Recently I came across this post while browsing some other blogs I follow. It is a beautifully written piece by another First Mom (I use this term because it is what she is comfortable with) who has struggled with her adoption decision. Our experiences and feelings toward adoption are very different, but some of the wounds left behind are very similar. In particular she wrote this paragraph that reached into my body and squeezed my heart:
"...I never once considered that my deep fear of losing my younger children in some way or another had anything to do with the loss of my first child. Never imagined that my self-doubt of my worth as mother was tied in to being led to believe I wasn't a good enough mother for my oldest son. Never even considered my heart wrenching reaction to even the smallest form of loss was a direct result of suffering the loss of my own child."I suppose that part of me always felt like my fears and anxieties about Cookie were more pronounced than most mom's. I guess I always knew that my dreams of her being kidnapped, the waking up screaming and the fear of any slight hurt or sickness was over-the-top. Truly, though, I never thought to connect those feelings with my placement. I only know that losing her would somehow kill a piece of me that I would never be able to revive again. I had never even begun to wonder why it meant so much to me to be the best Mom possible for her, to not allow her any harm and to make sure the world saw my commitment to her.
I certainly noticed how the slightest trip into grief could make me shut down in a way I never knew a person could. How even months or years after the slightest loss it could still be a soft spot, but this was just my sensitive nature, right? As an example, I had a cat when I was younger that my mom gave me when I was 10. He was my baby before and after my son was born, and in many ways I felt like he was a placeholder after placement. Right before I turned 18 he died. He was old, logically I knew this would happen one day. Yet, when I found him in my back yard I wailed so loudly in despair that my mom heard me on the opposite side of the second story of our house. She thought I was injured. In a way, I think I was. I felt the loss of that Cat like I did the loss of my son. Feeling that way again seemed to rip open all of those precariously healed wounds again. This was just the FIRST time I felt this exaggerated loss response. It was not the worst, but I still get misty-eyed when I think of that day.
I have lost friends and family since then, and each time I felt like my response was out of place even in the grief around me. I have no idea if this is normal, I just know it is MY normal now. Does any of this mean I regret my path? Not at all, it just means I am dealing with this all the best way I know how. This is a conversation I will most likely have with a proffessional sometime soon, but with the knowledge that knowing my issues is the biggest part of dealing with them. I dont think I will ever really "Get Over" any of these strange neuroses, but as time passes I am learning the skills to deal with each of them. I am so glad to know that no matter what other differences there may be in our experience, I will always have the cameraderie gained by finding other birth(or first) moms around the web and locally.