SEE FOLLOW UP FROM ANONYMOUS WHOSE STORY IS TOLD HERE IN THE COMMENTS.
We get a lot of comments at FirstMotherForum for old posts, and we do post them. But one came in the other day to a blog from last May, Why didn't we resist the social pressures? and it is worth posting here for everyone to read. Fellow blogger First Mom Jane and I relinquished our children in the Sixties, and we sometimes hear that Oh, well, it's different now, birth mothers today make "adoption plans," and we know from reading some blogs that some rattle on about how they made the "right" and "loving" decision.
But here is a perspective from someone who relinquished in 1980. That was the year before I found my daughter, also named Jane. (I see that is how I measure time: before I had my daughter, before I found her, after I found her, after she died. So it goes for this first birth original mother.)--lorraine
From an anonymous reader:
Wow, I'm so glad I stumbled upon this blog. As a first mom myself in 1980, I thought so much had changed compared to first moms in the baby scoop era. Yet I completely relate to the pressures and stigma described here (seems it was true then and now), the same issues I felt when I was pregnant with my son.
I didn't even allow myself to think of keeping him - in my mind it was so shameful I kept the pregnancy hidden right up to the day he was born, even trying to figure out on the bus to the hospital how I could continue to keep this hidden. Of course the hospital alerted my parents. When I told my parents they said they were willing to help me raise him as my own, or even raise him as theirs "even though the rest of the family will disown us." That did not seem like a good option: I was fifteen, and living in a dysfunctional family. I could not see how I'd get past the shame, and I couldn't see how my family could offer this baby a good home when they couldn't offer it to the two kids (including me) that already lived there.
So I told the social workers to send my son away, and I refused to see him more than once. I couldn't accept that I had given birth to him, and I couldn't face the shame that went along with being one of "those girls." So I spent my life since then trying to prove to myself that I was proper, good individual, obtaining a couple of degrees along the way and professional success. What a profound impact internalized shame has on a woman's life.
Fast forward to today. I am four years in reunion with my son who is now a 30-year-old wonderful young man, and it breaks my heart when he tells me it won't be okay for me to be present at his university graduation ceremony, hinting that his adoptive family has issues with me being there. I imagine it will be the same if he gets married, has kids of his own...those occasions have been staked out as being owned by the adoptive family, and I'm to "know my place" and not disturb their equilibrium. At 45, I'm just getting to the place where I know most of the time in my heart that I'm not a shameful person.
When I get to the place in my life when I've got a bit more patience, I'll volunteer to tell young pregnant girls what they are potentially in for if they give away their babies...in my case a lifetime of denial, followed by relief when I found out my son was doing well, then forced to stay on the sidelines so my son doesn't have to feel the stress of his adoptive parents feeling uncomfortable with my presence.
Reading over the various stories here helps me know I'm not alone. It also tells me how much intolerance adoptive families have for first moms. At least nowadays the whole triad issue is not quite as hidden as it was in 1980, but there sure is a long way to go. Sometimes I wonder...how much heartbreak does a first mother have to endure? When I signed those papers, why is it that I also seem to have signed on to being considered less of a human, less worthy of respect and acknowledgement?
- Resources: Laws, Searching, Reunion
- Resources to Help Parents Keep Their Babies
- Favorite Adoption Quotes
- Considering Open Adoption? What You Should Know
- Response to The Adoption Option
- UPDATE: NY Adoptee Rights
- Letter to Birth Mother or Sibling
- Giving Up Your Baby?
- Writing the First Letter
- 'Positive' Adoption Language?
- What We Think About Adoption