Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Another Side of the Motherhood Discussion August 18, 2010

My friend Denise writes a wonderfully brave blog (and has also written a stunning memoir) about adoption. She was a teenage mother in the 60s and gave up her son for adoption, then finally tracked him down as a grown man.

I’ve been reluctant to share the blog because it’s always felt like such a delicate subject, especially those of us who never got the chance to have children of our own, but it occurred to me today that she touches on a lot of the same themes we talk about and the issues that we deal with. She writes about loss when you’re not allowed to grieve, about choices you have no choice but to make, about the hurtfulness of people’s attitudes and misconceptions, about hiding, and about being so mad you could spit.  Any of this sound familiar?

I think it’s always interesting to see a topic from multiple points-of-view and as we’re on the subject of tolerance this week, I thought I’d share this. Denise’s blog is a beautiful look at a different facet of this motherhood discussion. If you’re up to it, take a look.

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3 Responses to “Another Side of the Motherhood Discussion”

  1. I am definitely intrigued to hear Denise’s story and if you had any particular posts that you think might resonate with the infertile crowd that would be helpful since she really doesn’t seem to have any categories or ways or filtering through the information. Thanks for taking a chance to share Denise here, as I think relating to pain is universal, regardless of the reason behind it.

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Frankly, i had rather a hard time with it. I’m hoping i’m not being intolerant. I read pages & pages of her blog. What came across to me was the idea that she really wasn’t very supportive of adoption. Adoption seems to disturb her alot. I understand her reasons, i think. She felt that she was forced to put her son out for adoption. That was painful. Some of her ideas are good (joining families so that they are blended into adopting & birth parents together). For some that might work, although i can see a number of potential problems with that too.

    Adoption is not the same now as when she was pregnant in 1970. I’ve a friend who has a daughter who gave her daughter (my friend’s granddaughter) up in an open adoption 2 years ago. The families keep in touch by FB & occasionally visit & my friend gets to see her granddaughter grow up, but she isn’t raising her. Too often people who feel pressured to keep their children don’t do a very good job of raising the children (i know a couple of young parents in this very situation).

    I guess for me it comes down to: We are each individuals. We each have our own lives. We react to similar circumstances differently & how we handle them or are hurt by them is different. We all have different hurts. How i deal with miscarriage & infertility is not how someone else handles it. How one person deals with relinquishing a child to adoption is not how someone else handles it. Adoptees don’t respond all the same. Some are quite content in their homes & don’t even have much curiosity about their birth families. Other people seem to ache deeply at being separated. It seems to be a personality thing unrelated to how good the home they were adopted into turned out to be. You can’t know from birth which children will be devastated by the adoption & which will be content. You also can’t know in advance which birth parent will be torn forever, & which, tho sad, will make the adjustment. Just as some women can apparently have an abortion & not be effected while others are simply destroyed by it.

    Part of the reason i think we have a hard time showing compassion to others is because we DON’T all react the same. A friend’s daughter had a miscarriage last fall & i wanted to send her a note, but didn’t have a current address. My friends wouldn’t give me the address because they said she didn’t want to focus on it any more, it was “behind her.” Even tho i was a bit hurt by this, i assume that they know their daughter better than i & so i left it. But i remember i received only one condolence letter when i lost our baby. It was so sweet & every member of that family (about 8 people) signed that card. It touched me so that someone would make the effort. I wanted to make that same effort for someone else, but evidently that was the wrong thing to do.

    We all react differently. So it becomes hard to know how to react & we tend to be critical instead of compassionate.

    I could be very, very wrong here (& hope i am) but Denise seems to be putting all adoption/potential adoption people in her own shoes. At least, that is how i read it.

    I’m so very, very sorry that she was so deeply hurt. I wish there was a fix for that. I just do believe that sometimes adoption can work out for all parties.

  3. lmanterfield Says:

    Kathryn, I know I took a risk posting this I’m sorry you had a hard time with it. You make a lot of good points in your comments.

    I was really sorry to hear your story about your friend’s daughter. I couldn’t help but wonder if the shut-out was the daughter’s choice or the mother’s. I also had an experience where one friend sent me a card after I told her we had decided to stop trying to have children. It meant so much to me to know that someone understood. Even when you’re trying to put something behind you, it’s always good to know you’re not alone. Too bad.


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