This year’s Mother’s Day kicked my ass, plain and simple. Yes, I survived it, but only because there really is no other option, is there?
Up until 2005, I mostly ignored Mother’s Day. I would send flowers or a card to my mother and grandmother, but I didn’t have to really acknowledge the holiday for the most part. I wasn’t emotional, I just ignored the day.
When I got married and had children that I actually am raising, the whole day changed. I could no longer just go about my business pretending that the day didn’t exist. Other people wanted to celebrate the joy of motherhood with me on that day, but not for the child I gave away. No one wanted to talk about that on Mother’s Day.
I think the assumption most people have is that because I now have “real” children that I am raising and am an “actual“ mother to, that I do not think about the child I gave away on Mother’s Day. Most people would not consider me a mother to that child. No, certainly I am not mothering him in any real way now. I have these three beautiful children to celebrate being a mother to. That is real to most people. The child I gave away is abstract.
I am friends on facebook with my son’s father. This is a semi new development that I am very grateful for. He did send me a quick Happy Mother’s Day message, but I am not really sure if it was for our child or just his acknowledgement that I have children and we are friends so have a nice day. Whatever the case may be, it was a small thing that made me smile that day.
What people do not realize is that having these three “real” children only intensifies the feeling of loss I have for my first child. And so, I was a miserable cunt on Mother’s Day this year. Truth be told, the only thing I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and sleep the day away. Instead, I spent the day outside with my kids, watching them play, and hoping that the Mike’s Hard Lemonade I was guzzling would make the day go by faster.
If you were a fly on the wall that day, you would probably not notice anything amiss with me. I simply sat there, drinking my drinks and smiling at my kids. Inside my head, however, was a completely different story.
Here are some random emotions and thoughts that ran through my head:
Anger – Fuck you Mother’s Day! Fucking bullshit holiday on which I must pretend to be perfect Mommy. Fuck you husband for not letting me stay in bed all day. Fuck you Mike’s Hard Lemonade for not providing me with the buzz I so desperately want. Fuck me for not buying a box of wine instead. Fuck you family for not even acknowledging that I might have mixed feelings about the day.
Jealousy – I wonder what my son did for his “real” mom on mother’s day? I wonder if I am even a passing thought for him today? I bet those rich bitches are out celebrating and having the time of their lives today. Fuck you for being able to spend the day together.
Self-pity – I want to be his mother. I should be the mother who gets to hug him and kiss him and love him.
Mostly, I was just irritated that I couldn’t enjoy the day with my family without grieving for my child. One more day to get through in May without having a complete mental breakdown. Jesus, having a mental breakdown at this point sounds like a nice vacation!
So I had to step back from adoption for the last couple of months. I think we all need to do that from time to time. But, just like every year, the month of May is here. My son was born 15 years ago, May 30th.
As soon as May 1st rolls around on the calendar, my emotions go into overdrive. Mind you, I think about my son every single day. Sometimes it is a passing thought, sometimes there is a more steady stream of emotions. May brings flowers, warmer days, and an emotional sledgehammer to my heart.
I read a very dismissive statement the other day from an adoptive mother. She stated that it must be a hard day once a year on her adopted child’s birthday for his birth mother. As if the only time us first mothers think about their children is on that one day a year. Fuck off is not a strong enough sentiment for that adoptive mother.
Every time I have to write a check, or make an appointment, or simply check what the date is, when I see the word, May, I feel like someone slapped me hard in the face. It is just another reminder of the mistake I made, the regrets I have, and the longing for my child. Couple that with Mother’s Day being this month and it’s a wonder I haven’t taken a long walk off a short pier.
I wonder if there will ever come a time when the month of May does not feel like a punch in the gut. It has been 15 years, so I am thinking I already have the answer to that question.
I realized today, that I have left out a big chunk of the “why adoption” puzzle in my story. I originally left it out because I did not want to make it sound like I was trying to garner sympathy or pity. I do not want either of those things. But today, a memory came to me and I was thrust deep into the throws of the “what ifs”.
I have severe asthma. I have had it since life began. When I became a teenager, it only got worse and from about the age of 15 I could usually count on going to the ER at least twice a year and being admitted into the hospital at least once. For many women, pregnancy exacerbates asthma. My OB told me that 1/3 of asthmatics will get better during pregnancy, 1/3 will stay the same, and 1/3 will get worse. I am sure stress had a lot to do with it, but during my pregnancy with my oldest son, my asthma got worse, much worse. At about the 6 month mark, I had such a severe attack that I was put on a ventilator and my doctors seriously contemplated taking my baby out early.
The first time I ended up admitted to the hospital during the pregnancy was fairly early on, right around the 2nd trimester mark. I had not told anyone I was pregnant yet, except the father. My doctor urged me to tell my mother as soon as possible. I was absolutely terrified.
On the day of my discharge, my nurse came in to talk to me. She was probably only a few years older than me, very pretty, seemed very together. My mother is a nurse, so I know how busy they are. She sat on the edge of my bed, took one of my hands in hers and started talking. She told me how she had an abortion when she was younger and then a year later found herself pregnant again. She told me how terrified she was and how ashamed she had been to be pregnant again. She asked me if I knew what I wanted to do yet. I told her I thought I was too far along for abortion, so I was not sure. She looked into my eyes, which were full of shameful tears, and told me I could do it. I could raise this baby. She explained how she was a single mother and although she struggled, she was raising her child and was thankful everyday for him. I don’t even think I said anything, just cried and nodded in agreement.
This nurse, who didn’t know me from Adam, took the time out of her extremely busy shift to sit and connect with me. To support me and encourage me.
I look back on that moment, before adoption entered the picture and I feel like such a fool. What if I had just listened to her? What if I had asked how she did it? What if, what if, what if.
That day, I was discharged from the hospital, and on the way home I told my mother I was pregnant. This is the moment adoption entered my life and any thoughts of raising my own child faded. Hello what ifs and goodbye what could have beens.
Instead of jumping right in with a gut wrenching post about how adoption came into my life (which I will get around to doing at some point), I thought it would be better to start off with some ground rules so that you, the reader, can make an educated decision about what you take into that brain of yours.
#1. This is MY truth. I speak for NO ONE but myself. I do not speak for all First Mothers, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
#2. I have stopped towing the adoption triad line. I will not be using this blog to extol the virtues of adoption…if that is why you are here, turn away from the light, CarolAnne.
#3. I am making a decision here and now not to delete comments that disagree with my own opinions. I will most certainly comment right back atcha though.
#4. I arm myself with sarcasm and profanity. If your eyes are too dainty to take in 4 letter words and self deprecating sarcasm, again turn away from the light.
#5. I will not at all times choose the “right” or most PC adoption terms. I will use terms I am most comfortable with. I will use the terms “birth mother” and “first mother” interchangeably because at this point in my life neither make me feel better or worse about my truth.
#6. I will at times, contradict myself. How I feel at this moment on this day may or may not jibe with how I feel on a different day.
#7. I am an agnostic. I don’t do God-speak well, and especially not organized religion. You will not see empty sayings like, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” on my blog (what a crock of shite).
#8. I also don’t do politics.
#9. I will be willing to read opposing viewpoints and arguments. However, if you come here calling birthmothers whores, expect me to call adoptive parents willing participants in the baby buying industry.
#10. I am most interested in hearing other birth mother and adoptee stories. I need to come clean that I am really not overly concerned with the adoptive parents’ truths since it is my belief that they are the ones who most benefit from modern adoption practices.
So that’s it (for now). I reserve the right to change any of these rules at a moment’s notice.