' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: How do natural mothers end up?
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How do natural mothers end up?

Lorraine
Relinquishing my daughter changed me and not simply because through that act I came to a cause that shaped my life; but the giving up of her made me feel apart from the great forward rush that is a normal life. No one wants to end up like me. No one wants to grow up to be a woman who gives up a baby. No one would wish that for her daughter. Tell someone this fact about yourself and no matter what they reveal, you feel their shudder. You are stabbing at the status quo, disturbing the peace.

The celebratory way adoption is portrayed today—on television, in the movies, in magazines, by the growing list of celebrities who adopt—largely ignores that behind every happy adoption is another mother missing her child, and another family mourning the missing
link in their family tree. And there is a child who, no matter how successful and content, or how open the adoption, will one day wonder: Why didn’t she keep me? What was wrong with me?
Birthday presents, circa 1985

After my daughter Jane and I reunited in 1981, we built a relationship, and despite everything, we did reach rapprochement as well as had some wonderful times together. I do have good memories. But nothing was ever as if she had not been relinquished, as if I had kept her, as if she did not have another family, as if we had grown together rather than apart for so many years. Nothing could ever erase her sense of abandonment, nor my sense of knowing not keeping her was wrong. No matter what closeness we came to at times, we would always have this break to overcome, and we would never be able to bridge it completely. That was a given once I signed the relinquishment papers. 


Lorraine & Tony cut the cake,1981
Yet my life has been much more than a vale of tears. I have the career I always wanted, and somewhere along the way, much to my late mother’s barely contained amusement, I learned how to make her prune cake with buttercream frosting, and to Tony’s delight, I can bake an apple pie that turns out close enough to his mother’s to pass muster. I was not a gracious pupil when my mother insisted I learn how to sew an “invisible” seam by hand, or hem a pant leg, or iron a shirt, but damn it if it didn’t turn out that I enjoy these simple tasks. I’ve made love, made mistakes, and carried on. Like in the song: I am woman, I am strong.

Home in summer
I too am blessed: with the right companion and long, strong love of my life, Tony; my daughter, troubled though she was—she was mine in ways that I understood and knew, until she left us; Britt, a strong, superb granddaughter whom I expect will always be known to me; two step-children whose company and rapport I relish, and so far, two fine and sturdy grandsons from them who call me Grandma Raine; an alternate universe daughter whose unexpected foray into my life surprises me with joy I never would have imagined; a wealth of compassionate friends, and an adoption community that, thanks to the internet and social media spreads around the globe. It is all good.

When I was a forlorn teenager I wrote a poem about someone who contentedly lived on a hill in a house with a red door. I am lonely now but I have hopes and dreams, it begins. My Lochinvar did come; I have that house now. The location on a hill was ostensibly coincidence when Tony found our home on High Street. Some years later I painted the door red and then was taken aback when my poem came whispering through layers of ancient memory.

I never thought that house with the red door would be mine, or could have imagined the zigzag path that would take me there. --lorraine from Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
________________________

"Birthmark changed my life. Dusky's words gave me the courage to search for the mother who lost me to adoption. Now Lorraine has done it again. I read Hole In My Heart cover to cover in one sitting. It is high drama--and a riveting case for adoption reform. Dusky shines a spotlight on the harmful outcome of closed adoption, and the lasting impact of secrecy upon relationships." 
 --Jean Strauss, adoptee, author of Birthright, filmmaker, A Simple Piece of Paper    

To order, just click on the links above.

36 comments :

  1. I'm in therapy trying to process it. I'm tired of feeling sad. I think I've been delusional about how close I really am to my daughter. She has her family and she has her mother who raised her. I don't really know what I am supposed to be. It hurts because I am her mother and I'm not supposed to be ugh so horrible. I don't want to do this anymore. I can totally understand why first/birth/natural whatever we are supposed to be called mothers take their own lives. It's dominated my life for so long, first longing to know where she was and then dealing with the emotional roller coaster of reunion.

    I hate this. I don't want to do this anymore.

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    1. Hang in there...try to no let the sadness overtake your life. I was there for a while, but realized life goes on, I had to move on, even after she died. But roller coaster is the right description. It will get better with time. Hugs from someone who has been through it all...♥

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    2. K, I think you are doing the right thing, and hope that therapy will help you. This is the most confusing situation we could ever find ourselves in - we have the closest relationship with another person (giving birth), yet we don't know each other at all. Everything seems upside-down, the past and present tend to be all jumbled up in an endless kaleidoscope, and nothing is as it should be, not as it should feel. It's a spooky place to be.

      I can say that my younger son visited us last November. The day he and his wife left, I could not call him to say goodbye, I was crying and couldn't stop crying or speak. It was a great feeling of loss and mourning. My husband was very sympathetic, and said "He probably can't realize the intensity of your feelings, since he was raised by other people as their child. You're an older woman who he has met."

      I had to say, this is a very practical way to understand our uncertain place in our childrens' lives. Not what we want to hear, but it is a fact. If you can accept this, you may start to feel a little better. Your lot is sad, but not really unusual considering the circumstances. Just be confident in your ability that you are the best person you can be, that's all any of us can do.

      It will take years for me to get to know my son, and I must admit I also overestimated what my place is in his life. This seems to be fairly common with birth mothers after reunion. But that doesn't make it any less important, maybe. But if nothing else, I hope to look, act and in truth, be someone who he can feel comfortable with and can have a conversation with. That's the only realistic expectation at this point (in reunion about a year and a quarter).

      I often become frustrated and confused because I would like to discuss many intellectual and important topics with him, but really all he wants at this point - is to know that his birth mother loved him, and still does. Among the things that matter the most to him, right in front every day, are his immediate family. I'm now on the list, but just somewhere in the background. It can't be helped, it's not that he dislikes me or anything like that. It is the nature of our relationship as adoptee and birth mother.

      I hear you, it's hard to know what we are supposed to be. Do they appreciate what we are? We hope that we are on a pedestal, but we are somewhere down there in the cast of characters in our childrens' lives, perhaps mostly as a source of discomfort and worry, and it can be a question mark.

      What Lorraine said is good, hang in there and know that it will get better with time - just not really very fast. I wish it were otherwise. FMF is the only place I can go to where there are women like me, and I would say to you, please keep coming back, there is a lot of support here. I also am in therapy, and it's got to be step by step, very slowly, to get to know our own children, who in reality are strangers to us. There's also a generation gap, that sounds like a silly point, but if you think about it - their perspective is so different than ours, their life experience is so different than ours. And we don't have the benefit of having a history with our children, as do the adoptive parents. So if you feel that you are just being tolerated, not truly related to, in that sense you are not alone either.

      Hope this will be of some help. Good luck in therapy. Anxiety and sorrow, our constant companions, don't help us very much, but we live with them 24/7. I hope that the immediate landscape will look better for you. It seems reunion is VERY long-term, and proceeds at much less than a snail's pace. Don't be discouraged!

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    3. Thank you. Yes it's the delusions that I had which didn't help me and I'm able to process my feelings based more on reality now I'm sure that is going to help. I've been in reunion close to 15 years, it's not early days for me. It's been more than 30 years of floundering with the feelings that adoption has caused. My inability to recover in a way that I find satisfactory. I feel that this year is going to be one where I move forwards healing wise. Thank you so much for your empathy.

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    4. Many of us know how you feel K.. TRY HARD TO FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO,YOU MUST REALLY WANT TO do it,i found the net and joined a site,then I started Forced Adoption - Australia site because I had something to say to the government. Once I had done that I still felt like you,but somehow I found a spirit site , unknowingly I started reading about life.each day I feel better and cope more .I hope you try most importantly find peace of mind..Good luck..
      ..

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    5. Lorraine, I respect your point of view, but it does NOT always "get better with time." If anything, it gets worse.
      All I think about is revenge on the doctor that started the whole thing and had my daughter taken merely on lies. I will not rest until I have had my revenge.

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    6. Your comment reminded me...how some seemingly small trigger would remind me, and I would go through periods of insane depression, years later. Reuniting with my daughter helped, but then she would come and go without a word. Later I realized it had a great deal to do with her adoptive mother, who became increasingly jealous and angry (and early onset Alzheimer's was behind some of it, I think), and my daughter trying endlessly to please her, when that was never going to happen. What I did is throw myself into my work, and that was a distraction from the anguish of ever having given her up.

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  2. I lost my son. I went back to college. I earned my degree. I met my husband. We married ad had three subsequent children. He was an executive with a large corporation.
    we had homes in affluent areas in five states. I earned a Masters degree and additional education beyond an M.A.. I was a professional educator for 30 years. My son and I reunited in 2000. Meeting him and facing my loss threw me for a loop but I got professional help. I'm O.K. I'm open about my experience and I have met many women just like me thus putting to rest the stereotype that we were all "losers."

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  3. I married my husband 47 years ago which was 3 years after my the loss of my son to adoption.

    We are now retired and living a nice life with trips to beaches around the world. We live 1 mile from our daughter we had together and are involved with her and her 2 children. We are both doting grandparents.

    My husband supports my adoption feelings and activities and always has. My son and my grandchildren through him adore my husband.

    I've worked for United AirLines, Hewlett-Packard and intel Inc...so have held some good jobs at good companies.

    I would consider my life happy and very lucky except for all the things that Lorraine talked about in her posting today. It never goes away and we fight to feel normal but never will. That is why being with other Natural/First Moms are so important. With each other we can feel normal.

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    1. Yes! I have a full life but out where I live I have not met other natural mothers, and those who are friends do not life nearby. The blog has made Jane and I close friends, and I am glad for that. I do have another very close friend--the one I describe elsewhere and in the book--and our both being natural mothers (neither of us had other children, we both are writers) is certainly a big part of why we are close and have remained so for four decades. She was my "best woman" at my wedding to Tony, and I know my choosing her made other friends unhappy, but she was not pubic then about this part of our connection. But shortly after I found my daughter, we found hers!

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    2. I agree. I would have been considered "the ideal birthmother" except I locked my experience away for 40 years. When my son found me I fell apart. My grief was overwhelming. Reunion was so hard.

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    3. Anonymous, Reunion is hard. It is the next step in a lifelong process, just as rearing a child is, only our "reunion" comes with baggage and tears.

      We do ask that people who comment choose a name for themselves, and use that instead of Anonymous. I suspect you are the Anonymous of recent commentary. Fine, we welcome your story here. You can choose a name--any name--and type it in the Name/URL line. You do not need a URL to chose that when posting a comment. It would be much appreciated, because no one knows--and we are sort of a family here--if you are this Anonymous or that Anonymous, or one person or several.

      Thank you in advance.

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  4. New and Old, you give compassionate and sensible advice, and I hope it helps K. realize it can get better, even in very difficult circumstances like yours where your children were older when surrendered. K. Suicide is never an answer, stick with your therapist and let them know how you feel.

    One thing I disagree with, New and Old, is that I would never want to be put on a pedestal by any of my kids. Being one in the cast of characters in their lives is fine with me, and with my surrendered son, I never thought I would have even a bit part so that is extra special.

    I have been very fortunate, have had a decent life, marred by some periods of depression but mostly good. I have a good husband, spectacular sons, now 3 grandkids, and I have helped a lot of people in adoption reform although I never had a career, just some jobs. But I never wanted a career really and was lucky to be able to be a stay at home mom, so that is ok too. Most of us do not end up in the gutter because we gave up a child, wherever we started from.

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    1. I'm sorry I gave the impression I was suicidal, I hope I didn't cause anyone distress. I'm not in any danger of that. I was thinking that I can understand why they would do that, the pain can often be overwhelming. You were wise to not have high expectations, that was advice given to me too. Don't expect anything and then you are thrilled when you hear from them. I tried doing that but kept being delusional in my wants. Wanted to be close, didn't need to take over or be the most important mother. I did think I was more important than I am and that was foolish. The good news is I'm coming out of that fog and so can process my feelings based more on reality.
      Therapy has been a life saver. Thank you for your kind words.

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    2. K. I am glad to hear you are not suicidal. You did bring up being "tired of it all" and understanding why some mothers take their own lives. I think perhaps what has left you so disappointed was not delusions but just expectations that were not met in your relationship with your daughter. Expectations and fantasies about how reunion should be are what causes many problems for so many of us when the reality does not meet the expectations, but that does not make you delusional. No need to blame yourself for having expectations, and it sounds like you are realizing those expectations were not realistic and adjusting your thinking accordingly. As you say in a later comment, immersing yourself in "things that do not go around in circles and do not cause pain" seems the healing way to go.

      It sounds like therapy is helping you, and getting away from adoption stuff is also a good choice so that you can see more clearly the good in the rest of your life.

      Also in response to another comment, that we remember and honor those mothers and adoptees who did kill themselves, that is a very good thing to remember and to try to change things in adoption so others need not go that way.

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  5. Many natural mothers such as I end up damaged and broken, never to be the same again as before relinquishment. Life goes on, but with a profound lingering sadness. We have a loss that is unparalleled to any other except perhaps that of a mother who has a military son that is MIA.

    After losing my baby to adoption in the seventies, I felt like a broken vessel that had crashed onto the floor, splintered into many jagged pieces and beyond repair. Like the art of Kintsugi,, I began picking up my fragmented self and trying to piece myself back together. In fact, I have spent all my effort in life trying to superglue myself back together.

    My original self was destroyed, but in the process of gluing back the pieces, I found that I had amazing survival and coping skills and wasn't shattered beyond repair. I have tried in life to transform my brokenness into a productive meaningful life. There are days when I experience the pain of my broken, jagged pieces and am acutely reminded of my loss, pain, and sadness.

    I have accepted that I will always be a damaged vessel, and the cracks and scars will always be a part of me. I am a work in progress, cracks and all, but it through understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, and support that the healing light is able to shine through the cracks in my first mother psyche.

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    1. We are all those works in progress. It is good to hear from women we have not heard from before, and it is good to know that we did pick up our lives and go on, even if we carry this sadness around inside. Giving up my daughter changed me so profoundly. One of the lines in the piece above--You don't want to end up like me" comes from hearing a prominent psychiatrist tell the woman he was dating (she was my roommate at the time, I was writing Birthmark and he knew my story)--You don't want to end up like Lorraine. A remark like that you do not forget.

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  6. As a Mother who lost my first child to adoption I would like to add a word for the young Women who did not survive the grief. At this point in our history it is appropriate to acknowledge the women who took, or attempted to take, their own lives after losing their children, women who suffered the unending grief and psychological wounds from being systematically dispossessed of their children, who went on to realise that they could not just “get on with their lives and forget”, as they had been reassured by social workers. Disenfranchised and isolated, trivialised and discounted, in many instances their pain was overwhelming. Subsequent discoveries that their children had also suffered, from being placed with inappropriate adopters, and in some instances simply returned to the state as unwanted chattels and/or who suffered years of abuse, or were simply treated as second best, compounded the unending distress of these women. They have a right to feel betrayed and conned.

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  7. PS Everybody: I was in therapy for a while five or six years later, but the shrink I chose was Freudian, and that was not right for me, so I did not stay long. I got more out of a group therapy that included that selfsame psychiatrist and a dance therapist. We talked, we moved around, we let out our feelings. Did it help? I don't know, but I stuck with the group for one full series, as it was organized to come to an end. And I enjoyed it. If one enjoys therapy.

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  8. "The celebratory way adoption is portrayed today—on television, in the movies, in magazines, by the growing list of celebrities who adopt—largely ignores that behind every happy adoption is another mother missing her child, and another family mourning the missing link in their family tree. And there is a child who, no matter how successful and content, or how open the adoption, will one day wonder: Why didn’t she keep me? What was wrong with me?"

    This is the thing that bothers me the most. How adoption has been glorified of late. I thought society would have wised up since the Baby Scoop Era, but apparently not. The adoption industry is still scooping.

    I went through my grief, sorrow and anger, resolved much of it, with therapy and support groups, but much on my own. I suspect I will always be disaffected by the loss of my son at birth, even almost 19 years into reunion. I hate adoption and wish it would stop. What's done is done for me, but I don't want it to happen to anyone else.

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    1. Denise, Amen. What it has done to us should not happen to others. Saving Our Sisters is having a conference in Kansas City in May, and I will be attending.

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  9. The thing that I also see very clearly today is that I didn't sign up for this. I entered the adoption agreement with the adoptive parents through an agency spokesperson that we would have a semi open adoption. They broke that agreement within the first year of the adoption. I did not sign up for a fully closed adoption. This was not what I agreed to. I was told by my daughter that I was no allowed to confront her parents about what happened. I am supposed to accept this and deal with everything and be the happy grateful birth mother. Today I see this as being treated without respect and I see it as a deal breaker. I notice today that I actually feel equally angry as I do sad. My wishes and needs as a person were not and have not been respected. I have also been spoken about in a negative way by the adoptive parents. All I did for them was bless their lives and all they have done for me is curse mine. I don't want to do this anymore. I want my life back. I hate being a birth mother. What happened to me was not good and I don't accept it anymore. I now see that the only thing I can do is immerse myself in things that don't go around and around in circles and that don't cause pain. Things like developing my skills for my work. I'm done. I'm out. No more adoption shit for me.

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    1. I completely agree with you, K., about not wanting any more of this "adoption shit." My daughter was taken by a doctor based on lies, and given to a family I did not choose. I recently found out that the a-father is a registered pedophile and I do not know whether or not my daughter was one of his victims.(He and his wife were supposed to be these great missionaries too.) I don't think I will ever meet her, as the family was told some nasty and untrue things about me.
      The rage is so great, I can either do one of two things:
      get revenge on the people who perpetrated this whole thing, or shove it aside and tell everyone my daughter died at birth. No one in the Christian community which I was one of at one time, is willing or able to help the birthmother. Besides that, the Christians were the perps, all the way around.
      I'm about done and out too.

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  10. I relinquished my son in 1985. Since this time I have more 'unconsciously' built a life that I thought would be worthy of a mother who got to keep her child. A stable, 2 parent home, I married a professional, live in an upper middle class neighborhood, a stay-at-home mom who volunteers, especially for my son's school, a soccer mom and of course financially stable. Before I relinquished, this was not the person I was suppose to be, because in my young mind I was going to finish college, no marriage for me, I was more democratic, down to earth and trusting, loved rock music (still do), but relinquishment changed my world, because I felt whatever that person was it wasn't 'good-enough' to keep my child. Today, I'm satisfied with my life, I managed to stay married for 23 yrs. raise an awesome son, start a small family business (rental biz), and for all appearances sake be that person who is worthy to keep her kid. After reunion, 6 years now, I came to realize that my son has his history with other people & his loyalty issues are what keeps us from forming a normal mother-son relationship. The irony is that this life I set up, so that my son wouldn't find some 'women who is pathetic' has actually had the opposite outcome, because he looks at my life like, "why couldn't you keep me?", and he will never see the 'helpless, hopeless, poor girl' that I was when I was pregnant with him.
    I was in therapy for several years for depression before I met my son, & I was in such denial that the 'adoption' never came up.
    Processing everything after reunion has become an on-going constant in my life because so much happened; the grief, the truth that hit me in the face, the lies that continually come out, the friendships lost. The person I am now is closer to who I was suppose to be before relinquishment, just with a lot of sadness and anger.

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  11. I'm not a first mother, but I knew my mother, a little. She was mentally ill, I think. She had friends, and babysat for her grandson, but she also drank and used drugs.

    She died of liver cancer at 71. She could never hold onto a job or a man. She was abused as a child, so who knows what damage was adoption related and what was before that.

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    1. Who knows what the cause of your mother's problems were, but surely they were exacerbated by her pregnancy and following loss. There are no statistics about first mothers and drugs/alcoholism but it is likely may go together as contributing factors--before and after.

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  12. Makes me smile that teenage Lorraine and present-day Lorraine are connected by that poem. And the red door.

    Love this post and your perspective over time.

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  13. How do first mothers "end up"? From the perspective of those of us who surrendered in the 60s and 70s, now in our 50s-70s, it seems to me we end up much like other women of our age and class, including adoptive moms and women who just raised their biological children, or never had children.

    It was a lie that getting pregnant without marriage was somehow going to blight our lives forever in terms of material gain and marriage prospects, although it certainly caused much emotional suffering. That may have been true in the 40s, 50s and before, but only exists today in isolated very fundamentalist religious communities. Most of us made out ok and stayed firmly middle class financially and socially.

    Most women, by the time they are 70, have suffered some sort of tragedy, including for some the loss or alienation of a child. This includes us, and adoptive mothers, and all mothers. Motherhood is hard and opens one up to heartbreak. As first mothers we have special and complicated issues, but we are not really outside the stream of general human sorrow, once you start talking to other mothers in some depth about the experience. What I have found in women in my age and class is that there were a huge number who got pregnant before marriage, but most had the shotgun wedding, some of which worked out, although many ended in divorce. A few had abortions, legal or not. Then there are those like us who gave up a child, how many times have your told someone your story and heard "me too" from someone you never expected was a first mother? I think the actual "virgin on their wedding night" girls were much more rare than we were led to believe. The more you tell people your story, you realize how common it is and that you are not some kind of freak or outside the mainstream of normal life, but just a variant of the ills that beset women in mid 20th century first world countries.

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    1. We are totally outside the stream of general human sorrow and I will tell you why. With death there are rituals, there is sympathy and empathy. You are allowed to grieve. You have a funeral, people speak in hushed voices and pass around plates with sandwiches, you get the drill. With someone being kidnapped everyone recoils in horror. Volunteers get together to help search, you go on tv begging for information and you are understandably seen as suffering every mother's nightmare. What do first mothers get? Pretty much told they chose this and can just accept it and get over it or are spouted the usual garbage about what a great gift they gave that child. Or what a great gift for those lovely infertile people. And there is closure with death, you grieve but you can kind of get over it at least that was my experience. With adoption there is no closure. You get more loss when they have children and you watch them belong to another family. I respectfully disagree with you.

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    2. Yes. With adoption there is no closure. There is closure with death, so very different, than the open wound of giving up a child.

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    3. I do not think any ritual, sympathy cards, hushed voices, flowers, grieving friends or a symbolic wake would have made me feel any better about giving up my firstborn to adoption, and I am glad there was no closure because that meant there was always hope. Speaking only for my own feelings, I could not have kept going if there was closure about my lost child, nor could any formal sympathy or shared grief had made any difference to me. All that would have mattered was to have my son back with me. It took 47 years but I have that now and am content with my life. I am not saying anyone else should feel as I do, and understand the need for formal mourning and closure that so many surrendering mothers feel. But that just is not my experience, and we are all different and all of our feelings are valid and should be respected.

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    4. @maryanne and Lorraine,

      thank you both for your messages. I appreciate the thought that goes into your writings.

      I did both, surrender my son and lose him to death, but Maryanne's message describes my feelings the best. With adoption surrender, I always had hope and I also always feared my son's death...especially when I searched for him.
      We did have 18 years of reunion together before he died, and I do not have closure with his death. Yes, kind people have sent me cards and other gestures of sympathy and I do appreciate that. But, that doesn't last very long and it doesn't really help too much....in the long run.

      People do not seem to want to be around anyone who has lost a child to death....they act almost as if death is "catching."
      There is something about a younger person's death that is unnatural and horrifying. It is like burying one's future. I still miss my son terribly, every single day. It is not quite like losing a parent to death(both of my parents have died and that was a very different loss for me).

      I cannot define someone else's experience, so I am just saying that I think I feel as Maryanne does...we are different and need respect for our differences and feelings.

      And, perhaps I feel the way I do because I was always able to find other mothers who had lost children to adoption(even back in the 1960s) and so I had sympathetic people to share with.

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  14. Maryanne, I disagree with you quite dramatically in how you state the emotional damage that occurs after relinquishing a child. The endless comments of continuing grief that come pouring out on Facebook belies your statement on its face.

    In the post above I am speaking only for myself, but that portion of the last chapter reprinted here comes after rather dramatic life choices and changes that occurred after I relinquished my daughter--such as the first marriage that followed--and what I can only call severe emotional scarring after relinquishment.

    To state it as you do ignores the research that shows the mental and physical problems that show up statistically throughout the lives of women who have relinquished their children to adoption, which I go into in detail in Hole In My Heart. And I also write about the women of our era who got married when they were already pregnant. How that differs from those of us who did not marry the fathers of our children hardly needs to be stated.

    Yes, many people have sorrow and tragedies in their lives, but ours was deemed outside of the norm, and most of us were not allowed to mourn publicly or gain sympathy and empathy even from our families, and that is the great difference that exacerbated our particular trauma.

    We have posted your disagreement, but let you and I end this discussion here. You have stated your point of view; I have said I do not agree, and why. This topic actually will be the point of a piece I will have coming out in thenation.com in the future, so I am not going to reveal more than that at this time. I have written about the research before at FMF.

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  15. We end up with massive amounts of unprocessed trauma from "moving on" as we were told to do. We have stretch marks and knowledge of being pregnant, yet we pretend it never happened. We have unexplained back pain. We over-achieve to prove that we are worthwhile people, not crack whores.

    I did manage to move on and move away and create a beautiful like for myself. I'm only 2 years in reunion with my 30-something daughter. I spent the first year and a half sinking into then pulling out of depression. It was time to finally feel all the pain and sadness and process it. Sharing my story with people was not helpful. They praised my "selfless choice" or said, "look at how well everything turned out." My daughter had/has loving parents and an excellent upbringing. That fact gives me great relief, but also makes me think that she was better off without me. The confusion never ends. There is no answer. It just is. I am still working toward making peace with what happened and what is. I would not wish this on anyone.

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