Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Word To Cowards and Other Rejecting Mothers

I just read a blog by Real Daughter that brought me to tears like few blog posts have ever done. I have felt this way in the past about my sisters who live in their fear and shame and trauma without ever searching for a better way. When they do that, their adult, surrendered children are the ones who suffer from their mother's trauma as well as their own. I want to take these Nmoms by the shoulders and shake them until their teeth rattle.

I have watched this spirited woman as she made the journey from the possession of her adopters and the object of rejection by her Nmother to a person, whole within herself. When we make that journey, we don't find perfection, but we do usually find a nice person, no worse and no better than anyone else, with whom we can live. I wonder, if I had not made that hard journey to self-acceptance prior to reunion, would I have been one of the mothers who rejects? I know that the burden of grief, guilt, shame and fear was with me for a long time until I got sick and damn tired of carrying it. I hate it that some mothers hide within the depths of that burden, content to continue sitting in their safe, warm pile of shit and ignoring the smell.

I have preached a lot, to adopted adults, about understanding their Nmoms and letting go of the blame and hate...about not tarring all of us with the same brush, and trying to put themselves in our shoes. If we don't do the same in return, we can't really call ourselves mothers. No, I still won't accept the "abandoner" crap or the "I hate all Nmoms because of mine," mindset. But I do understand it a lot better. Fortunately, this particular adoptee sees personal growth as positive and has the courage to pursue it. "Nuff said on that side.

Now! To those recalcitrant and cowardly mothers, WOMAN UP!! This is the child of your body. The past is gone. It can't hurt you anymore. If your near and dear are condemning of the fact that you surrendered a child, then their love must come with some pretty harsh conditions. If you have kept a secret for all those years, the truth will set you free, literally! Reunion isn't an easy road to travel, but those that do usually don't regret it.

Your baby is gone, forever, but he/she didn't die. That adult, standing in front of you with their hand stretched out to you is your new reality. How can you not enjoy the resemblance and wonder at the synchronicities? You still carry cells of that person inside you. Your DNA is in every one of their cells, bone, blood and sinew. They need answers, and, whether you will admit it or not or even know it, SO DO YOU! What can it hurt for you to make a new friend? And what better friend to have that the blood of your blood?

I wish there weren't so many of you out there. You damage our image and put barriers between people that don't even know you by your coldness. Your fear is misplaced and your shame is in your head, only. To quote a book that helped me immensely, when you grow and accept yourself, " will neither regret the past nor wish to turn your back on it." There lies the way of sanity.

I hope some of you read this. I hope you might want to have some dialogue with mothers who accepted and even searched for their adult children. We can tell you that the fear goes away. The suppressed grief does surface but it was doing you no good down there where you had buried it. You can go through it with support you didn't have back then. Yes, you might find some anger emerging, but anger is just an emotion. It's what you do with it that is the important thing. And, for me at least, the best part is saying goodbye to that stupid, frakking scarlet letter of shame. We never deserved it. C'mon...grow a set of cast iron ovaries and meet your adult child halfway.

You might learn something. I can't promise that it won't hurt, but it can, most definitely, help heal.

(We'll talk about the adult adoptees who reject their Nmoms on another day.)


Campbell said...

"What can it hurt for you to make a new friend?"

It usually isn't presented this way though, is it? Seems to me everyone is set up to have an unrealistic expectation of an automatic parent/child relationship when in reality it would be far more helpful to hope for just what you've said, a friendship with someone who shares the same blood. To end up with a familial dynamic is a bonus.

d28bob said...

Thanks, Robin. Wish my original mother could read it. The past years I've learned a lot about myself and my roots- I think I'm past any anger at my original parents and have tried to focus that anger on the situation and adoption reforms.
Oddly though, I wonder if I would have progressed or regressed had they accepted me with open arms?

Robin said...

That's a good question, d28bob. I think that so many of us have such high and unrealistic expectations in reunion that many can morph into codependent, adversarial or other kinds of unhealthy situations if we're not careful. It should be a rule that everyone find themselves and center their sense of self before going into reunion expecting the other party to provide these things for us.

Robin said...

I agree, Campbell, but I have to say, on the Mother's end of things, that the motherhood in us is a strong force. I think it is too strong for the rejectors rather than the other way around. I actually examined my adult daughter like a new mother would examine her newborn infant. It is really hard to separate the baby from the familiar adult stranger.

Robin said...

Great post, Robin. I have to say that the relationship between my nmother and I was mother and daughter. The connection was too strong for it to just be a friendship. I think what scares APs so much is that the tie will be one of family rather than just friends. Also, I really would not want to just be friends with my own mother and I don't think she could have related to me on that basis only either.

Robin said...

That is how most of us would like it, Robin. I feel like I am mother to all my children. But starting with a friendship seems less threatening to some mothers and adoptees. It is hard for some adopted people to understand that motherhood doesn't have an "off" button just because they consider their adopters the "real" parents. It's a very complicated situation. With a lot of reunions, it's damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Campbell said...

Conversely motherhood doesn't just have an "on" button for those mothers who don't feel motherly toward offspring they didn't raise.

To have any predetermined expectations of which type of parents one will find is unwise.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what courage it took for Linda to do that, I am in awe of her. I love a woman with gumption!

Great post, Robyn! I hope your message will strike home with someone who might be inflicting this kind of pain, purposefully or unwittingly on another human being.

Robin said...

I don't think it is a lack of motherly feelings so much as a supression, Campbell. I can only speak for the ones I know, but I can see a lot of fear...fear of facing the past, feeling the grief and watching that house of cards fall. That doesn't make it right, but it explains some of it.

maryanne said...

The strongest, most enduring ties in my life have been those of friendship, not of blood relationship, so for me the "friend" concept works better than the mother/child one, and for my son as well. I have three life-long friends I have always been emotionally closer to than any relative.

Because of his experiences growing up, my son has a very negative concept of relatives and mothers. Of course we are all dealing with different adoptees with different life experiences that we do not know about going into reunion, and that adds some difficulties.

I do not see my reunited son as a baby any more than my other adult sons, nor do I remember examining him or my other kids at birth, just thinking they were beautiful. When I met him as an adult, I was proud of the man he had become, but it was quite clear that the baby and that relationship was long gone.

It is very sad when mothers and adoptees do not connect at all. If only everyone searching found someone eager to be found, but that is not the case. Life is unfair.

Amyadoptee said...

Thank you Robin. You are one of the few mothers that has walked me through my journey of rejection. I am one of those adoptees that doesn't hate her nor am I one of those abandoner type of adoptees either. Sadly I am now being accused of being obsessed with adoption by my ex and my daughters. It hurts when I know that I helped both adoptees and mothers alike. In helping them get their reunions, I helped myself heal. I guess that I wasn't supposed to heal and grow up. I was expected to be a forever pitiful pearl.