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.

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