My adoption is not a secret. My family knew all about it. My husband knows all about it. A few, trusted friends know about it. So in the strict sense of the word, it’s not a secret. However, I certainly don’t go out of my way to divulge the information. For years now, I have lived with all the pain on my own shoulders. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have brought it up in conversation. Maybe on 2 hands if you count all the times I had to explain while I was pregnant and when I had to tell a doctor or nurse because of medical issues.
Birthmother Shame Only Serves to Silence Us
I have such intense feelings of shame surrounding my experience. I am not naive and I know how most people view birth mothers, even if it’s not a conscious thought process. The thought that someone could view me as some deadbeat loser who gave away my child scares the hell out of me. I want to be liked. I want people to think highly of me. Doesn’t everyone?
For too long, I have been silent. I have allowed those around me to believe that my experience is buried in the past and has no effect in the present. Too many of us feel this way. Our silence is part of what forms society’s opinion about adoption: That it is a beautiful choice. Most people only know about adoption from the adoptive parents’ perspective. For them, it is a miracle. I can not contribute to that any longer. I will not. I decide to no longer be silent. I decide to no longer let my shame be a part of the adoption machine.
I am so afraid of the consequences of my decision. By lending my voice to the other brave birth mothers who speak out loud on adoption issues I am opening myself up to scrutiny. I am opening myself up to ignorance and judgement. This is going to be uncomfortable. This is not going to be easy.
I shared this video about the Life long Impact of Relinquishment today on my facebook page. It was hard. Hard because even though it is certainly not my video, it is exposing me to all my facebook friends as a birth mother. Old high school friends and current friends who know nothing about it. Family members that thought I was “over it.” I was scared as soon as I hit the share button. What would people think?
I posted it a few hours ago and only one person has commented on it thus far. She is an old high school friend who I haven’t seen in years. I’m not entirely sure if she realizes why I shared it. What is amazing is that she said she “had no idea it was like that.” Okay, so I know not everyone will say that or agree with it, but it was the exact reason I posted it. To present a different side to adoption that people are not aware of. It was an affirmation of why I am starting to go public.
At some point, I will connect this blog to my facebook page. I am not ready to be exposed to that extent yet. It is something I am going to come to terms with, but it is a process. Baby steps people, baby steps.