' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Today is my daughter's birthday

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Today is my daughter's birthday

Jane and Lorraine, April 1982, about a week after her birthday
Today is my daughter's birthday.

Okay, I'm done trying to ignore it. Some years I do better than others but today, maybe because the forsythia bush outside is ready to burst into bloom, maybe because I'm packing to move and going through a lot of adoption papers, and finding letters from her from that first early part of our relationship, and letters from people who wrote me after Birthmark was published, maybe because moving upends your life and you keep making decisions about what to keep, what to pitch, maybe because the song on the radio coming back from the super market was that soulful She's Got You by Patsy Cline, maybe because I watched Long Lost Family two nights ago, maybe because...well, there it is.

Having my daughter and giving her up to be adopted is the single most traumatic event of my life. Relinquishing her was more than a life-altering event; it was an invisible barrier separating me from the rest of humanity. I would always be a woman who lost a child to adoption. I would find her, we would have a reunion, but nothing would ever be as if she had not been adopted. Our relationship would proceed, but it would always have that huge hole in it, and neither one of us would ever get over it.

This morning Tony and I got back from an errand around 11:30 a.m. and I saw the forsythia bush and thought, yes, this is just about the time I was being driven to the hospital.... She was born around 1:30 p.m. April 5, 1966, the year of the Fire Horse in Chinese astrology.

To those who don't know, forsythia was in full bloom on that day in Rochester, New York, and I remember my friend Christy Bulkeley driving fast on a road that was lined with forsythia in bloom, a blur of yellow.  Christy was my only friend in Rochester; she worked on the afternoon paper, I worked on the morning paper, The Democrat & Chronicle. We were each the only woman who worked on our respective papers' metro desk instead of in the "women's department." She left me at the hospital and went back to work. Christy went on to become a pioneer for women in journalism, and we stayed in loose contact over the years.

I was alone at the hospital. My daughter was born. When I woke, my social worker from HillsideTerrace, Helen Mura, was there, thank god, because there was no one else, and she was good to me. I had a moment of wailing from deep inside; I was held down by two attendants, and given a powerful relaxant; I fell into a drugged sleep. They did not understand I needed to mourn my baby, now gone. Mrs. Mura called Patrick at work and told him. He came with a dozen red roses around five. It's after five after I write this.

Jane has been gone since 2007. We had 26 years. She had a hard life--adoption, epilepsy, emotional turmoil--and she chose to end it.

Some years I don't even focus much on her on the day of her birth. This year is different.--lorraine
Christy C. Bulkeley

Weird: I just looked up Jane's father and found that his parents lived on a street with the same name as the town in New Jersey that my husband is from. Synchronicity, again.


  1. Thinking of you and Jane, and wishing I had words of comfort on this hard day.

  2. Hugs to you Lorraine. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  3. It is days like this that only other Moms like us truly understand the pain and heartache this day brings us. Like you wrote, some years are better than others.
    And then to suffer the loss a second time! There isn't anyone who doesn't empathize with a mother whose child died. But how many mothers go through it twice?
    You have my love and my heart today. Hugs, Joy

  4. Thinking of you Lorraine and your daughter Jane to day xx �� �� ☕ ��

  5. Dear Lorraine, Your deepest sorrow and loss, for which there are no words--as an adoptee, I have a greater understanding about the suffering my birth mother also endured. xo

  6. Thinking of you today Lorraine...Valerie

  7. May her memory continue to endure as a blessing. May you be comforted among all who mourn.

  8. You and Jane are in my heart, Lorraine.

  9. Heartfelt love to you and your daughter, Lorraine x

  10. Dear Lorraine, I'm so sorry for your loss of your daughter. From your pain & loss your book has been a blessing to many people.

    1. Dearest Lo,

      I remember the day you reconnected with Jane several decades ago and when Holly & I joined you two in August 1983 for the NY Times Interview.

      I know how Jane suffered and wish she could have reached out for support to those who loved her. Of course forsythia is your memory trigger but, even without forsthia, you would always remember her birthday.

      To be remembered by those we loved is to never die. That adage is inscribed on many headstones in France, and I believe it. Keep your remembrances about Jane in your heart.Love, Alison



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