' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: You are only as sick as the secrets you keep

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You are only as sick as the secrets you keep

Carrie Fisher, in touting her book and one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, on The View this morning, said that revealing the truth about yourself makes it impossible for others to hurt you. "You are only as sick as the secrets you keep," she said.

She went on to list her particular maladies--years of drinking and drugs before rehab, being bipolar, bed-hopping (sounds like an aerobic exercise, joked Joy Behar), marrying a guy who became gay, and I thought, Wow, keep going, add the really big one: Giving up a child for adoption. That's a lot bigger than drugs and rehab. Of course, she didn't because I don't think that's on her "been there, done that" list. But I kept ruminating about the wisdom of her words: "You are only as sick as the secrets you keep."

Once you tell your husband/children/neighbors/friends that you have given a child up for adoption--no one is going to whisper behind your back...Do you know she did? She gave up a child for adoption--because what is the point of whispering?

Tell your family now and it won't come back to bite you later on. Without any scientific evidence whatsoever and only anecdotal information to go on, I believe that is at the heart of the first/birth mother rejections that we hear about and that are so damaging and hurtful to the individual who has been given up.

Hiding the truth from your loved ones doesn't put any trust in your relationship with your family because you feel you will be rejected if they only knew the truth about you. Yes, it's not a great thing to have to tell anyone because it's not a great thing to have done, we know, we know, we have been there, but it is a part of who you are today, and who you will be tomorrow. And being open about it will make your load so much lighter.

If you feel the sting of hurt from your husband/family after you tell them what has been the secret in your heart, it is because they will feel they have been lied to by omission, and that you felt the relationship was not strong enough to bear this secret. Trust them, trust your love enough to tell the truth. Explain how shamed and awful a thing you felt you did, and how that led you to bury this all these years. Ask them to understand how different it was when you had your child. Ask them for their forgiveness--for not having told them sooner.

If you are afraid, think how good it will be to not have to keep this secret. You are only as sick as the secrets you keep.

If you think you can not do it, think: I can do this one thing for that child. My child.
If you stumble before you get the words out, think: I can do this one thing for my child. I will acknowledge her/his existence. I could not keep him/her, but I will acknowledge his/her life. And I will accept her/him if I am fortunate enough to know