Friday, November 30, 2007

Birthmothers and Hollywood

I wrote this post this past Saturday after Hubby & I went to the movies. Saturday also was the last time I spoke to my father. I called him after the movie to tell him about something we saw that I knew he'd appreciate, and he did. Then he got tired and the call ended. He has been in ICU this week and is being moved to hospice tonight. He is not ready to go, which makes it all the much sadder.


Friday afternoon Hubby suggested we see a movie Saturday. He looked on-line to see what was playing and we groaned through a few choices. Then he said, "I think I found one! It's called August Rush." I turned around and hissed, "Absolutely not!" He just looked at me for a second before asking, "Um, what's it about?" I explained what little I know, which is more than I can handle this Christmas season.

What movie studio executive thought Christmastime was a good time to release this kind of movie about a birthmother/birthparents and her/their son? This is a real issue that affects a lot of people deeply. After I calmed down I did allow that I might be willing to see it at some point, but it would have to be after the holidays. Hubby had already apologized, saying he had only read the first paragraph and it sounded appealing. I don't know what he read, but the trailer with the musicians and Kerry Russell does look appealing until someone like me realizes Kerry is playing a birthmother. I shouldn't make assumptions without seeing the movie first, but I'm sure it will probably be some happy Hollywood story complete with a perfect ending. After all, the son is just 11 in the film. If only reunion could happen at that age.

So we picked a different movie. We arrived at the theatre and settled in just as the previews started. The first one was for a movie called Juno about a teenager who discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant and is considering adoption. The trailer treats it like just another life story. I started crying since I know firsthand how adoption is a decision that deeply affects a woman for the entire rest of her life.

Then I hear the word "comedy".

Comedy?!? What kind of comedy is it that a teenager becomes pregnant and is considering adoption?!?!? And the prospective adoptive parents in the trailer (Jennifer Garner is one) are all gooey and goofy. So I am equally appalled and angry about it. The fact that there are two movies out there right now with this topic and that it has to be now, Christmastime.

I don't know if either of these movies deals with any of the grieving a birthmother actually experiences. I suspect not. August Rush, based on the trailer, makes it look like Kerry is relieved just to know her son's alive. And the teenager has the option of just 'going on with her life' and 'finding someone who loves who for what she is' - something her father tells her in a scene from the trailer. ugh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

on Death & Sh*t

Last night my dad was readmitted to the hospital, 10 days after being discharged from a 6-day stay which included a procedure to drain over 2 liters of fluid from his lungs. By 9:30 pm he was admitted to ICU. He told my brother he feels like he's suffocating.

One of our pet bunnies died tonight. She just laid down and died. Our vet says it was most likely an abcess that went undetected, something that is common in rabbits. She was 6-1/2. Her companion will miss her. I will try to pay a lot more attention to him since she won't be there to groom him, play with him (aka be chased by him), etc.

I really hate death.

For something lighter: My 2 year-old daughter knows how to say sh*t in context. Mother-of-the-year I am, huh? We were pulling out of a parking lot the other night when daddy had to tap the breaks a little hard. He let out a frustrated sigh, I kind of grunted, and from the backseat we heard a perfectly clear, "Sh*t."

Saturday, November 24, 2007


The anger is back and I didn't recognize it until just now.

I absolutely hate the way birthmothers are so dismissed in our society. Treated as interesting plot twists in the entertainment world and otherwise ignored.

And I'm angry because here I am at the beginning of yet another Christmas season. I am no longer under any illusions that I am going to have the contact or reunion I want and was expecting. He will be 16-1/2 in just a couple of weeks. This is a semi-open adoption of sorts. If had had wanted any level of contact by now, it would have happened.

I realized tonight that I am still trying to be perfect. Damn. Will it ever stop? A big part of me feels like I just don't measure up as a mother. For example, it's time to cull some of my daughter's toys and the task unnerves me. How can I be certain I am removing the "right" ones from her collection? Ugh.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Macy's Day Parade 2007

My daughter was actually watching the parade with me this morning for a few minutes before her toddler attention span returned to her ball. It was so wonderful as I watched her watch the TV. Tears started to well up but I fought them back. I have waited so long to share this annual tradition of watching the Parade with my child.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Today where I live it is cold, overcast, windy and there are some flurries mixed in with the last of the fall leaves. It reminds me so much of another part of the country which I love. I haven't been there in a couple of years and I really miss going there. Up until a couple of years ago I had a connection there of one kind or another whom I could visit. In fact, I found out I was (finally) pregnant for the second time just days before traveling there for the last time.

While the weather is too cold to make outings truly enjoyable, it is amazing how much nostalgia can make you yearn to be somewhere else.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Birthmother Thoughts

I talked to another birthmom today. I called her, a bloggy friend, about a non-adoption thing and we wound up chatting for over an hour.

Truth be told, I don't really know her that well. Sure, I've been reading her blog for over a year, we've had a couple of phone conversations and we exchange witty observations on each other's flickr photos. But that's not really enough to know someone. So part of our conversation today consisted of some fun banter that doubled for learning more about each other. There are differences but they don't matter. It's kind of fun just getting to know someone, you know? The thing is, the birthmom experience, even with its differences for each of us, bonds us. For both of us, it's nice to be able to talk about it, our feelings, our observations, our fears, our thoughts, the differences and yet similarities in our experiences. What matters to us at the moment, what ignoramuses we were and continue to be about the whole thing. We can touch on them or talk about them in depth. We can move to another topic and then circle back. For me, it's like a comfortable/comforting conversation with an old friend, even though, like I said, I don't really know her that well.

I've found something similar since parenting. People who never would have been friends before are now friends (of varying degrees) because of the common bond of motherhood. But it's easy to be recognized as a mother when I stroll my 2 year-old around the neighborhood, push her in the swing at the park or run after her at the mall playground.

And while parenting is a life changing event, I don't feel as connected to other mothers. Parenting is not the seismic shift that losing a child is, even if that child was voluntarily given to another couple. My bloggy friend and I discussed anecdotally in a prior conversation about the type of personality a birthmother has. In that conversation we talked about how we are givers, people pleasers. Today we talked about things like compassion and empathy. (Or maybe I just talked about them and she listened ... I can still be more self centered in my conversations than I'd like to be.) And I think when you are that type of person and you've given your child away because you were led to believe you didn't deserve to be a mother, your spirit is irreparably crushed.

I also think that we are still waiting for some kind of approval, yet none is forthcoming. I mean, who is going to give it? The system that told us we weren't good enough to be mother? The adoptive parents who have what they want? Our parents who urged placement and/or won't acknowledge today that there is a grandchild out there? We are nobody now. Even to the children we birthed and placed.

It is my belief that the failure to effect a full recovery from our loss coupled with our need, on some level, for approval (validation?), cause us to (1) see things, life, people, etc., on a different level, even if we don't want to and (2) seek but not find emotionally fulfilling relationships which causes more grief as expectations of validation by a third party continually go unmet.

We seek a connection because our bodies gave birth to children who were supposed to be nurtured by us on the outside as well as the inside while they grew. I gave birth to a child who would have loved me unconditionally, just as my daughter does now. 14+ years of waiting to see that spontaneous smile, hear that innocent laughter dug a hole in my heart, in my being that can never be filled.

Yes, my pregnancy was unexpected, but my decision to place, which caused the 14+ year interruption in motherhood has had horrible, unintended consequences to my spirit. And I've never seen a pro-adoption billboard or advertisement aimed at potential birthmothers mention that side effect.