Monday, March 28, 2011
Mother Non Grata
She doesn't want much...just a chance to look at him, a hug, some conversation. Her heart is full of love for him but it is now couched in the pain of his rejection of her. She is treated like a threat..this bright senior, who walks with a cane. She wonders how he might explain to the police if they were called to remove her from his doorstep. "Officer, this woman is stalking me?" Yeah, that is one dangerous granny, there, Fella. This is my dear friend and she hurts in her heart.
She has lost her child and that child's children and generations that will come. Would it hurt him to make those tiny concessions....to send her an occasional "Hi, How are you?" Who would he be betraying? His adopters might be putting pressure on him. He might be holding his anger to him like a toddler holds on to a blankie. As toxic as that misguided anger is, it is the devil he knows. To let go of that resentment, and to honor this woman's place in his life is a proposition that must terrify him. Anger is a surface emotion. Scratch it, and you usually find fear and sadness.
She still hopes and prays that he will give her a chance to see him, just once, to explain what happened, to let him know he was and is loved. Maybe that is what he is fearing. That the lies about the careless and uncaring beemommy will come tumbling down around him and the truth will put its light to the dark and unreasoning things he has been told or has imagined and made real. I fear he might wait to see that light until it is too late.
I've heard, directly from the mothers, of many such cases. Mothers aren't the only ones who reject. Even those of us with relationships often get reminded of how secondary we are in the lives of our adult children. When you are told, "you only gave birth to me," or "it was meant to be that I was adopted by my (adopters)," when you are treated as nothing more than a repository for medical information and are not even allowed to attend important events in your adult child's life, you know you are being punished. Because, because, because...no matter what kind of papers we did or didn't sign...we became MOTHERS when we gave birth to you. We've been slapped in the face enough for one lifetime, don't you think?
I think that some are dismayed to find that we are not sluts, crack whores or deviants. There is the occasional exception that proves the rule, but the majority of us are accomplished, educated, some of us married, grandmothers with talents and self-respect. My daughter told me, when we reunited, that "it was okay" if I didn't know who her father was. WTF?? I know of another mother who is at the "it is what it is" stage who was told by her adult child that it would have been easier for her if Mom had turned out to be a drug-addicted prostitute or words to that effect. The stereotype of the surrendering mother doesn't help us a bit. I would hope that our adult children would love having a natural mother they can respect. We are not that kind of person now, and we weren't then.
Most of us understand that our children are going to feel love and loyalty for the people who raised them. But I can remember someone saying to me, about 17 years ago, "If a mother can love more than one child, why can't a child love more than one mother?" I dunno about that one. Usually we are all allotted only one mother and, if your family is like the majority, you had to share her with siblings. I wonder if sibling rivalry is all about fighting for the parents' attention? That has to be a part of it.
But I digress...or maybe not. I have also seen many an adult, who was adopted as an infant, resent the fact that the Natural Mother went on with making some kind of life for herself. It matters not to them that we carried the loss and the grief with us for the lifetime of that surrendered child. What matters is that they seem to often see us as, somehow, undeserving of any kind of life if we "abandoned" them. How dare we have other children? How dare we love those other children? How dare we laugh or love?
Not all the angriest adoptees are the ones who are rejected by their Natural Mothers. There are many who are wanted, welcomed, searched for and loved who just want that woman to bow, scrape, beg forgiveness and rot in solitude or, at the very least, sit in the back of the bus and only come forth when invited and then, the head must be properly bowed. In many cases, she is either pulled forward and pushed away at the same time, or else she is cut off, entirely. She is a non-presence in their lives. These are the ones who need to do a reality check and grow up, quickly, before their brain sets up like cement.
So rejection is a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways and leaves wounds on the mother every bit as often and as deep as those on the adult child. It's funny in that the adoptee rejects the mother because of all the lies they were told. The mother rejects the adoptee because of all the lies she has told herself. Either situation is dysfunctional and unfair to all involved.
To these adult children of surrendering mothers and to the mothers who live their own lies....it's time to grow up, gear up and face the truths and accept the love. There are a lot of us moms who don't have a whole lot of time left.