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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Abandoned. Twice.

An issue that some adoptees face, especially those in a closed adoption, is abandonment.  We were, quite literally, given up.  In itself, there is no judgment in that.  Birth mothers undeniably want the promise of a better life for their child than the one they believe they can provide.  But regardless of her intention, the net effect is that she is giving (or gifting) the rearing of her child to another.  On the other side of the equation, the child may eventually feel abandoned.  I didn’t even know I felt abandoned until I was in my twenties.  And, I may have never felt that way about my adoption, if I wasn’t struggling so much in my relationship with my mother.

At and after the death of my brother, my mother stopped mothering me.  I was eleven years old.  Because we never spoke of my brother or the accident that took his life and nearly took mine, I was left to grieve, heal, and process what had happened all on my own. Think about that. I was merely a child myself, yet I was forced to contend with the reality of my brother’s death, literally right next to me, my own serious injuries, my grief stricken mother, the fact that, in an instant, I went from middle child to oldest child, and worst of all, because my mother (and my father and family for that matter) never attended to my emotional well being, I was allowed to conjure whatever I could to explain why my mother stopped mothering me and as an adopted eleven year old child I believed that she wished that I had died instead. I continued to believe that until I was well into my twenties (and to some degree still believe it). With the help of therapy I came to understand that she didn’t wish me dead but that given her closeness to my brother, his dying and her mental & emotional limitations fractured my already fragile relationship to and with her. To sum it up (and to thereby sum up my entire relationship with her), it would have probably been easier on her.

My mother deciding to stop mothering me when I was so young and no one else in the family intervening on my behalf, set in motion a chain reaction of me having to grow up very fast without any of the tools that having years to grow up would have provided. Because my parents continued to provide financially for me, I was made to believe that that was enough. I took it to mean that they loved me because they provided for me. Recently, during an episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels (betcha didn’t see that coming? Me, about to have a revelation through watching that drivel) Gene asks his kids (in their early 20s) if he was a good father. And, his daughter quite astutely says that she thought he was a good provider, but not a good father. And that neatly and immediately summed up my life growing up with my parents: they were providers. They provided food, shelter, and education. And I mean PERIOD.

It has taken me decades to realize that when my mother stopped mothering me, I was abandoned for the second time. The very woman that my birth mother entrusted my care to abandoned me. Only this time, my mother didn’t entrust my care to someone else. She literally deserted me while still claiming to the world that she was my mother.

All of this is coming to the fore as other members of my family have finally come to understand about my mother what I have been subjected to for decades. Things are coming to the eventual head that all closely guarded and therefore corrosive secrets come to. The stress of processing and coming to terms with this in the shadow of those who have always put the responsibility for repairing my relationship with my mother on me, has eaten me from the inside out. From my appendicitis at 13 to my gall bladder disease and removal in my twenties, to my hyper-now-hypo thyroid condition to my shingles, it is has all been caused by the burden I’ve internalized being raised in a closed, disconnected, facade maintaining, unattuned, emotionally unavailable family. It would not surprise me to find out that my infertility was caused, in part, by decades of stress.

Yet, I am still standing. And, as things come to a head and the crazy swirls around me, I wonder how that is possible. I credit the many friends in my chosen family who mentored me and ushered me through the toughest years.

I can tell the toll that waiting for the other shoe to drop has taken, though, because I went to breakfast with some mom friends this morning and I was in tears by the time I sat down. Just being in the company of compassionate friends, even though they didn’t know what has been mounting, allowed me to break down and it did wonders just to be out and about and enveloped by people who care.

To be continued…

“You can’t put abandonment and alienation under arrest.”
~Carrie P. Meek

9 comments to Abandoned. Twice.

  • DB

    I understand so much want you mean by wanting/needing to be “mothered.” The pain of this yearning has been excruciating at times. I too feel it has affected my health in the past. And also, perhaps, contributed to infertility issues I have faced. Thank you so much for helping me feel not so alone in this experience. Your writing is very comforting for me. Very.

  • Lisa

    I stumbled upon your blog after typing into a search engine “adoptee ababdoned twice”. I feel for you as I was adandoned twice as well, my adoptive parents got divorced when I was twelve, I went to live with my mother who had a biological daughter who was two at that time, After the divorce my mother went back to school,She was devistated over the divorce , never got over it.I was her shoulder to cry on,she stoped mothering me altoghether, would reward me for cleaning the house with cigs and a glass of wine, I became the maid, cook and care taker of her daughter.each year became worse and worse.I was eventually left out of christmas but I always had to do the dishes.I was ignored when I was sick, My little sister grew up to view me as a nanny maid , My mother always reminded me that when I turned 18 I had to leave Which I did..
    I am 52 now, never married, never had kids I have a really hard time getting close to anyone. tried doing the adoption registry searches for years but finally gave up. I felt for you when I read your post I know your pain, very well It made me cry, I wonder how many souls that have been adopted are abandoned twice?,

  • nh

    I feel so sad for you – everyone needs to be mothered and to know that you have lost that twice – it’s heartbreaking. I hope to keep your story in mind, so that I never, ever do that to my son.

  • Sue

    Profoundly sad. I am so sorry you missed out on truly being mothered and nurtured emotionally.

    I am also continually in awe of what an amazing and emotionally present and aware mother you are to your son.

  • Wow — this is all so familiar to me, it’s scary. I just stumbled upon your blog, and can tell I am going to be up late reading through your entire archives. I am also an adoptee, and have been on this IF/miscarriage journey for several years now (though we are lucky to finally have a son). My adoptive mom was a severely mentally ill alcoholic who I pretty much had to mother myself. This abandonment thing came up later for me than I would’ve thought, but is a pretty big issue I contend with. Also lots of interesting stuff coming up raising my son, and having that first-ever link to a bio relative.

    Strangely, I realize I don’t write much about being adopted on my blog. But you are kind of inspiring me.

    I am really excited to hear you are adopting, as this is something that I wonder about a lot — going through IVF/losses AGAIN after having my son is just too awful and I am not sure I have the stomach to do this much more. Yet that is a whole new can of worms with lots of fear. Anyway, enough about me. Very excited to find you. And will be happy to read more.

  • your story really resonates with me. My brother, 14, died the day after my mom found out she was pregnant with me, and her frozen grief had a profound impact on her capacity to love, and to love me. I still find myself feeling that I don’t ‘really’ have a mother, even though things are so much better now, and she and I have processed and grieved together. I’m so sorry both of your mother’s abandoned you. ((((HUGS))))

  • Lut C.

    I don’t know what to say.

    The decision a birthmom takes to place a child is a visible one. Even if society doesn’t deal with it adequately, it is recognized.

    Emotional neglect by the apparently loving parents is a different thing entirely.

    As regards your family’s new insights, I don’t know where this will bring you. Hopefully more steps forwards than back.

  • Claire

    Really really hard stuff this is. Your mother was so very very wrong to abandon you and so were the rest of the family who stood by and watched the utter emotional neglect going on before their eyes.
    I wish some one wise and older had been there to scoop you up and love and protect you then.
    I think your survival skills and tenacity are amazing. No one should have to survive and endure that kind of abandonment.
    I’m glad you have people in your life who you have chosen as mentors who have been better parents and friends.
    And thanks to your mommy friends for giving you the space to nurture and comfort you.
    Big hugs, my friend.

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