Monday, June 17, 2013

The Incubator Syndrome

There are many mothers who've lost a child to adoption who refer to themselves as incubators, or who feel as they are/were treated as incubators. Living, breathing, flesh and blood women who compared, or are compared, to a machine. Why? Why do these woman feel this way and reel in pain from the idea of it? Because at some point they were told they did not deserve to mother the baby they were carrying. At some point they were convinced that they were not good enough to raise the child they created. They were good enough to become pregnant, even though that meant they were sluts. They were good enough to house a fetus until s/he was healthy enough to breathe on his/her own. They were good enough to deliver a child into the world - but that is all. To say the child was harvested from her body is not an exaggeration of the experience. Today, would-be adopters clamour to be in the delivery room so they can be the first person to hold the infant still covered in her/her mother's blood. They want to cut the umbilical cord - a symbology that is not lost on me. Adopters have no place in the delivery room. Would-be adopters belong in a waiting room - of a state agency where already-born children struggle with feelings of loss, abandonment, fear, insecurity, and a desperate need for a loving home. The delivery room is for family of the mother. The delivery room is for the growing of a woman into a mother. The delivery room should be the place where an infant instant goes from the embracing warmth of mother's body, to the embracing warmth of mother's arms. Birth is a traumatic event that all humans must endure. The mighty and precious human brain must leave its dark and warm place of creation, be squeezed through his/her mother's struggling body, and experience the shock of this new world filled with light and unfamiliar sensations. To compound the overwhelming experience with being whisked away into a stranger's arms is more pressure than any tiny human brain should have to endure. That small human has been genetically programmed to expect mother's smell, taste, sound, and sight. We childproof our homes with door knob covers, baby gates, outlet covers, and all manner of padding to protect this new tiny person's fingers and toes from the unknown dangers of the waiting world. Yet, we neglect the more important organ of all, his/her newly forming brain. It is that brain that is the cause of birth after 9 months gestation. The human brain will grow too large to pass safely through mother's pelvis if s/he stayed inside mommy much longer than that. Prior to the streamlining of modern medicine, this would have meant death for mother and baby. And so nature decided to let that developing brain exit her body at a time that is physically safe, even though it is not psychically safe. Mother's instinct is to protect this funny-looking little human, and to nurture him/her into independence over time. Mother's role is more than the creation of a body. Mother's role is to develop this tiny person into a grown person. Yet the message that is sent out into society on a daily basis is that a baby "deserves" the latest and greatest car seat, cashmere blankets, stroller, highchair. Society's focus is on ensuring that baby is donned in designer labels and consistently delivered to ballet class or baseball practice. Listen very closely to the message of what parenthood is. We are told that parenthood is the providing of THINGS. This is not the message of nurture and love. This is a message of consumerism and marketing. And so the marketing machine tells young mothers that since they cannot properly engage in the merchandising industry, then they are not fit to parent. They are fit only to produce future consumers. And that is why so many mothers feel like incubators.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Right now I am teaching myself to knit and crochet. I'm learning how to make scarves, hats, afghans, and whatever else I can create... What I can create... What I bring into being that has never existed before. Triggers lurk everywhere. It's a minefield of emotions - and sadly, most of those emotions are negative ones. This is the gift that adoption has given to me. I've made several scarves. I'll see a pattern and think, "Oh, I bet I can make something different based on that!" and I make it. Each one is unique and represents the colors, the character, that I feel when I think of the person for whom I am making that item. Thought, creativity, and time goes into each one. Each one is a labor of love. And now, when I look at the completed items, I want to make a pile and light a match to them. I want to destroy these things I have created so that no one else can enjoy what I have worked so hard to create. I created them. Each one is a piece of me. And I feel resentment at the idea of giving them to someone else to enjoy. These recipients have not labored for hours to make them - they're products of ME of MY WORK... they are pieces of me. I've given away so much of me, I sometimes think that I'm just a shell. I make jewelry and always give it away. I bake and usually give it away. I cook and others eat it. I am knitting/crocheting and now others are going to find warmth in it. I created my own children from scratch! I made them. And my first born was taken from me. I labored. I ached. I created him from pieces of myself. And someone else took him away and found comfort, warmth and happiness with pieces of me. And when they did this, they did everything in their power to erase me. They took my creation and said "fuck you" to the creator. I don't want to give anyone anything else. I'm done. I feel this way all the time. I used to be generous. I use to give for the love of giving and no other reason. And now, I am closed. I shelter myself. I've built walls that are impenetrable. And all I see around me are people who want to take more. Everytime I see someone say "You've given someone a gift they can never give themselves. You're an angel." I want to SCREAM! I didn't make my children so that someone else could play house and make-believe. I didn't carry my son so that someone else could fabricate a family with my child. I didn't give birth to him to make someone else's dream come true. I put my life on the line and my health on the line so that my child could live... and I wanted him to live with me. I wanted to raise my own son. I wanted to hear him say "mama" and take his first steps in the world toward me before he took his steps into the world away from me. But no one ever asked me what I wanted. No one ever told me how inextricably linked to him I felt. No one ever cared about the best interest of MY family. And now so many years later, I sit here knitting, creating from scratch, bringing into existence something that didn't exist before. And I know in a few months, someone else is going to take home what I've created. Someone is going to receive the gifts I am forming. And those inanimate objects truly are gifts. My son was not a "gift." Triggers lurk in every corner and crevice of existence... and I just cannot escape.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kinda on the Angry Side

Morning starting off not so great... So there is some "angry" below... My note to to the adopters who spend a shit ton of cash to purchase other women's infants: You do not have the "right" to bitch and whine and play martyr over the fact that "your" child has another mother and that you have to "share." My child was made from the love I shared with his father. He was made from every bite of food I put in my mouth. He was made with all the might of my own body. My precious infant and my motherhood was ripped away from me because I was told I was not good enough. And now *I* have to share my god-given son with another "mother" and *I* am the slut who is not allowed to bitch - I am supposed to be just as grateful as he is supposed to be. Your "motherhood" was purchased to compensate for your own loss - so fuck you if it's not the fairytale you thought you were paying for. Fuck you if you are bitter that you have to "share" "your" child with his/her REAL mother... You should be on your knees thanking the money-gods who made your "motherhood" a possibility. And no, I didn't "just have a bad experience." It's not JUST ME. With each passing day, I despise infant-adopters more and more and more... Adoption is not a cure for your infertility. It is a disease among poor women and their children. And the cure is for other women to stop being privileged narcissists who will stop at nothing to acquire their perfect little apple-cheeked baby. "No one in the world ever gets what they want. And that is beautiful." -They Might be Giants

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kindred Bonds: FGM and its relationship to DIA

There are communities that still practice FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). It can be called female circumcision or female genital surgery. No matter the name, it is controversial. No matter the controversy, it's still the excision of a decidedly female organ from the female body. It is the removal of an organ whose sole purpose is to derive pleasure. No other human organ's function is solely for pleasure. The clitoris contains 8000 (that's EIGHT THOUSAND) nerves while the head of the penis contains merely half. Stop for a moment and think about what that means. Women's bodies are designed not for the giving of pleasure to men, but to the receiving of pleasure. Women's sexuality is indeed sacred. And yet the practice of FGM continues to this day depriving young women and girls of the experience of their own sacred femininity. And as much as this seemingly barbaric act is shunned by the whole of Western Society, there are women in these very communities who defend its practice.

Now we can rationalize the practice all we want. Most of the women who defend it insist that a girl must be "clean" she must be marriageable. If a woman is not desirable to a man by undergoing this procedure she can run the risk of exile from her community and it can very well cost her her life. Mothers bring their daughters to elder women to be cut, to be mutilated because they are doing what they feel is in the best interest of their daughters - for not only their success within their social group, but for their very survival. And while this practice may ensure their membership, and hence their survival, in their social group: the bottom line is that someone else is benefiting from their loss. The men who will marry them have absolute sexual dominance over these women. And depending on how extreme the practice is, sex becomes a painful ordeal that they must suffer.

But further, many of the women who defend this practice do so because they feel that going through this rite to adulthood is a bonding experience for each of the girls involved. They endure tremendous pain and come through the shared experience with a new sisterhood around them. Each girl is now a highly ranked member of her social group. She is, well, a woman. And it is the pain itself that they endure and conquer that is the thread that binds these women together in sisterhood.

I have my own sisterhood. We are natural mothers who have endured the most wicked of pain. And we are eternally bonded in the torment. We have each have had excised from our bodies something even more symbolic, more evident, of our womanhood. We live daily with the unimaginable pain of having lost our precious children to Domestic Infant Adoption (DIA.) And some of us for the very same reason that these other women on another continent endure the pain of FGM. We have to be marriageable. We have to be proper members of our society. We have to sacrifice in order to just survive. And we can rationalize this practice - the practice of excising and infant from his mother's body - any way we want but the bottom line is still the same: someone else is benefiting from our pain. Someone else has supreme dominance over the most sacred act of womanhood.

It matters not what the justifications are. She's too young. She needs to go to college. She doesn't have any good job prospects. She isn't emotionally stable. She doesn't have enough money. All of these are messages to a woman that she is not good enough. She, who she is at a fundamental level, is not worthy of motherhood.

The real difference in this analogy is that FGM is practiced in order to rid a woman of an unwanted biological organism to be discarded as trash. DIA is practiced in order to rid a woman of the most precious biological organism to be sold to desperate couples for cash. And while I can let go of my Western bias and work to understand why women would subject other women to FGM I am unable to accept the Western bias that allows women to subject other women to DIA.

With the uproar over FGM, I cannot for the life of me understand why there isn't the very same outcry over DIA.

More on this later...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's in a name?

The topic of "positive adoption language" (PAL) and "respectful adoption language" (RAL) has been on my mind a lot. Mostly because of on-line groups where natural mothers are referred to as "BM's" - a rather unfortunate coincidence. But doesn't society generally regard women who give away their children as pieces of shit? So, I think I've decided I no longer care.

One of the first things I encountered when we first embarked on reunion was the controversy of what to call everyone - mostly, what to call me. A few choice terms are out there for me: abandoner, birther, whore, crackhead. I actually embrace those. This is not a problem for me because I know the last two aren't true; and I know the first two really are.

The one term I having the most difficulty with is birth mother. I don't even know what that is supposed to mean in the modern lexicon. I do know it's history. It's not kind. The short version is that it was formed in order to separate me and my relationship with my son from my son. That's the bottom line. I reject this term.

Carl Linnaeus is the "Father of Taxonomy." I see Linnaeus as the modern "Adam." Basically, he's this dude that decided to label... well... everything. Naming things is like claiming things. If you have the power to name, you have ownership, a vested claim in that which you've named. Hence his title of "father."

And even into the current day, there are problems within the scientific community with the structure and names chosen by Linnaeus. No doubt he achieved a monumental undertaking... but since nature and science don't rely on humanity's sense of order, there have been some point of debate. You know, the whole species and subspecies thing. But that's not the point, I guess. I think my point is: assigning a name is a declaration of power.

That's why I reject the name "birth mother." I'm not going to carry a name that was designed for my by a person who had a vest financial stake in the popularization and success of modern adoption practices. I am simply, mother. In no other human relationship is the woman who created, carried, and birth a person called anything BUT a mother. There are god mothers, foster mothers, step mothers, like-a-mothers, but none of those eclipses the person's mother. Except this one instance.

Steps have been taken to obliterate me from my son's life. I was removed from his birth certificate. His "birth" certificate now states that an infertile woman gave birth to him. How bizarre is that? I have no problem with people calling her his adoptive mother. But I am, now and for all of eternity, his mother. No other man and woman could have ever made him, except for me and his father. His fetal cells are still in my body. My blood runs through his veins. My traits and parts of my personality are apparent in him. I recognize many of my weakness and my strengths in him. Even his thought patterns are similar to mine - you know, how he thinks about things.

If you need to call me by some made-up word in order to feel better, then by all means, feel better. But you have no effect on me or my son. I am his mother. He is my son. My mistakes can't ever change that.

BTW - If I am his "birth mother" why isn't my name on his birth certificate? Hmmm? Sounds like a lot of semantic juggling to me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beginning with a Single Step

Since completing university, the idea of writing has been anything but compelling or desirable in any conceivable way. Yet, here I am. Writing.

There's so much inside me that it feels, lately, if I don't find a way to let it out it will consume me and turn me into itself a la "The Blob." I feel as if I am being smothered and consumed so that the monster can use me to increase its power.

I've been trying to work on positive language. How do I have positive language when there's so much hurting and pain inside me? How am I supposed to process everything? So that's why I'm here. To process. But I don't live in a vacuum. And I don't think I can figure it all out in one, either. So, I invite the world to peer into these thoughts and this experience. Not everything I write is going to be positive. Not everything is going to be popular. Not everything is going to be polite. But, it is my full intention that everything be honest.

And so, and so, and begins.