Thursday, October 21, 2010

Only Women Bleed

Alice Cooper's song was meant to be about physical abuse of women by their spouses and significant others. I used to see it, though, in the context of my experience as a Natural Mother. I menstruated, therefore I was a female who proved to be fertile. I bled on a monthly basis until I became pregnant and I bled from the wounds of delivery after my children were born. This is something men don't have to endure. When I was "one of those girls" in the early 1960's, we couldn't even prove that the father of our child was, indeed, the real father. ALL of the blame, shame, isolation, punishment, shunning, and abandonment was borne by the unwed mother. Very few guys got any fall-out or flack from their sowing of wild oats.

I received a message from an adopted person, yesterday. She's a lovely, intelligent young woman who has been struggling with the rejection she received from her natural mother over a decade ago. While the biggest part of me has trouble understanding this mother's reaction, there is a part of me that wonders just what mom did go through in those days back then.

I wonder what happened that shut off that part of her that carried and gave birth to this adult child. I wonder if there was a trauma that was laid on top of trauma. And I wonder if it was at the hands of a man against a powerless girl. It happens too often and is discussed too seldom. I think that is why I came out with the fact that I was raped. It was my just my luck that it resulted in another pregnancy, but there are many of us who were date-raped after losing a child to adoption. I also know that there were a few girls, here and there among the inmates of the homes in which I was incarcerated, who were abused by close family members and impregnated. I can remember the sick, horrified feeling I got when one of them casually mentioned being raped, on a regular basis, by her own father.

I often find myself thinking about all of that horror and injustice whenever I hear of a mother who has refused a relationship with her adult child. I also know that everyone is different. What one of us may survive with just scars, others never recover from and carry open wounds for a lifetime. Some just don't have the courage to face the pain of the memories they have carefully buried. Some fear losing the life and the family they have built since their loss. Some just never got over the shame and still want to hide their past (perceived) sins in a locked vault. But others..I just can't help thinking that there are some who are hiding a horrific that they cannot face without a fear of losing their sanity or worse.

Some are survivors, some aren't. Some go on to live and some go on to float on the surface of life without ever venturing into the depths. Denial can be a real bitch. While I don't think it is healthy to live in the past, it is equally unhealthy to fear and regret it. Once things have happened, they are irretrievable. You can't make them "unhappen" by forcing the memory down into the dark parts of the mind. The fact of what happened is always going to be there. You can't run from it or hide for long. It will turn up again and some coping mechanisms hurt others as well as yourself. That makes me think of the adage, "wherever you go, there you are."

We leave a trail through life. Each incident, each joy, each crisis, is a footprint in the soil of our existence. For too many woman and their children appropriated for adoption, there is a hitch in the trail, a side trip of pain. Some deal. Others hide.

Maybe some women have just bled too much.


mae enfuricida said...

well said as always robin. it takes incredible streanth to open the door that contains our skelatons of the past. and sadly some women have nailed it shut with terror,guilt and shame.

Cassi said...

Wow Robin! This is one of the best posts I have ever read!

Sandy Young said...

Ah, Robin, this is excellent. I have thought about this a lot,too. I feel so sad for the women who cannot go there, but I understand their feelings. This journey is fraught with peril, but getting to yourself on the other side is an added bonus to the reunion with your child and the end of not knowing, for better or worse. I wish more women were less willing to remain in limbo, but it is not my call. Thanks for posting this. At least some will know that we do, indeed, understand their reluctance. They are NOT alone.

jenny81271 said...

Soooooo true, Robin, as always....In all the myriad of search groups I have been in, and some I am still in, it always amazes me the mothers who search and would give anything to find and don't, and then those few that can't cope with it. And the flip side the adoptees who take "issue" with a mother who just can't get past the trauma that surrounded their birth. I was a lucky survivor, who always, knew that I would search, and yet, of the girls who went to the home in Fort Wayne, IN, I have only ever found one searching. Was supposed to be the "cadillac of homes" if there could be such a place...thanks for writing this, gives me pause to think...ALWAYS, Jenny

glory said...

This post was so well written and touched me deeply. It has always been so difficult for me to understand the moms who choose not to meet their lost children because I'd give anything to be close to my son. You enhanced my understanding. Thank you!