Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Where's The Respect?
The same thing happened with my own raised children. In fact, both of them have remarked on how intelligent and knowledgeable I have become as they have grown older. They have also admitted that they have wished, many times, that they had listened to me when I tried to steer them in a better direction.
I know that, when my parents were younger, they had a lot more respect for their elders than succeeding generations seem to have had. Now, there seems to be no respect at all and every attempt made to keep a younger mother from falling into the adoption pit seems to be met with disregard, contempt or downright hostility. As much as I hate to blather on about the subject, I also hate to see these young women so absorbed by the fantasy that, when the real pain comes, they are unable to cope. I keep thinking of one such mother, used badly by the woman who adopted her child, who took her own life when that open adoption slammed shut and she realized how she had been manipulated.
I was training a college student for the dry cleaning chain with which I worked for many years. She was intelligent, lovely, caught on quickly and was a joy to train. I was so shocked and felt like a hornet had stung my heart when she said that, should she become pregnant before she graduated, she would like to relinquish her baby to a professor of hers that couldn't have children of her own. She was offering her own hypothetical offspring on the altar of the "more deserving" infertile and I was appalled at the casual sincerity of her statement.
I have helped younger mothers who really wanted to keep their babies, but I have only been able to change the minds of two who were considering surrender. When I was actively trying to "save" these girls from experiencing that awful grief and their infants from the pain and confusions of separation, I lost more than I won. It became too much for me to handle, emotionally. I only have to pick up a hot horseshoe one time to learn that it burns.
Now, I have no problem with a FULLY informed young woman making her own decision. But there ain't no such animal. They are either being counseled by agency workers, crisis pregnancy center pro-lifers or new "b"mommies riding the pink cloud of assumed selflessness. They are told to disregard us as bitter and angry with nothing to really contribute. Adult adopted people are dismissed as ungrateful and troubled. So the whole, complete story with all the ramifications is left in the dust and these girls go skipping off to breeding farms like Gladney to get their scholarships and give that wonderful gift. What bull crap!
I look at the woman in the picture and see someone who has lived and has much to offer. Wisdom comes at a price, for many of us. "Live and learn" isn't just an adage. That lady deserves to have her opinions and experiences respected, even if someone disagrees. It is a common happening that the one who disagrees will later find out that they should have listened more closely. Most cultures venerate their elders. This society, especially our younger sister mothers, smirk at us. The picture of the older woman advising and aiding is just that...a picture.
We never stop learning until we die. My grandmother used to tell me that and she was right. I am still learning and not all that I learn makes positive statements about human nature. The inability to say, "I was wrong and I am sorry," permeates the populace. Ego and pride go before open minds and hearts. To live to a ripe, old age and learn is to accept disillusionment. Most of my belief in the innate goodness of people has gone the way of the Blue Whale; rare, hard to find and to be cherished and protected if you come across it.
I guess this is why I find more satisfaction in working for the majority of the mothers of my generation. There is no question that each of us knows what we are talking about because we all lived it. It is a cause we can support, defend and for which we can fight.
I'm no Knight on a white horse. If the maiden wants to walk into the dragon's mouth, I'll just yell at her to watch out for the teeth. You can't rescue a drowning person who is convinced they can breathe water. And with all the advantages new mothers have on the side of keeping or avoiding pregnancy or terminating pregnancy, I just don't have the sympathy for them they seem to require.