And Yet, I am Still Told to “Get Over” Her


I’ve written about maternal-fetal microchimerism before. It served as the foundation of a poem I wrote about two years ago, “Animaeporosis.” It’s a topic that has come to the forefront of my thoughts again when recently, someone on a Facebook posted the article “Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains,” which states:

“The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm. . . .Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid, muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin.”

Profound psychological and physical bonds shared by a mother and her child – shared by me and my child. Her fetal cells that have taken up residence in my brain, lungs, thyroid, muscles, liver, heart, kidneys, skin, bone marrow . . .and yet. And yet I am told I should just “let go” of her. “Get over” her. “Move on.”

How do I “move on” when my relinquished daughter – in a very literal manner, thanks to maternal-fetal microchimerism – lives in every thought, in every expansion of my lungs as I inhale and exhale, in every beat of my heart, in the very thing that covers every inch of me? How does any woman “get over” someone so deeply embedded in her physical being?

It’s been almost 22 years. I am still seeking an answer that provides lasting relief from this bone-deep ache for my relinquished daughter.

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10 thoughts on “And Yet, I am Still Told to “Get Over” Her

  1. However much we are loved by others, as you are, nothing will ever change the connections, the biological threads that hold us to our blood kin. I guess we learn to live with the pain of this just as we do with other pain. ❤

    • I don’t understand that stance on things. As a researcher, I know most every phenomenon in existence fits under the normal curve, including the degree to which a woman is affected by relinquishing a child for adoption. There are always going to be those who fall at either tail end of the curve, those who are one or two standard deviations from the norm. Just as their are some mothers so destroyed by adoption loss they commit suicide, there are some mothers who it doesn’t affect in the slightest.

      I hate it – for those who fall in either long tail of adoption loss and for their relinquished child – but knowing this about statistics has helped me wrap my head around women like your mother. I still don’t understand WHY they are that way, but I can grasp that it *is* this way, if that makes any kind of sense. The why . . .that’s a question that will plague me until I die.

  2. We don’t ”get over it”. Nor should we be expected or demanded to. That demand by others is them living in the fantasyland of not wanting to acknowledge the reality of -the loss-, the grief, the missing of our child. AND perhaps even the fact that -they- messed up, made a mistake, did the wrong thing …in separating us to begin with. They say, ”get over it”, to which I say, tough cookies.

    I say, How bout we say we don’t ”get over it” and we’ll wait for ya’all to ”get with the program. We’re being real and living in reality. We are mothers, we have children…(wherever they may be) deal with it ya’all. Oh, and they can also deal with the reality that reunion does not magically fix, mend, heal or undo the damage that was caused by the initial separation. It is a process that needs great support, understanding, empathy and … acknowledgement that the loss was very great. For both. Mother and child. We need the time and space to grieve. Maybe we ought to turn the tables and tell -them- to ”get over it”. As in…get over their fantasy. Their fantasy that a mother and child can be easily separated with no memory, no lasting affects, no damage, no horrid, aching, intense soul crushing grief. Truth?

    I found great comfort in, Jeremiah 31:15-17. It helped me to hold on till found.
    ((((hugs))))) Melynda

  3. Melynda, I recently came across your blog and was instantly impressed by your candor and willingness to so freely share your pain with the world. I’m a social worker by profession and by education. I am a lifetime member of the LDS church and have had a long standing opposition to the blanket adoption policy that the a Church promoted for so many years. I looked forward to the day they would abandon their position on adoption which I believe encouraged ecclesiastical coercion of some of the most vulnerable members in the ward; never mind the way it undermined fathers’ rights. While they’ve not yet changed their formal position, the church has abandoned its adoption program through LDS family services. I worry about the collateral damage that this may cause to all those sisters who placed through LDS Family Services because it was what was expected of them by their ecclesiastical leaders and thereby what they felt God was expecting of them. I’m interested in your thoughts on this matter. You, or others, may feel free to contact me privately at 80cline@cardinalmail.cua.edu

    • Craig –

      This month marks 22 years since “voluntarily” signed the TPR paperwork. I’ve done the heavy lifting of healing (as much as one can) from adoption, but I’m always caught a bit off guard at how fresh the wounds can feel, even all these years later. I’ve learned excellent coping skills and done a fine job of “getting on” with my life and not letting adoption loss define me, but at times I still wonder, who could I have become without the collateral damage of adoption loss?

      Who would my daughter have grown up to be had she been raised by people who understood her at a cellular level, who never once questioned her drive to become educated, who understood to tread cautiously when she tilts her head **that way** because her Aunt Carolyn would do the same thing just before unleashing a fiery tongue lashing? Who would she have grown up to be if she had been raised by a mother who understood her craving for healing properties of a good book, a cup of tea, and an hour of quiet because it was good medicine for her, too? Who could she have become had she been raised – rooted, grounded, connected -to her people and her culture?

      These are questions that should have never been asked.

      However, because I fell prey to the LDS adoption rhetoric of a “better” life and “its about love,” these are questions I will never find answers to in my lifetime, or even the eternities, if one believes is such a construct.

      The truth remains that I am who I am and she is who she is and we are who we are. I have to trust God/Life/The Universe that we are both exactly where we need to be to learn from our own experiences the light from the dark.

      All of that to say thank you for your comment. It is rare to have an LDS social worker “get it” without me having to do some serious educating. I would love to talk to you a bit more offline about how to better care for mothers of adoption loss from a counseling perspective. There is so little help out there. I wish more therapists understand how this affects mothers and their relinquished children.

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