August 20, 2016

Perspective



 

 (Originally written September 1, 2009)


I work for an amazing network of parents raising kids with extra needs.
 
We support new Mom's and families who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, have a baby in the intensive-care unit, or whose child has just received a diagnosis of some type of health issue, disability or delay.

 It is the perfect way to "give back" a tiny bit of the support others gave me when my son was born very early.

It seems amazing, though, how everything is interlinked and interwoven in my journey.

I recently visited a young Mom on bed rest in the same hospital that my son was born and hospitalized four years ago.
It was surreal to walk those long halls and enter the familiar room where my son and I literally fought for our lives.

I remember hearing women giving birth at all hours, while I lay hooked up to monitors and magnesium sulfate praying to live; listening to them push and cry out in joy when they held their babies.

So when I entered the room today and saw her laying there, my heart broke.
Showing her the birth picture of my one pound son and watching her face react in surprise and HOPE that he made it (and so can her baby);
it was empowering and healing.

The strange part of this experience was the exchange I had at the "check-in" desk for visitors, before I could go back to visit her.

Waiting in line, I over-heard an adoption agency "mentor" asking questions regarding the "protocol" for when she brings her "mentee" in for a scheduled c-section.  She was concerned about where the "adoptive parents" would "wait" to see the baby.

As the older lady asked these questions, I noticed the pregnant Mom playing quietly with her other young child, who was with them. The little girl was so sweet and cute, and as she walked by we made eye contact.
I looked into her innocent eyes and wondered how she will someday deal with the reality that her Mother "placed" her sibling for adoption. 
 When will this young mother REALIZE the huge life-altering decision she is making? And why aren't there more resources available for mother's like this to receive support, without encouraging her to surrender her baby?

I happened to KNOW this "mentor." 
 When she turned around, I re-introduced myself and we talked.
She is the wife of a former state senator, whose district I happened to live in a few years ago, and we also attend the same church.
I went to one of their open houses and enjoyed talking to her about adoption and the IMPORTANCE of adoptee access issues.
She shared with me her passion for "orphans" and how she someday would like to be involved in helping more than she was able to while her husband was busy with politics.

I guess her "someday" has come.
We are both at a place in our lives with roles of "helping" but with completely different perspectives.
 
As an adult adopted person, my idea of "helping" a young mother does not involve "encouraging" her to be a hero by "gifting" her own flesh and blood, simply because others are married, or have more money, or badly want a child.

The gravity of separation between a mother and her child ~ whether to miscarriage, prematurity, or adoption ~ is profound.

Adoption should never be "encouraged" to provide a child for another,
even if they have waited and hoped for a long time.

Support (in my mind) would involve equipping young mothers with the knowledge and tools to embrace the miracle of Motherhood.

I WISH there were more resources available to pregnant mothers, that did not involve the "option" of surrendering their babies.
When this "option" is included in pregnancy "counseling" it seems to be ripe with conflict of interest and serves only to plants seeds of doubt and low self-esteem in an already vulnerable mother and baby. 

Stranger still is this all occurred not only in the hospital my son was born, but also the same hospital I was born and lost my Mother in, in 1968.
My records (that I have had to fight for) mention "prolonged crying" in the new-born nursery the day I was discharged to the attorney.

Maybe I already knew.

The day I gave up hope of being "me" with the Mother and family God originally ordained me to be. The day that would start the journey of life-long search & necessary healing.

As I experienced this day, I found myself empathizing with the feelings of so many ~ the way my first Mother must have felt (like the pregnant mother awaiting the birth of the child she would turn right around and relinquish to others); the loss her small daughter will feel someday as she realizes the minutes, days, and years she lived without her sibling; and the fear I saw in the eyes of the other expectant Mother, 26 weeks pregnant and praying for one more day, one more month of carrying her precious infant close.
Having to surrender her child to metal beds, loud noises, sharp sticks, and bright lights in the NICU ~ so many emotions.
 
All interwoven and all involving the most primal, important, and profound relationship of all ~ Mother & baby.

My son (born 3 months early) STILL doesn't have a strong sense of self.
His use of pronouns ("I", "me", "you") are all mixed up, especially when it comes to conversations involving me (his Mom) and him.
We are ONE (still) in his little mind, because his development is so delayed from being born premature and being separated from me so early.
Not to mention his anxiety, attachment, and trust issues.
It breaks my heart and reinforces the profound importance of the early mother/baby bond that is lost with premature birth AND adoption.

No matter how many "professionals" (making their living from this 'business') want to gloss it over or completely deny it ~ it affects every aspect of an adoptee's development and life-long perspective. EVERY ASPECT.

If organization skills are really a picture of our inner-life, no wonder it has been so hard to live by the rule I grew up with ~ "everything in it's place". 
 Some things may never find "it's place." 

 This adopted woman's life was forever blessed,
the day I became a Mother. 

 Yet I profoundly felt my son's pain of being separated from me. 

 My hormones screamed for him while the primal inner child in me wept
 knowing his cries were for his Mother, and yet not able to hold him in the place we both longed for. 

 My womb. My arms. 

 I shudder with memories of walking away from that incubator each evening feeling intensely broken.

It's taken me 2 hours to write this. 
 I've been blessed to hear a little voice yelling "Mommy" every few minutes ~ my son wakes from napping and realizes I'm not beside him.
Thank you, God, for that voice. Thank you...

5 comments:

a Tonggu Momma said...

It took two hours to write this, but I am so very glad you did. Thank you so much.

maybe said...

Wonderful post.

Being Me said...

Thank you for your tender way of putting things in perspective.

inwritingmotherhood said...

Lovely writing and telling of this story.

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