Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Ongoing War

For me, coming to the decision to place my son for adoption was like a battle.  And dealing with the aftermath and the passage of time has been another kind of battle entirely.  I wanted to put my feelings into words, so I wrote a poem about it.  I actually read this poem aloud in front of my son's adoptive father.  He thought it was fantastic.  He knew it was something I had to say.  So, here is the poem that I wrote:

"My Ongoing War"

I have a son
He’s a few months over 3 years old now
I am not his mom
I am not his mother
I am his birthmother

I’ve gotten better at talking about this
Except for the sticky stinking horrible parts of it
I have an army of friends
Who try to convince me
Of my status
You are a mother
No, I’m not
You are a mother
No, seriously, I’m not
You are a mother
Ok if you say that one more time, really just don’t say it again
I’m not

And I think it’s partly because
No one knows
I think
No one wants to know
Even I don’t really want to know
The mental struggle that I went through
The mental and emotional war that I waged
With and against myself
And it was a bloody and fantastic war
Between the mother in me
And the birthmother in me

The mother in me wanted to keep him
Wanted against all good sense and reason in the world
To keep him
Tried to believe so hard
That there had to be a way
To keep him

The birthmother in me wanted what was best
Wanted to make sure that he was loved, cared for, knew where he came from
And be raised
By someone else
Knew the realities
Looked for possibilities
But found none worth the risk
And slowly began to convince me
He should be raised
By someone else

By the end of May I said to the father of my child,
I am 75% certain that adoption is the best option
And because he was and is still good at finishing my sentences he said,
It’s just the 25% gets loud?

It gets so very loud

I found a wonderful and loving couple
From the first time I saw them on the site
I knew that they would be the ones
They were the ones to have my son
And keep him
I met them at the beginning of June
And after an hour long talk
I was 95% certain that this was the right idea

I had won the war, damn it
I had won the war
The birthmother had won

But oh, at what a price

While I am still certain of what I did
Where he is
How he is doing
That if he had stayed with his birthfather and I
Life would have been far different
And something much more horrible
Than I could ever wish on my worst enemy’s child
There were still skirmishes left to fight
Two that I won
Three of them are still on going

After leaving the hospital
With my son travelling in the opposite direction
I got home
The first skirmish, was panic
What did you just do?
What the hell did you just do?
Do you have any concept?
Do you have any idea?
What were you thinking?
What did you just do?
Where is he?
How is he?
What will this even be like?
Will we ever see him again?
I know promises were made
But what if?
What if?
What if?

Pictures came a couple days later
And with that more pictures
More conversations
And slowly but surely,
The panic was appeased
And faded
I won
I was now 96% certain I was right

The second skirmish is an ongoing one
It was missing
I was told when he first smiled
I was told when he first rolled over
I was told when he started to crawl
I was told when he started to talk
I was told when he started to walk and very soon after to run
I was told
I never saw these things start
And I started adding up all the things that I missed
And would never get back again
That one I lost
I was still at 96% certain

The third skirmish that attacked my resolve
Was an internal one
Was guilt
I felt terrible for giving my child a complicated life
I felt terrible for the fact that he had three last names by the time he was a week old
I felt terrible that I had to give him to someone else to make sure he would be safe
I felt terrible that my decision affected people in both our families in ways I hadn’t foreseen
I felt terrible and I felt horrible and I felt ashamed
And I felt like I was a damned creature
That I had gone against the name of mother
And done something that people found abhorrent
And some people do find it abhorrent
I’ve met them
I’ve been extremely lucky
In that I have yet to be yelled at in public
But I have met them
I have met many more
And I watch the shift in their eyes
As they try to reconcile their stereotype of a birthmother
With this girl they see standing before them
And as they calmly ask questions
And talk to me about it
They begin to understand
And they begin to accept
And I came to terms with certain things
I did give him a complicated life
I did give him three last names
But it’s better than the life I would have given him
I won, and I am at 97% certain

The fourth and fifth skirmishes
Are ongoing
They’re names and arms
They make up the last two percent of my uncertainty
The three percent that are still the mother in me
They usually only happen when
I see him again
I see how tall he’s gotten
I see how much more he looks like me
And I hear him call me
I am not mom
I am not his mother
I am Elizabeth
His birthmother
And I wish that I could hold him
But he is a squirming whirlwind these days
And I’m not mom
And the arms that ache to hold him
Can’t contain him
And can’t hold him back
And deep inside my heart the creature that wanted to be a mother
Rakes her sharpened claws through me
And whispers,
I should have been mom

And that 97% of myself
Aching and bleeding and trembling and bruised turns back and says
No, you wanted to be but you couldn’t
You are not mom
You are not a mother
You are a birthmother

Because that is the best that we could be for him


Any other poets in the house?  Any one else used writing to finally put down what they feel into words?  Let me know in the comments.  Or just let me know what you thought of this.  Hope you're having a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful way to express the feelings of a birth Mom. I really loved reading this and appreciate that you had the courage to write it. Keep it up!