Monday, May 31, 2010
The mothers that I speak of are the mothers of the Era of Mass Surrender, or EMS, or for some the Baby Scoop Era, or BSE. Their stories, their memories are nothing less than horrific. I am not making light of the issue, I mean what I say. I cannot speak for them and will not try, but know that these women were not given a choice, often were coerced to relinquish their rights as guardians to their children, some were drugged, some were blatantly lied to, it goes on and on. There are so many voices from that generation of degradation of unwed mothers it is just a terrible part of history. They have something to say and made their voices known. I am thankful that they are out there, talking and reminding everyone that this actually existed in our history, so that it is not repeated ever again.
I believe that it was those voices, those advocates for mothers of loss that helped create what is now considered open adoption. How? Well, there are many documented studies that show that what used to be the tactics of getting parental rights was not legal, nor was it in the best interest for anyone! What it did show was forced adoption was not a healthy way to adoption. Laws were put into place, wording was changed, more attention was given to the wants of the mother, and for future generations like me ... well it showed the states that railroading a mother would not work. I spoke my mind, kept my cool and eventually was able to see my children grow. I know that when I was pregnant, this whole idea of open adoption was still very new, very innovative, very controversial. It was controversial because these women began to speak up, they started to share their stories and band together as a force, they wanted to change adoption. They were being heard. Things changed, but I don't think they changed the way they thought it would.
So from this change comes a different generation of birth mothers, oh yes I did say those words and for very good reason. A generation of women who were influenced not only by those in the same shoes before them, but a whole slew of women who were influenced by a period of time when women were rising up the respect ladder with activists like Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, women of strength with a voice. This generation was very different from the generation before it, women were being heard beyond what had been allowed before and the concept of open adoption was coming about in a whole new light. I know that these two sides of a mother's view are like night and day. They are. And sometimes a conversation between them will take ugly turns, dangerous curves and some straight aways that will have your heart racing 100 miles an hour.
I get it, I know that there cannot be a middle ground for some. I know that they are just as passionate about telling their story as I am about telling mine. What I don't get is the attacks. It seems to me that what these ladies are forgetting is that time when they were going through their pain, struggling with the loss, trying to make sense of it all. It is such a lonely place. It seems that you are the only one who is going through it, that no one could understand. What they did not have was the wonderful benefit of the world reading their thoughts. I wonder if they think about the effect that all this Internet has on a new or even somewhat seasoned birth mother? The fact that so many can come in and just rip you for your beliefs, your truths as you know them? Sure, there were those that may have told them face to face over the years. But, did they ever have complete strangers come into their living room and talk to poorly to them, speak so disrespectfully to them? I would think not. I would think that they could remember such a heart wrenching time in their lives and realize that they may just be hurting more than they are helping. To talk so poorly to FELLOW mothers, to keep commenting about how others do not know their own stories, to wrangle friends to go comment and harass mothers looking for support, to refer to those mothers wanting to help others as cult leaders ... well, who wouldn't be disturbed reading all of this? Who wouldn't need counseling reading all of this? Who wouldn't want to crawl in a whole and hide away from the world reading all of this?
Such a shame that sometimes our toughest critics are those who should be able to understand, but who choose not to. I appreciate your voices, but you have to know when to leave people alone. Sometimes it almost borders on terrorism.