Dear fellow readers,
Thank you for all your comments it's so nice to get feedback from you all! Most recently I've been going to other blog sites to get ideas for posts, my favorite so far is webfeet. In it I ran across this fantastic posting about the frustration a mother feels after making an adoption plan…In it she talks about some of the very normal feelings she experienced after placement and talks of this feeling of being "de-mothered" I've talked with clients who share this experience, that even though you are technically a mother, because you aren't actively parenting society seems to ignore this fact…
"I felt De-mothered. No one’s mother. Hit the reset button, reboot and start again. Motherhood erased. That’s how it was supposed to be.
After placement my body had other plans. From the months immediately following placement I have fragmentary memories of panic and ache, imaginary injuries (I thought the epidural had caused a tumor to grow on my spine, for expample), nightmares, paranoia, minor visual disturbances that had me convinced I was schizophrenic. Bear in mind, I was a high-functioning crazy person: I got A’s that semester in school, the semester that started six days after E’s birth.
My consciousness frantically erected a hall of mirrors around the source of my body’s acute distress. Survival made this necessary. The success of my plan to retake my life hinged on there being that maternal reset button. To think of myself as postpartum, to think of myself as a mother and entitled to the grief of losing one’s child, this would have been an admission that could have brought down the whole illusion.
Thinking about the baby is something I did not do much. My diary doesn’t reflect more than a passing thought of her. Dissociation was complete.
As time went on, the manifestations of this indirect grief evolved. Hypochondria was a favorite device, as was the single-minded hunger to have another baby, an insistent urge to replace what was lost, to complete the motherhood interrupted.
This where I found common ground haunting the message boards populated by other mothers of loss: mothers of stillborn babies, mothers with recurrent miscarriages, these women expressed the same sense of missing a piece of themselves, of primal longing for completed motherhood. The difference, in my mind, was that they came by their grief and the resultant longing honestly, and there was something illicit and inappropriate about my sense of frustrated maternity.
It set my mind to wondering: if E had died instead of being placed, would I be considered a real mother, or still just a birthmother? The world of message boards was perfectly clear: birthmothers are NOT mothers. They don’t stay up late with sick children, they don’t kiss boo boos or wipe tears. But what about mothers whose babies had died? Are they unmothered too, or do they get to hold on to maternal status even in childlessness?
I hope this post leaves you with the sense that motherhood isn't something that leaves you, when your child leaves you…it's something you hold in your heart that stays with you always…So to all you mothers parenting or not I wish you the best of luck in everything…and as always keep in mind you're not alone…
until next time,