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.


Blogger tk91 said...

Poignant reflection on the plight of birthmothers everywhere...thanks for sharing, even tho' it is obviously a sober topic.

Even with open adoption and more frequent contacts, there is so very, very much we do not know of our "child's" experiences...

4:49 AM  
Blogger starchazer said...

i have read ur blogs and u are a wonderful person i know what its like to be a birthmother its very hard the pain we feel is unbearable i understand where u are coming from

5:06 PM  

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