15th Story of Transgression: I am a Birth Mother

Today is our son’s 5th birthday and the 3rd we will spend with him and the family. We missed the last two due to our fracture, so this is a special one.

Being a birth mother may be the most transgressive thing I experience because birth mothers are invisible in our culture. Adoptive parents are celebrated and offered tons of support for their journey. Birth mothers are neglected, ignored, and forgotten once they hand their child over to another mother.

Our grief is not allowed to take up space because we chose this separation from a piece of our heart walking out in the world. No one wants to know why we are too “selfish” to raise our own child, nor how much it hurts when our cells scream for a child who is not there. No one wants to know how much animal instinct is involved and how unnatural it feels to be in a mother’s skin without a baby to nurture.

This is the hardest choice I’ve made and lived with. I felt he was her child within moments of being told I was pregnant, but that didn’t stop the dissociation and grief from literally tearing my life to pieces. Would I make the choice now knowing how my body and heart would react? I have no idea. I don’t have the physical capacity for work, so I know I couldn’t I care for a child full time without significant suffering. And I would’ve been a full time mother from ages 17-60, which is not what I want. Though I struggled fiercely to move on from mothering, it isn’t everything to me.

When I called a beloved friend while I was considering my options, we talked about the necessity of me birthing myself. I feel as though I am finally bringing myself into life as an artist and writer through Transgressive Woman. These 100 Stories are shitty first drafts for my memoir project. And while a memoir project may seem self involved, it is also a framework through which I can share all that I’ve learned in my years as an activist and community builder.

What has being a part of an adoption triad taught me? Surprisingly transformational justice and the importance of learning how to repair fractured community relationships. It’s also taught me that the adoption world is a hot mess and we need to be having cultural conversations about how to handle the inevitable traumas of adoption instead of ignoring them. We need to shift adoption away from being a privatized industry where someone’s making money for talking a young woman into giving up her child.

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