Friday, June 19, 2009

The Due Date

Today, June 19th, was my due date back in 1991. It's still such a significant date for me. I think it goes back to that "static" motherhood idea that I posted about a few days ago. I've thought about it, and him, a lot today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today my son turned 18.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Grief, the overwhelming kind

The grief of relinquishing a child is overwhelming and I just didn't always handle it well. Okay, it consumed me and sometimes I did not do well dealing with its omnipresence in my life.

Since I was in my very early 20's, I tried 'having a good time'. After all, isn't that what I was supposed to be doing? Isn't that why I was supposed to give up my baby, so I could have a 'normal life' for a 20 year-old???? But given the opportunity to drink at a party, I would often drink too much, and my grief would only feel even larger. My early 20's were such a dark, lost time.

I remember the evening of my 22nd birthday vividly. I worked a 12-hour day as usual. After all, if I worked hard at my 'good job', wasn't that one of the 'right' things to do, that I was supposed to do with this second chance and all that? I came home to my then-husband and just knew it was over. I felt badly for him because it wasn't his fault. I remember thinking to myself I should be happy. I was still so young, still had so much opportunity in front of me, had a guy who was good to me, blah blah blah blah. And as much as a fog as I was in, I strongly felt like there was something significant about turning 22. I'll never forget it. Sitting there in the late summer light, on the floor of carpet that really was beyond the age of replacement in a rented house, there was something about 22 but I couldn't quite place it.

The other night, in the middle of the night, I got it.

My daughter was born on the 22nd.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I believe in signs, especially considering how hard it was for me to try to become a mother after years of believing I didn't deserve to be one.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Static Motherhood

Like some other birthmoms, I didn't feel sure about calling the child I gave birth to 'my son'. But then I figured, absentee dads get to claim their children as 'my kid', so why couldn't I call the child I had grown and birthed my son?

However, as we birthmoms know, having a child you still feel connected to, still feel extreme love for, etc. but not raising that child leaves a huge void. Part of that void for me is the sudden ending as soon as the child goes to its adoptive parents. Everything is just a memory at that point. So it's all static, not dynamic. While the child isn't dead, my connection is. There is only so much that can be garnered from an annual update and a snapshot. Everything is bittersweet - the few things I have from the hospital stay, the few pictures that I have in an album. I wonder about so much.

The static v. dynamic thing has really shown itself in my relationship with my daughter. Everytime she hurts herself, I am beside myself. Most mothers hurt more than their children when it comes to boo-boos, but I am always terrified that it's the first, small sign of some horrible thing. (I've read blogs about moms who noticed an unexplained black-eye and soon thereafter neuroblastoma is diagnosed and child dies months later.) I wish I could shake the feeling that she will be taken from me. I wish I could relax more and just be her mom.

I don't know about any of my son's childhood mishaps, injuries, etc. There have been no individual worries since I am not privy to his daily life. Again, it's static. I notice the cigarette sign on convenience store doors about 'you cannot buy if you weren't born before this date in 1991.' Does my son smoke?

As my daughter outgrows her boo-boos, we move on and all is well. I remember holding her as an infant in the middle of the night and feeling like I had missed so much with my son. Now, I can't even fathom what it would have been like to be his mother as a toddler because I don't know his toddler personality, whether he was as fearless as his sister, any of that. But I know each mark on my daughter's body and how it happened. I notice how some have faded to nothing, how some are barely visible. The memories of her have accumulated to the point where I don't remember everything, but I can look back and smile when something comes to mind.

I still don't smile when I reminisce about the short time I had with my son. It's all so bittersweet.