Birth Mother

There's an anonymously written post up at Shakesville about the trauma of being a birth mother.
I have given a baby up for adoption, and I have had an abortion, and while anecdotes are not evidence, I can assert that abortions may or may not cause depression - it certainly did not in me, apart from briefly mourning the path not taken - but adoption? That is an entirely different matter. I don't doubt that there are women who were fine after adoption, and there is emphatically nothing wrong with that or with them; but I want to point out that if we're going to have a seemingly neverending discussion about the sorrow and remorse caused by abortion, then it is about goddamn time that we hear from birth mothers too.

Believe me when I say that of the two choices, it was adoption that nearly destroyed me - and it never ends. The only comparison I have is the death of a loved one. The pain retreats, maybe fades, but it comes right back if I poke at it. Writing this has taken me nearly two weeks. Normally, I can write this amount in about thirty minutes, with bathroom breaks. I started to type, and stopped only to reread, then go wail into my pillow. There is no such thing as "over" with this.
My mother gave up a baby for adoption (also through a Catholic service because she was Catholic at the time) when she was my age. It was just one month over thirty years ago exactly, the spring of her senior year in college. It's so unfathomable that if we were to somehow trade places, I'd have just given birth.

My half brother found our family when I was fifteen, so we know him now, but I can see on a daily basis how much it hurt her to give him up. When he showed up six years ago, she went into something of a tailspin of resurfaced depression over it. I think she's just now getting her life back on track with her health and work and writing, and it's been hard to watch.

I'm very glad that whoever wrote this post is speaking out about this. I've heard so much about it from my mother. She too tries to bring it into dialogue by talking about it, and she's heard some of the most heartbreaking stories from other women who shared because she did. It's hard for me to write about this because it's my mother's story, not mine, but I just wanted to thank the anonymous poster for bravely putting her thoughts out there.


On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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