' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Feelin' Blue about Mother's Day

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feelin' Blue about Mother's Day

Whoa! The other day I thought I was going to sail through this Mother's Day with nary a problem...my daughter took her life two years ago--I might as well put it out there rather than not, that's what happened--and my mother died eleven years ago on the first of May, and so, I stupidly, thought, well, Mother's Day and all it's friggen' reminders will just sail over me, just as Linda remarked about her own feelings in her comment to the last post, To Search or Not: That is the question for adoptees/birth mothers.

What's Mother's Day got to do with me this year?  I am neither the daughter of a living mother or the mother of a living daughter, though I have been both. I'm cool, right?

Fool that I am.

Yesterday afternoon I got stomped on somewhat by an angry adoptee over at Facebook for posting a comment on the site You Know You're Adopted When...and that led to a group of adoptees who have read the blog remarking on what they do not like about BirthMother, First Mother Forum....including the name, because if we are first mothers, what does that make their other mothers? And that depressed me because I'm thinking, damn, I picked the name because I thought it would be easy to remember, and because, well, I'm not crazy about the appellation "birth mother," whether one word or two, but I will live with it because it's become part of the nomenclature. Hell, all of us, first/birth/natural/and adoptive: we all prefer just plain old "mother," no qualifiers.

But they do have a right to say, stay away, as there is also a Facebook page started that is You Know You are a First Mother When....It was the accusatory tone of the discourse, except for one of our regular readers who was sweet in her responses and saved my spirits, somewhat. But the incident put a black cloud over my feelings about continuing FirstMotherForum at all, and though you think these things do not bother you, there they are, gnawing at you, and then the Mother's Day !@#$. Ads on television. Ads in the New York Times this morning. Ads on the car radio--Shop at this local pharmacy, and we have a complete line of bath and grooming products for MOTHER'S DAY! Brunch special for MOM this coming Sunday! Et cetera, et cetera et cetera, as Yul Brunner so famously said as the King of Siam. 

No matter who much I've tried to tune out the drumbeat for Mother's Day, apparently I'm not doing so well. This morning I snapped at the clerk at the cable outlet when I picked up a new cable box. I was nice to the technician who gave me a mammogram later that morning, but when she asked if anyone in my immediate family ever had breast cancer, I thought of all those adopted people who can't answer that question, and asked her how that goes. She said it was sad, that they had to be super vigilant about their health, and get a lot of checkups and tests. I told her that it was the legislators' fault that it was that way. Probably I should have added it was the fault of adoptive-parent legislators (at least in New York) such as convicted felon Joe Bruno, long-time open-records opponent Steve Saland, and always nasty adoptive uncle Danny O'Donnell, New York past and present legislators, but I didn't think of that fast enough. (To all adoptive parents reading this, don't go bananas here, I know many of you are for giving adoptees their original birth certificates, and if that's the case, will you please write your legislator in whatever state you are and let him know? Hell, you might as well write President Obama, while you're at it. You spent enough time and money getting your child, spend some time to give him or her the right to know their true and complete identities and be equal to the rest of us.)

And now...now I just am feeling the tears inside me bubbling up and over and out. In the past, since all restaurants are jammed with mothers and daughters and mothers and sons come Mother's Day, I have invited people over for brunch myself. I have one friend whose mother was truly wretched and abusive and is now in a funny farm, and she and her husband are childless, and having them over on Sunday has worked in the past, but I'm thinking I'm just not up to that today. Maybe I will be by tomorrow.

For now, this birth mother says "Mother's Day" feels like hell.--lorraine

PS: And then...the mail arrives and it's a card from my step-son., Evan...and I say to his Dad, the indubitable Tony, I hope it's funny. I slide it out of the envelope and I see a vase with pink hydrangea: not funny. Then I read the greeting: Myslac z mitoscia o Tobie...it's in Polish from my Scottish/English/Welsh American step-son. And neither he or I have any idea what it says....I laugh. The inside message: w Dniu Matki i zawsze. Pozostan w mojej pamiece, i bada szczexliwa przez caty rok. 

And hand written in is Drogi Babci 'Raine, which I know means, Dear Grandma Raine...and it's signed: Fortunny Dzien od matka! Kochajacy...which I will have to have translated, but I know the root koch is love. (I am not doing the Polish justice because some of the letters have extras marks.)

Translation anyone? Maryanne?

Good job, Evan and Karen and Dylan!   Birthmark


  1. This is what I got from the internet...

    Thinking about you with mitoscia

    Mothers Day and always. Will remain in my memory, and examine the Plains fortunate years

    Auspicious day of the mother! Loving

  2. One of the things I really like and respect about you Lorraine, is that you are so authentic and willing to share your vulnerability.

    I don't believe we can tap into our full strength until we see vulnerability as power, rather than weakness,even in the face of someone or something that hurts us.

    I find it hard to believe people who claim that they're totally over the pain of their adoption experience. For me, that pain ebbs and flows depending on my state of mind and whatever triggers I'm exposed to. Mother's Day is huge. It hurts. I didn't have any other children after I lost my son. We have had a stormy relationship for over 20 years. That's sad enough, but I still mourne the loss of my baby boy.

    So for me and some of us, this holiday is a real trigger. I
    personally don't get mothers who say Mother's Day is no big deal for them and adoption isn't everything in their lives. This was a post by a first mother on Y!A - seemingly critical of mothers who feel differently.

    I'm happy for them but just don't understand anyone who would invalidate another mother's feelings. Adoption isn't my life, but it certainly changed my life dramatically and an act of bravado about it just isn't my style.

    Lorraine, I read your blog because I know you always speak with great integrity, vulnerability and honesty and make us feel safe enough to share when things don't feel so great. Personally, I think you have the best blog on the internet for first mother issues because you encourage healthy discussion about all sides.

  3. Lo,
    Well in many ways, I sort of consider you an "uber mother" (that's German, not Polish. Well, actually, it's not anything, but back to the point).
    Think about it, you have given birth, you found your daughter and developed a relationship with her, you are a grandmother to her daughter; you are a step-mother to me and Kate as well as a grandmother to Dylan and Eli.
    In so many ways, it doesn't matter what the nomenclature is. Dylan does not differentiate between grandmothers, there is no ranking system.
    And as far as I'm concerned, you so quickly dispelled the myth of the evil step-mother when we met (and afterward) being so cool and all, that I just consider myself lucky to have someone else I can go to for advice and insight and complaints about your husband!
    You endured a summer of me as a sullen, broke teenager with true grit and only minimal rules. I've always appreciated that.
    It's an American family, that's all. The only difference is, you don't have to carry any blame for how messed up I am (grin) and I get to have a mother who is also a great friend and mentor in my chosen profession.
    After all, if not for you, I would never have learned to appreciate Moby Dick the way I do now.
    I apologize to your other readers for being a off topic on the blog, but I had a rough day today, so I'm into public displays of affection and I thought a little testifying pre-Mother's Day was in order.
    Happy Mother's Day to you all (but most especially you Lo).

  4. @ Evan ...you rock! That was an (uber)awesome comment.

    If it's any consolation I've learned plenty from this blog and, *blush* I just wrote to your President Obama the other day regarding an adoption issue. What can I say, I'm the eternal optimist. Ya never know who's listening!

  5. Evan (the step son who sent the card):

    Well, that brought tears to my eyes again. Thanks so much for the card, the thoughts, the comment here. Funny what a public blog can do.


  6. PS: I found a translation of the printed verse on the back of the card:

    On Mother's Day and always, you're lovingly remembered and wished happiness all year.

  7. Oh, Lorraine, I'm so sorry you're feeling blue. I don't have children, so mother's day is difficult for me, too, for that reason, in addition to the adoptee issues. Thank you for sharing your heart. I love your blog, and the world would be missing a very important voice if you stopped posting.

    Please know that all the hoopla at that FB page that day was not personal - you got the brunt of anger many of us have for our birthmothers. I'm sorry you were hurt by it and felt "chased away." It's hard to know where the boundaries are, I know. Many fmoms fail to respect us as adults, whose experience has been very different from theirs, and that's hard to take. There is anger, and in my opinion, we shouldn't have to apologize for it. You are one of the few who seem to get that and respect it - many do not and take it personally, and then there we go! As I said somewhere else, there is much common ground, but outside of that, we each have to honor our own experience. There need to be forums for both to express the pain and anger without recrimination or hurt feelings.

    I respect your space here to be for first moms to express whatever they need to, and I find the insight very helpful in understanding my birthmother's feelings and behavior. I don't feel I have the right to comment on any of that because it has not been my experience. So I read and learn and value all that is being shared. Adoptees need the same space and the same respect, and I know you get that and respect that. It's really unfortunate that your post touched off the firestorm of comment on that post. I'm sure the commenter would agree if she knew you that it was ironic that she erupted at you, and not some of the other fmoms who really don't get it.

    ANYWAY...LOL! This is long. I wanted to reassure you and encourage you to come back to that forum and others. And to tell you that I was really moved by your post today. Life is so hard. My heart goes out to you, and you will be in my thoughts and prayers on Sunday. Take care.

  8. Elaine, Carolc, Wendi, Campbell, thanks so much for the hugs....

    I need to be locked up in a movie house where they are showing my favorite satires, which is the kind of comedy I love. And right now I cant think of a single one of them. It's gorgeous outside, the mood will pass but...

  9. I was thinking today about how Mother's Day can be such a huge trigger of loss for not only mothers but daughters too.

    I'm so sorry you are going through this, the only thing that is good is that it will pass, Monday will come soon enough.

    Sending you a lot of love. Please keep the forum going, it's important to have many meeting places for mothers. This is the strongest one.

    This is not an appropriate time for people to be attacking mothers, especially ones who experience loss through adoption. And especially a mother who has lost her daughter twice like you have. I'm very very sorry for your loss. Also about your mother.

    What a rought time this would have to be. Please will you buy yourself flowers and something nice, something that you wouldn't normally spend money on like expensive perfume or something nice.

  10. Happy Mother's day! Whatever the past has brought you, I know it has made you the strong woman that you are now. Hugs!

  11. Lovely card and a very moving post, Lorraine. We moms really have our ups and downs, don't we?

    I have found that loss to adoption is like losing a loved one to suicide. It's not something you really "get over." It's something you learn to live with and you can learn from it as you can get past the crippling stage where you are obsessed by it.

    With grief, you go through the stages and finally reach acceptance. It's a hard journey and I admire the mothers that face it, head on, and work through it.

    With acceptance, you can do what you think is right to contribute something from what you have learned which can be different from many others. It's all OK.




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