Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm having their Baby Defense Mechanism

A little over twelve years ago, I was in my mid twenties, single, scared out of my mind, and pregnant. For a myriad of different reasons that aren't the point of this post, I’d made the choice to place my baby for adoption. I had chosen a good family and things were falling into place logistically but they weren't in my heart. There is absolutely nothing natural about rubbing your own belly to calm your kicking baby knowing you’ll only spend a few short days with him (or her) before you hand him over to the woman he’ll call Mom. But, I needed a way to cope, a way to be strong enough, and follow through with what I felt was best at that time in my life.

So my defense mechanism became referring to Charlie, referring to my son, as “their baby.” “I’m having this baby for them. This is their son.” I’d tell myself that over and over. I’d use it in conversation with strangers. I’d even go as far as to say “I’m having this baby for friends” because at that point, they had become my friends so it wasn't totally a lie but it wasn't the truth either. I was in big time denial of the way I was about to feel. I was trying to detach myself from my baby. It was my way of coping and it continued until the day I gave birth four weeks early.

As I sat cross legged in a red t-shirt and watermelon boxers in the hospital bed holding a sweet four pound, six ounce little baby boy in my lap, I cried. He wasn't theirs. He was mine. I was his Mother. He was a part of me and he was absolutely beautiful.  I saw my nose in his, our complexions were similar. As I counted ten toes and ten tiny fingers, in that special moment many, many Mothers have with their babies, I realized that I’d just been telling myself he was theirs to make it easier on me. It didn't work. It was silly. I’d tried so hard to not bond with him but the bond I felt with him those moments was absolutely overwhelming and undeniable. I wish I’d fully experienced, accepted, and enjoyed that pregnancy as my own because sadly it will probably be my last full term pregnancy ever and I spent most of it pretending he wasn't mine.

I’m not the only birthmother I know who has told herself this – who used this defense mechanism to cope and make it through the difficult process of placing a child for adoption. Did you do this during your pregnancy? How do you feel about it now? 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I felt this way and often told the AP how I felt blest to be a part of "their" process. Now, over a decade later I look with older eyes on my younger self and want to tell her that she is worthy. That was the last thing I felt then... I was the most unworthy piece of s#!t It didn't matter what I said or how many people told me I was doing something amazing or beautiful and stressed the importance of financial security in the child having a "good" life, I felt utterly unworthy. Unworthy to make such a decision for someone else's entire life journey when I had made such poor decisions for my own. I felt unworthy of being a mother and I believe adoption seemed the most logical because that was a way of punishing myself and having others accept it. I wanted to believe I was unworthy because that afforded me the power to hate myself. Hate myself for having sex outside of marriage, for getting pregnant outside of marriage, for not making good decisions for myself and for not being able to support my own flesh and blood when nature asked that of me. Well it worked. As soon as I voiced my choice for adoption it was as if everyone offered all the reasons why I wasn't worthy to parent and how money and strangers were the "best" for "my" child. No one told me about the trauma and identity crisis my child would have to endure because of that decision "I" made. No one told me that most adoptees have to go through years of therapy to become well adjusted in their relationships as adults.

    I still have a lot of healing to do but now that I've been married almost 4 years to a man who went through greater trauma around his child than I did and found ways to cope and love again so I believe I can too. ( more and more each day). I no longer believe adoption is the magic solution to end abortion. Honestly an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There is NO easy solution with an unplanned pregnancy but I think there needs to be less manipulation in the adoption community when a pregnant girl is looking at that option. Adoption has some heavy costs with it and if someone is going to research that option they shouldn't be made to feel like they are the absolute worst thing for the baby they are carrying. It not only impacts that pregnancy but any pregancy the women has down the road. What makes her think she will be any better of a mother when she was convinced she wouldn't be if there wasn't a solid marriage and financial security involved. What happens if she has a fight with her spouse or he gets laid off with no fault of his own. When times are hard will she have a mental breakdown because she was taught to put her security in that? Of course, adoption as an institution has come a long way and I support that, I just think it still has a long way to go.