Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Parenting After Placement

Part of the adoption-speak told to and believed (for a time) by birthmothers is how we’re getting a second chance, that we can restart our lives, etc. The problem is, it doesn’t work that way. Parenting is no exception. To the outside world, my daughter is my firstborn child, the first time I became a mother. My head tries to think this is the case, too, but because it isn’t true, the First-time Mother thing just doesn’t work for me. When I acknowledge to myself that oh yes, she has a brother, that she is my second child, that the firstborn thing isn’t the real script for me, the role of Mother feels more right to me. I’m beginning to think the time has come to publicly acknowledge my status as Mother to my second-born in order to not have to consciously remind myself each time I find myself feeling like the Mother role isn’t fitting quite right. See, I’m happier when I recognize my true status because I don’t have any of the feelings with my daughter that I had with my son. The awe is missing, for example. And while I was not mothering him in person all the years that preceded my daughter, I still was (an am) his mother in my heart, in my thoughts.

I already have a preview of how freeing it may be to open up. For the first time ever, I’ve found myself saying (only once or twice), when I was pregnant …. For years, I never said anything like that and had gotten so used to not sharing about being pregnant, that I just didn’t. Then I realized I could! After all, I now had a child I was raising so it was okay to admit that yes, I have been pregnant, but I haven’t been able to elaborate on the differences in my pregnancies … so I still find myself shutting my mouth. Why live a lie? And how true to myself can I be if I continue to shut off or shut down certain things since all of what I am makes me who I am? I find that when I do say something aloud about my pregnancy, it somehow makes it more real to me since I really felt disconnected to my daughter while I was pregnant (an aftershock of placement I think), and this has been a pleasant surprise because I feel guilty about not connecting with her prior to her birth.

I’ve found myself fantasizing about opportunities to start acknowledging my daughter's brother. (I really enjoy thinking of him like that ... looking at her and thinking 'you have a brother' - it always brings a smile to my face.) I almost brought him up in the “family secrets” conversation I had recently with my mother. There’s an upcoming family event in May when everyone in my immediate family will be together. My sister-in-law is currently pregnant with their second baby, a girl, who will join their firstborn, a boy. I am certain there will be at least one conversation about babies, expanding families and the like, which will inevitably bring the question of when Amelia will get a sibling. My sister already has a daughter and younger son. Should anyone point out something along the lines of how everyone has a boy/girl combo except us, I want to correct them. If the opportunity arises, will I have the guts to do it?

It may be time to have a conversation with the hubby since disclosure affects him, too.


Blogger Llama Momma said...

Hi Jayne --

I found your blog through the blogging birthmother's webring. I just had to chime in here and say that for YEARS I agonized over when to talk about my birthson, when not to. When I finally let it go and brought him into conversation about my children, it brought amazing freedom. I'm sure it's not that way for everyone, but for me, it's huge.

So, yes. Every time I talk about pregnancy with someone or birth order, I casually mention, "actually, this was my third pregnancy. I had a teenage pregnancy and chose adoption fo my son..." and continue on with whatever we were talking about. With my twin pregnancy (my second) I always felt like I was lying to people, pretending it was my "first."

Anyway, I hope my ramblings make sense!! Good luck to you on this journey of motherhood!

11:04 PM  

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