Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time's A'Wastin'

The Baby Scoop Era moms, and I am one, are getting older. While they say that 60 is the "new 40," we all know, with the certainty that comes with reaching or approaching that seventh decade in our lives, that we are in the final quarter of our time on earth. Many of us are retired or getting ready to retire, settling our wills, estates, making plans for the possibility of a need for assisted living...all those things.

And for those of us who lost children during the most heinous era of eugenics and social engineering in our nation's history, the time for justice and redress is slipping away. Many of us have given up any real hope of there being definitive action towards a public hearing and some kind of acknowledgement and apology from those in power.

African-Americans received an apology, Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during WWII received an apology, the Tuskegee Airmen received an apology....where is ours? We are dismissed with a wave of the hand and the trite observation that "that's just the way things were back then." Yeah right....and slavery was "just the way things were" prior to the 1860's but that doesn't make it just or right.

This is another example of how little motherhood is honored in this nation if there is not a man's name attached to a woman's and if she is not wearing that gold band on the third finger of her left hand. The BSE was a time of no autonomy for females and no honesty about what programs were available to the young mom-to-be. We were warehoused like gravid livestock until the product was delivered and then sent back to our parents with the admonition to forget and sin no more.

Let me give the average American woman a head's up. If the current power structure and the fanatic, religious right have their way, "the way it was back then" will become the way it IS, now. If our tragedies are not addressed in a public forum with proper redress, then our granddaughters and great-granddaughters had better stock up on the birth control and trust no man. Right now, women have some control over their reproductive lives, but that will go bye-bye in a hurry if the eugenicists can make it so. Seeking justice, loud and clear, for the BSE mothers, and we number in the millions, will serve as more than just as a recognition for our pain. It will also serve as a visible and authentic cautionary tale for what might possibly happen if we are not very, very careful with our votes and our opinions.

Those of us who are in the final quarter of our time on earth need to speak up now and speak up loudly. Our sisters who are still in that dark closet of shame are invited to walk out into the sunlight with the rest of us and feel the warmth of truth, honesty and vindication. They took our babies, but they could never take our motherhood. We gave no adopters the "gift" of a child. Rather we were emotionally bullied into thinking that we would be toxic to our own flesh and blood or physically restrained from keeping our babies or even seeing them. We were not "heroines who did the right thing." We were scared kids and young women who were isolated and brainwashed and forced to enter into a most unnatural agreement. Even as minors who couldn't vote or drive or even marry, in some instances, we were still allowed to sign a piece of paper surrendering all our parental rights.

Remember this truism. "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Our time is here and we need to hurry because, time's a'wastin'.


Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! I am a first mother from the tail end of the BSE, 1979. Things at that point were getting better for some girls, but I still lived in a very right wing, patriarchal society and religion. I wonder every day what I can do bring this issue into the limelight. I am writing about it, but don't know if I will ever be published or ever reach the right people. Thanks for what you are doing!

I especially liked the comments about needing an apology. It has been done in Australia. Why not here. Anyway -- Rah, Rah -- go YOU!!

Robin said...

Thanks, Debbie. Spread this around to other moms. It's just as important to the moms who came after us as it is to us BSE moms. I'm sorry you had to go through the same thing.

Mary O'Grady said...

I am another BSE mother. I find it hard to speak out. I don't want the people around me who know me as an effective, competent adult to think of me as a pathetic, entrapped pregnant teenager who was taught to loath herself. I don't want my friends to accuse me of cowardice, as I do myself, for not standing up to the parents who betrayed me and the nuns who treated me with such unvarying cruelty.
I know I must speak up, if only for the sake of the young women who may be subjected to the same horrors if the adopters and the religious conservatives have their way. But it is hard.

Mary said...

wow. I just found your blog. Can I link your blog at mine? (adoptee here)

Robin said...

Sure Mary. I took a quick peek at your blog and it would be OK to link. Sorry things aren't going top-guns in your reunion.

Unknown said...

Good work, as usual, Robin. Well said. This past few weeks I have felt my own mortality and am desperately trying to make some changes for at least one mother.

Keep up the good work, My Friend. You have a gift.