend's child was a toddler and she never saw him after that but for two weeks a year. So much for that "two-parent" bull kaka they fed us.
The next time I read a "sympathetic" dissertation on counseling the (natural)mother from one of these agencies or Institutions, I am going to say it out loud so they can hear it. The industry, the church-based agencies, the social workers and the attorneys are not doing a thing but taking the crap out of the old bag and putting it into a nice, gift wrapped package. It's still wrong.
It still stinks.