Monday, September 13, 2010

Demonizing Natural Mothers

You know, the media and the Industry has really done a chop-job on Nmoms. We are either the sacrificing sheep, acting as Judas goats to lure in the unwary, pregnant woman, or we are nebulous monsters who didn't care, abandoned their babies and don't want our kids to have their original birth certificates. They don't seem to be too good at taking a look at the real mothers of adoption loss with an unbiased eye.

It never dawned on me before, but a perfect example of the "good" adopter versus the "bad" natural mother can be found in the movie "Aliens." In this second chapter of the 'Aliens' saga, our hero, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to the planet where the first alien monster was found. While there, she finds Newt, an orphaned little girl who has been hiding in the duct work of the ravaged settlement. Instant bonding (unrealistic) and they go on to struggle for survival against the very hideous, vicious monsters.

Newt is captured by the aliens and cocooned to act as a host for one of the alien infants when Ripley, armed with flame-throwing tommygun, finds her. The queen alien, the natural mother, is busily doing what her species does...reproducing. Ripley frees Newt and holds off the alien horde by threatening the precious eggs of the mother/queen alien. As Ripley backs away with Newt in her arms, she reconsiders and flames the eggs and aliens and runs for it. Naturally, the mother screams (that is not just fury but pain...those are her children), magically detaches from her reproductive system and heads out after the hero and her adoptee.

What follows is a classic for lovers of the sci-fi genre...the battle between Ripley in a souped-up, robot Hyster and the Alien queen. As the Alien tries to capture Newt, Ripley emerges from the bay in her Hyster suit and grinds out, "Get away from her, you BITCH!" Ripley manages to fight the monster off long enough for the android assigned to the expedition to rescue them. There is more mayhem and a final expulsion of the Alien into the vacuum of space and Newt cries out "Mommy" as she is gathered into Ripley's exhausted arms. Then the adoptive (human/righteous) mother and her cute little girl settle down to sleep until their ship can be found by rescuers.

I wonder if anyone else but me felt a moment of sympathy for the Alien Queen as her infant ova were being turned into barbecue? The fight scene was called, by one critic, "the battle of the mothers," but the adoptive mother was a long-legged, strikingly attractive human and the natural mother was a hideous, slavering monster with acid for blood. Maybe I am reaching, but the subliminal message here is not a nice one. For me, it is an all-too-true analogy for the exalting of the adopter while demonizing natural mothers. A lot of those who haven't walked in our shoes wonder what kind of unnatural creature would give up her own flesh and blood?

I think that I have mentioned before that a lot of adult adoptees and adopters are dismayed, when the mother and her adult surrendered child are reunited, to find, for the most part, normal, everyday women, some accomplished, intelligent and very respectable. They are looking for the crack whore Alien. It is very hard for many of our adult children to understand the pressure we were under from society, our families and the, then, infant Industry. They can't understand that, while we sacrificed our parental rights under duress, we never stopped being mothers. When they want to treat us as the lesser "others," many of us rebel at that.

I guess we do look like alien demons to many an adopter. We have lurked in the dark back rooms of their psyches from the time they took custody of our children. We frighten them. It is their own fear because we are not wanting anything but a chance to know our child. We went deeply into the lair of the beast to save our children from what we were told would be certain tragedy and dysfunction. Funny but there is dysfunction in adoptive families. Adoption makes for dysfunction. There is no perfect family. But they didn't tell us that when they were appropriating our children.

If we were the evil entities that many say we are, it would probably be easier for the adopters to fight us. But they might as well look in a mirror. Most of us are just normal, natural.........Mothers.


Sandy Young said...

Not being a big syfy fan (much to my husband's dismay) I never saw any of the Alien Movies after the first which was way too much for me. However, as you say, the adoption theme runs clearly through many movies and television programs today once you begin to look for it.

Even today, I cannot watch the Disney movie, Dumbo, without sobbing through the scene where the mother elephant cradles her baby Dumbo and sings "Baby Mine". I am inconsolable after that. I have been for decades, but only recently made the connection.

I think that Surrender affects us on such a primal level that it is often difficult to identify why some things strike a dischordancy with us but when we finally realize that it is adoption related, then the similarities jump out at us.

Lori said...

Well, I never liked the movie "Alien" since I found it to be far too much about societal entitlement and far too little about reality. But I never thought of it in a way that you put it.

I definitely agree that we, the natural mother are demonized. I know this first hand as my daughter's adopter (I will not call the woman that abused my daughter any kind of mother) said to me "if you loved her why you give her away?" I was absolutely horrified at the total unfairness of the question or even the belief.

Sometimes we mothers have to be the bitch alien...I know that I am glad I live far away from the adopter...abusing my child was a no no to say the least.

Anonymous said...

"Funny but there is dysfunction in adoptive families. Adoption makes for dysfunction. There is no perfect family. But they didn't tell us that when they were appropriating our children."

Such a profound omission.
It could be much easier for them if we were lesser...

joy said...

How could adoption exist if they did not demonize mothers?

How could any normal person deal with taking a child from an average loving mother?

Adoption could not exist without its bizarre funhouse contradictions.

We get to live our lives at the Mad-hatter's tea party. Yay, us.

Von said...

Dysfunction in a family of adoption is often harder to deal with than the loss of our mother.

maryanne said...

Monster Mothers? Let's not forget the mother of them all, Grendel's Mother from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf:-) Never mess with a Monster's mommy.

Can't say I can identify with the ultra creepy Alien though. Some things should not reproduce.

Robin said...

I didn't identify so much, Maryanne, as I noted which mother got the role of the monster. Adopter=Ripley=hero
Natural Mother=Alien=monster

I found it to be an interesting allocation of roles.

kdawber said...

Yes, being a naturalist at heart, I've always sympathized with animal rights, aliens or not, even illegal aliens or not. Just yesterday I drove out into the country to pickup my youngest son from a sleepover and as soon as I turned off the paved hiway about 12-20 wild turkeys were on the dirt road about a quarter of a mile in front of my car. Immediately I identify with their flock, their habitats and survival. Same goes for deer, raccoons, etc. I still don't have the entitled feeling that our human kind is at the top of the food chain. But I did not sympathize with the alien in the movie "Alien". But I did feel the anger and pain of a mother, alien or not, whose babies were being taken. I had to take too many new born baby calves from the pasture as a fresh mamma milk cow chased me all the way! It is very hard for other's to put the shoe on the other foot in adoption however. Even though we are supposedly of the same species.

Robin said...

Y'know, I have to correct a misconception here...perhaps I didn't state it strongly enough and it was taken out of context. I didn't IDENTIFY with the Alien mother. But I was struck with the manner in which the roles were assigned:
Hero..adopter, Ripley
Villain..natural mother, Alien

It just seems to me that Hollywood loves to glorify the adopter any way they can.