Many of us, if not all, Senior natural Mothers have been called those names at one point or another. A lot of insecure adopters would "insinuate," to our children, that we had less than sterling morals and values when our children taken for adoption were conceived. In the BSE, psychologists, religious leaders and social workers had us labeled as psychologically unbalanced (see Rickie Solinger's "Wake Up Little Suzie" among other writings) and/or morally bankrupt.
Even today, so-called "experts" insist that teens get pregnant for the attention it brings them. Yeah, right. I can remember being so excited about the attention I was going to get when I discovered I was pregnant, that I considered suicide. Most of all, I remember the desperation, the isolation and the shame. I also remember the flood of love that went through me when I felt my babies move inside me. I remember having no one to whom I could turn for understanding and real support.
We were not seen as fit mother material due to our obvious moral and psychological deficiencies (as seen by the above-mentioned "experts") and we were branded and made the subject of malicious gossip for years. I remember my raised daughter, who was only eight at the time, overhearing some older women in the church talking about me and my "scandalous past." She cried that someone would talk about her mother like that.
Now, I see that there are some people, mostly MEN, that would like to see unmarried pregnancies treated the same way they were during the BSE. They want to see us punished, our babies taken from us and maternity homes reinstated. I wonder if they would be that quick to push such an agenda if men were the child-bearers. It all goes back to the imbalance in our patriarchal society and its Puritanical roots. Daughters of Eve are just not going to be cut a break by these arrogant Nimrods.
This is where Senior Moms need to be heard, loud and clear, that we refuse to let ANYONE label us with that scarlet letter, ever again and we won't allow you to do it to our daughters and granddaughters, either!
NOW HEAR THIS! I was never a whore, slut, hussy, light skirt, hooker, promiscuous or any of those other lascivious titles that the filthy-minded "good people" wanted to label me. Many of us were not...but what if we were? What frickin' business is it of yours? Males got a wink and a nudge for giving in to their hormones and we got branded. Fair? I think not.
You know, someone said that I was harming my message for being "too harsh." Honey, you don't know harsh until you have lived through what we have and then had your child taken from you because some blue-nosed SW managed to convince you that you were pond scum that would ruin your child's life. It's done more subtly, these days, but that is still how you manage to acquire those womb-fresh, healthy infants. "Harsh" is going into a downward emotional spiral on every birthday, Mother's Day and any other "family holiday." "Harsh" is looking into the face of every child you see on the street that is the same age as yours, wondering, hoping, being disappointed. "Harsh" is reuniting with a child that has been taught to judge you, despise you or diminish your importance in his or her life.
This didn't happen just to me. It happened to millions of women and it still happens. So excuse me if I sound "harsh" but that is what being a natural mother is....harsh, real and a struggle. I have a good life, now. I am happy, busy, loved and respected but the holes will always be in my heart.
That's just the way a mother is.
PS: And WHEN will you adopters accept the fact that, for the majority of us, there was no such thing as a "choice?" We were forced, coerced and shamed into surrender and, even if it is more subtly done, it still happens. Surrender is an act of desperation, waving the white flag. It is not a DAMN CHOICE!!!
Robin - as an adoptee it is refreshing for me to see a Senior Mother like yourself out there, calling 'em like she sees 'em.
As I just said on my own blog, "you wouldn't catch most adoptive parents referring to themselves as adoptive parents - in fact most of them are insistent to the point of hysteria that they are parents, no modifier."
Funny how they are so quick to label the women who made their worlds possible.
The reason mothers who surrender are labeled is because it's the only way the adoption industry can market the stealing of children as a charity instead of a crime. We've seen how some adoptive families actually have church fundraisers (!!!) to help them take another woman's child.
Once people see mothers who surrender as MOTHERS, it'll be a horror-movie wake-up to the corruption in the adoption industry.
As you and triona said, the language is so important! Language makes it possible to dehumanize the mother and sanctify the adopter.
And coercion is alive and well. BSE v.1 used "slut, whore, hussy, sinner," etc. to dehumanize the mother. BSE v.2 (which is ocurring right now) uses "junkie, welfare queen, poor white trash, abuser, neglector," etc. to dehumanize.
There are so many horror stories about young women being threatened with calls to CPS if they change their mind about surrending their baby. They are also threatened with law suits, and are constantly harassed by the adoption agency before, during, and after birth.
For all readers, please be aware that I am talking about domestic infant adoption...international adoption, foster care, etc. are separate from domestic infant adoption.
And please don't tell me all of these babies (domestic infant adoption) are victims of abuse or neglect, especially when the mothers never even had a chance to care for them!
Harsh? Hell no - I wish more women from every decade would speak up loud and clear about the effects of losing their sons and daughters to adopters. Angry: (me?) Hell yeah! I wish more women who lost their children to adoption would use their anger in a constructive way to get their messages out about adoption instead of turning it inward and onto themselves. (Hey I don't always succeed here either.)
I wish I could see the 'careful concern' on my son's adoptive mother's face as she "prepared" him (at 22!) to meet -gasp- his *mother! I imagine he was told to "be careful", and "we don't know anything about her", and "she might be in a bad situation" and on and on and on with whatever shit adopters want to tell our children. Hmpf, can I borrow your flyswatter?
Blog on Senior Mom! I lost in the 80s - the 'skeeters never seem to get enough blood and they do need the blood of others to survive, don't they?
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