Saturday, September 18, 2010

Coming Out Of The Fog

I started a draft of this post a week or more ago, but I couldn't find the words to say what I really wanted to.  I will never get my thoughts out as well as Cassi does in this post that inspired me to come back & give it another try.  It never ceases to amaze me when I find other first moms that speak the words of my heart.  Sadly, it appears that most first moms share much of the same story...

In the  first 6 weeks or so after reunion, I was so extremely happy.  I felt like a different person.  I truly have never in my life felt so... complete and at peace.  

This sounds really corny,  but at times it felt as though my heart would burst open with love.  I felt more love for my husband, my raised kids, everybody.  It was like the door that I had closed that afternoon at the hospital was swung wide open and torn off the hinges.  It was during those first few weeks that I realized how much I had shut down my emotions, how much I had closed myself off.  

I was amazed that people didn't ask why I was so different.  Didn't ask why I was so happy.  A few of my close friends did notice, but I thought it had to seem obvious to everyone how different I was.  During the first couple of months into reunion I also lost 20 pounds ~ effortlessly.  

I had such a turn-around of so many beliefs I had held in the almost 30 years since giving Christopher up.  I never really allowed myself to think of him as my son.  He was the baby I couldn't raise.  I loved him & missed him always, but had never allowed myself to be his "mom", never allowed him to be my son.  

Before reunion, I truly felt as though I was simply an egg donor and an incubator.  I was just a birthmother (although I have never liked that name).  I didn't know or understand why that name bothered me, but it did.  

At first, when reunion was new, I worried about what Christopher's parents thought.  I felt that if I was starting to come between him and his parents in any way that I would have to back off our reunion.  I didn't want to come between Christopher and his parents.  I felt like I was the outsider who had no rights to interfere in their family.  

Before reunion, probably even a few weeks into reunion, I held the belief that young moms should give their children up for adoption in order to give the child a chance at a better life with parents that were ready & able to be parents.  It saddened me to see young moms keep their babies, thinking that they were being selfish and not putting the babies best interest first.  (I did not ever promote adoption, as I wanted nobody else to have to know the pain & loss that I did.)  

I held the belief that I was stupid.  Stupid for having allowed things to go too far & becoming pregnant that first time.  Stupid for having to give my baby up for adoption.   

About six or seven weeks into reunion, I started to have thoughts and feelings that contradicted everything I had believed for almost 30 years.  

~ I realized that the love I felt for Christopher was no different than the love I felt for my raised children.  I started thinking of myself as Christopher's mom.  Completely.  
~ I started to think that it didn't matter what Christopher's parents thought about our reunion.  Reunion was between him and I.  Nobody else.  
~ I realized that I was not stupid.  I did the best I could as a 15 year old with nobody looking out for my best interest.  
~ I realized that the reason I hated the term birthmother was because it belittled who I was in my son's life.  I did not stop being his mother at birth ~ I would always be his mother.  
~ I started to become heartbroken at the thought of young moms giving their children up for adoption.  Knowing how their life is forever altered, forever broken, without their child.  I realized how strong & important the mother/child bond is.  I realized it is something to be treasured & cared for, not torn apart.  Not only for the mother, but also for the child. 
When I first started having these realizations, I wondered what was wrong with me.  Why was I suddenly feeling so angry about everything?  What was wrong with me??  Was I finally losing my mind??

Thank God for cyber-space!  I found blogs & a forum where other first moms spoke of the same feelings.  I was not going crazy!  Everything I was feeling was "normal".  

I realized just how deep my denial went.  I realized that in order to be able to go on with life, my mind went into "safety" mode.  I truly believe that if I had faced just how deep the grief over the loss of my son to adoption went, I could not have survived the first few years.  I would have become one of the statistics of first moms that become alcoholics, drug addicts, or suicide victims.  

The last 20 months have been very hard, so very wonderful, but so very difficult.  I am a grown woman, and it has been life changing.  I cannot imagine how my 15 year old self, with nobody to help through the reality of adoptions effects, could have survived loss so great without going into denial. 

I still have a lot of work to do as far as healing my heart & soul from the loss of my son, from the years lived in denial.  I know I need to find somebody to talk to, I need some counseling to help me get through this.  To find strength and believe in myself after living so many years feeling "not good enough" to be my son's mother.  Sadly, there is nobody in my area that helps with adoption loss.  My one attempt, about the time I started realizing the truth about my loss, was a complete waste of time.  The details of that one session will probably become a blog post someday.

Since reunion, adoption is on my mind almost 24/7.  I cannot concentrate on anything to save my life.  I am so distracted at work, at home.  I used to read books all the time.  I can't read anything longer than a magazine article anymore.  I have gained back the 20 pounds, plus another 20, in the last 18 months.  My house is a mess.  I don't even enjoy things I used to.  I love quilting.  Now I can't even force myself to finish several projects I have in various states of being done.  It has been months since I've turned on my sewing machine. 

There have been many times I almost found myself wanting to go back into the fog, into the denial.  In so many ways it would be easier.  But I refuse to live a lie any longer.  I refuse to hide the love I have for my son again.  It would kill me to live another day of not knowing where Christopher is or how he and his family are doing.  The great joys of knowing my son far outweigh the hard work that reunion has brought into my life. 

I am so glad that I have been able to begin shedding all the lies and untruths about myself, about adoptions effects on my life.  I am so glad that I found all the other first moms on-line that have helped me begin to find myself again.


  1. I remember feeling and still do feel the same way that you described.

  2. Susie,

    Oh, how I can relate to everything you said here. From your feelings to your experience to your needing the denial just to survive.

    ***but at times it felt as though my heart would burst open with love. I felt more love for my husband, my raised kids, everybody. It was like the door that I had closed that afternoon at the hospital was swung wide open and torn off the hinges. It was during those first few weeks that I realized how much I had shut down my emotions, how much I had closed myself off. ***

    This was me too! So much! Suddenly those emotions were so much stronger than they ever had been before. And even now, almost four years into reunion, I find myself loving my family more than ever and sometimes just sitting in awe for having them in my life.

    As for finding help. It is so hard to do. I finally found a wonderful therapist who knew nothing about adoption loss but she knew trauma and depression and PTSD, all things I was suffering with and she has been a lifesaver for me.

    It takes strength and courage to break free from the denial that holds on for so long and I am so glad you were able to do so!

    It's a frightening yet freeing place to be, isn't it?

  3. You've hit the nail on the head. I'm 15 years in, things not going so well anymore, but your post takes me back to those feelings: the euphoria of finding, of knowing, and then the anger at everything (including myself) that caused my son's adoption. All the feelings I had denied, shut down, after his relinquishment. Reunion brings it all back. Tough stuff to deal with.

    I'm so glad you've found the support you need. For me it was in-person, in local groups at first, which were invaluable, and later the women of blogging. Again, I'm so glad you have added your voice to the bunch. You validate me.