Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy Birthday E.

Today is the birthday of a fellow blogging birthmom's daughter. In honor of Kateri, I am linking to two of her recent posts which really touched me, all the way to my core, because of the way she can describe so well the raw emotions that are always there for me, too, just below the surface. The hurt and grief of losing a child you gave birth to never goes away, even if you willingly gave the child to another family because you believed you were doing the right thing for the child, that he (or she in Kateri's case) would have a better life.

In Knitting for E, Kateri offers a piece of poetry talking about the gift of gloves "made by the mother / She doesn’t know". Excerpt:

I imagine them
Fitting her hands
Like she fit Into my arms
Nestling Like a puzzle piece
The first time I held her
That moment She was born.
She goes onto write:
I have no idea if the gloves will fit, if she inherited my tiny wrists or her father’s thick bones. ... I wish I could see her, talk to her. I want to have a moment with her where we understand each other. That moment will come someday, I tell myself. ... More waiting.
In other times of the year, I can feel like this was worth it, but not now. Not when I remember the day she was born, not when I remember the surprise of how she felt in my arms, like she belonged there. Like she fit there. I wasn’t expecting to feel that. I thought my unfitness would have me keep my distance. I thought she would be out of sync with me, because I thought we were destined to be apart, because I thought she belonged in other arms.
Right now, I wish I had listened to Nature. I wish I’d put her to my breast, because that would have sealed it. I should never have let her go.

I don’t often let myself feel this, the raw regret of that moment when she was born, when I turned my heart to face the future I thought would be best for both of us, instead of turning my mind to face our bond as mother and child. I could have turned the Titanic around, I could have backtracked and taken her from the people I promised her to. But I turned away. For my sake and hers, for their sake as well. I regret it. I regret it. She was mine and I turned away. ... I gave her what I thought was best, I thought.

My mind is constantly at war with my body. My body knows I turned her away.
E, I am sorry. For a moment you were mine. I denied that moment for so long. I am sorry. So sorry.
And it was this poignant post that really went straight to my heart, that made me feel like someone could see right inside. The blunt truthfulness of despair that I recognized found me nodding, saying, "Yes, I know," to the computer screen. And then I sobbed, the kind of whole body crying that comes with pure grief, that makes your chest hurt, awful moaning-like sounds come out your throat, the seemingly unending tears flow as your eyes become swollen. And why am I embarrassed to admit that? Have we all not at some point felt this kind of grief? Ahh ... but I'm a birthmom, I'm supposed to have moved on ...
Well, I am reprinting, without permission, most of that post here because, like the reprinted words above, I want to be sure I have them if Kateri ever takes them down. And if Kateri finds her way here: Thank you for your words, for sharing your grief so that we know we're not alone. Happy Birthday E. And hugs and love to Kateri today and any other day she needs them.
She is Everywhere and Nowhere
There is a vacuum where E should be.

Her pictures are all over the house. ... I wake up between my girls in the morning with Miriam holding a picture of the missing girl, E's is often the first face I see when I open my eyes, smiling back at me from the life I bestowed when I thought I wasn't good enough for her.

Less than a month from her birthday I am feeling the familiar tightness in my chest, the tension that is building, building, up to the crecendo of sadness and regret, peaking in the cold stillness of January.

I don't know what to give her for her birthday. What does she like? What does she want? What will she treasure? I don't know. I don't know.

What do you give the [child] you don't know, who holds a piece of your soul?

3 Comments:

Blogger Kateri said...

I can't thank you enough for this. There are no words.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

You're welcome, Kateri.

9:31 PM  
Blogger kim.kim said...

Oh I can't read it birthdays make me so sad. I can't bear it that Katri has to suffer this.

6:04 PM  

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