Waking the Tiger

I have been working on a rough draft of a memoir based loosely on the letters I have been writing here. Let’s just say the process of carefully looking at how this all came to be and the affect it has had on my life is difficult. But as others have said, there is no way to get “over” it than to go through it.

Over on the blog “Earth Stains” written by an adoptee, Megan, she talks about “Revealing and Healing One’s Adoptee Pathology” today.  She asks her readers to do a little exercise, to create a list of things they value about themselves and how they show they are grateful for them. Here’s my attempt:

Things I Value About Myself

How I am Grateful for Them

I am an excellent mother (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I have overcome years of abuse at the hands of my father (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I earned a BS and MS as a single mom (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I had the determination to do the work to earn a PhD (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I am compassionate to those around me (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I am highly skilled in nearly everything I set my hand to (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I easily comprehend complicated tasks (Except I gave away my firstborn child)
I am practically minded and usually well prepared (Except I gave away my firstborn child)

Seriously. That pretty much sums up my life.

Anything I feel like I have to value or to feel good about in my life is tempered by the fact I am “that” kind of woman. You know, the kind that abandons her child to complete strangers. It doesn’t matter how good of a mother I am to the children I kept, what I have accomplished professionally or personally, how sound my marriage is, or any other thing a person might list as being of value. The fact remains: I gave my daughter to strangers.

And to be honest, I am not the only one who holds this view, society at large does as well.

Oh, you are are a good mom to the kids you kept? That’s because you didn’t have to “deal” with being single and poor. Oh, you earned a PhD? That’s because you “placed” your baby for adoption. Oh, you have a great marriage? That’s because he didn’t have to raise your bastard child. Seriously. I have been told these kinds of things by other people, well meaning, to be sure.

At any rate, writing about all of this in greater depth and detail seems to have awakened something in me. I am not quite sure it is all that elegant, pretty or nice. I am tired of being nice and playing nice with society about losing you to adoption.  Whatever this is inside of me is hungry after laying dormant for so many years.


6 thoughts on “Waking the Tiger

  1. Oh, M…..the first thought I had when I read this was for you should add something after the “Except I gave away my firstborn child” part.

    That would be “…because I believed the people who claimed to know what was best for me and my child- people who should have known that all my child wanted or needed was ME- people who should have known-people who did not have my best interests or the best interests of my child in mind.”

    • Thank you so much, Linda. I really needed to hear that and it means a great deal coming from you. My head knows it but sometimes my heart forgets, if that makes any sense. Yesterday was one of those times my heart forgot that there were some serious external factors at play in my relinquishment story.

  2. Agree completely with Linda here! Yes, you gave away your firstborn child (as did I), but you did that because you believed you were doing the best thing for your child. We didn’t know the truth ~ because we weren’t told the truth…

    Hugs and love to you M ~

    • We weren’t told the truth at all, Susie but we are still treated as if we were and we went ahead with the “plan” any way.

      Thank you for the kind words and your support.

  3. Melynda – Hugs to you – As another woman who gave away her firstborn child, I have to believe that we are somehow more than just that one life-altering, earth-shattering decision. We still have great value as people despite what we have done, despite how others may look at us! Cutting ourselves a little slack and forgiving ourselves is so difficult. Just as I have to pray that my son won’t reduce all his accomplishments or good things in his life by saying “But I was given away and adopted”, maybe I should be praying that we all stop reducing ourselves as well. Thank you for writing and for letting us read it, even if it isn’t “all that elegant, pretty, or nice”!

    • Cutting ourselves a little slack and forgiving ourselves is so difficult.

      Sometimes I am better at it than others, other times? Not so much. This is one of those not so much times. Hopefully it will pass quickly and I can get back to feeling a bit more compassionate towards myself.

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