25 July 2010

"Paper" Pregnant?

Recently I had the unfortunate experience of discovering new terms in adoption whereby a woman announces she is “paper” pregnant. What the? How can anyone be ‘paper’ pregnant?

Apparently, it is the term women use to announce the fact they have decided to adopt and are in the process of filling out the paperwork. Yes, you read that right. They are equating pregnancy to filling out paperwork. (Only in the deluded fantasy world of adoption would one see such idiocy).

According to several dictionaries, being pregnant means to be “having young developing inside the womb”. Paper means: “thin flat material which is made from crushed wood or cloth and is used for writing, printing or drawing on”. So I cannot see how these two words can be jammed together to create a logical term.

Adoption is bad enough but now we have to contend with insecure women who feel the need to steal the experience of being pregnant and downplay it to a piece of paper? There is so much more to being pregnant than just making a decision to have a child. There is so much more to being pregnant than just the baby showers and joy as one waits to deliver her baby.

Pregnancy is a complex PHYSICAL process and should never be degraded to another level just to make people feel better about not being able to experience it. I will never understand exactly what it is like to NOT be pregnant. I have seen many people experience this to know it is incredibly painful however, I also know these women who would never dare downplay the experience of someone else just to make themselves feel better.

The process of adoption is NOTHING like pregnancy. Yes, many emotions are involved but it is incredibly insensitive and insulting to equate the two. Being pregnant is giving life, bringing a child into the world. Adoption, especially infant adoption and today’s styles of adoption, is about encouraging family separation, money making, pain, loss and a host of other experiences I would want nothing to do with and would never play any part in.

Being pregnant is also about risk. Physical risk. It is not a matter of becoming pregnant and giving birth 10 months (9 months is a fallacy given pregnancy to term is on average 38-42 weeks long) later. No there are three stages of being pregnant and THEN there is the labour and THEN the birth. All very different stages. And everyone experiences these things differently.

Not all embryos survive and many pregnant women experience a nail-biting first trimester as they battle morning sickness, extreme tiredness, back aches, cramps plus a load more waiting to see if their much wanted and loved babies (official word: foetus) make it to the next trimester. When we make it through, there are the invasive tests; blood tests, scans, sugar level tests, tests than can involve needles through the belly etc to ensure the foetus is developing. I have had many friends who have suffered miscarriages at different stages and I have had one at a very, very early stage and it can be a devastating time.

Then there are women who are told their child may not make it and thus spend their entire pregnancy in hospital being poked and prodded and tested as they wait and see what will happen when their child is born.

During the second trimester, we do get to see our child through ultrasound, we do get to feel them moving inside us and an amazing physical, spiritual and physical experience can occur for many women: bonding.

Making it through to the third trimester is a relief as most mothers understand their unborn baby could make it if they were to give birth now.

It is also a very uncomfortable time and for some mothers it can be risky. Pregnancy induced diabetes, elevated blood pressure which can fast turn into a medical emergency known as pre- and full blown eclampsia where the mother’s life and sometimes the baby’s life is at risk. It is a time of needing to sit on the toilet constantly, nausea can return, size makes it difficult to walk far, breathing can become more difficult due to cramped space within the mother’s body and the list could stretch on. And this is just from the mother’s experience let alone the baby’s.

Next, it is time for baby to make their appearance and sometimes this is spontaneous and natural and at other times it is difficult and needs medical intervention. Labour is not easy and can be excruciating and drugs do not always work. Many complications can occur during labour and indeed I know to well what these can be.

Finally, the birth occurs. Yes, it is a joyous moment where mama and baby finally get to meet each other; a reward for all their hard work. But to get there? It is a harrowing journey for the newborn and painful for the mother. I have heard many horror stories of birth and have had my own and so holding your baby at the end feels like a huge reward for getting through to the other side. And it is all worth it. Except for some mothers, their baby is snatched away from them for no reason AT ALL except to satisfy the desire of strangers to have a baby. The very natural process of being pregnant and giving birth is interrupted by this unnatural, man created law known as adoption.

To then take all these experiences and then to insult them by claiming to be pregnant on paper is incredible. A person wanting to adopt should have worked past the need to take part in the pregnant/birth stage and be looking at the REAL issues of what adoption means. The loss, the pain, the lifetime of being forever linked to another family whether you want to be or not.

Yes, pregnancy is a joyous experience but please do not insult women who have actually gone through with it and claim to be “paper” pregnant because there is NO. SUCH. THING. The reason so many people adopt is because they CAN’T be pregnant and so they should DEAL WITH THAT and not create fantasies for themselves as it is really very unhealthy for them and any child they adopt.

Finally, if people really want to continue with the whole paper pregnant routine; please remember that at the end of it all, you will only be a paper parent.

20 July 2010

The little things do matter

Two mornings ago I woke having dreamed intensively all night. The last dream was the one that really stuck with me and I can still recall it now as I sit down to type this.

I have been very close with all three of my children; and each one of them has shown from birth how unique they are, right from the beginning.

This dream was more of a flash back than anything but as it involved scenes I was not present for, I can only assume I was in some state of sleep otherwise I would not have felt like it was a dream.

It started with a memory of A and I together, in the days after she had been discharged from the hospital. We slept in the same room, and had done so the moment I was allowed to take her out of the nursery in hospital. She had this peculiar little noise she would make; a little like snuffling but not really that either. It was a noise that indicated she was not settled and it is was rather loud. I loved it. Absolutely loved it because it was my cue to scoop her up out of her crib and lay her in my arms close to my chest and I would nuzzle her head as we would fall asleep. Miraculously, whenever I did this, the noises would cease and we would sleep like that, in silence, until she woke hungry, or as happened a few times, we would wake drenched in my milk! Still, after we were dry or after she was fed, we would resume this sleeping pattern and all would be quiet.

My dream took me on to my other two children where we had similar patterns. Noodle (my next daughter), never had the noise but she was happiest sleeping next to me in her crib, or later as she got older, in my arms. She didn't sleep in her own bed until she was four years old and moved in there of her own accord... once she was ready.

Then came our little Dude and his favourite place was on my left hand side, just above my breast where he could hear my heart beat. I discovered this shortly after his birth when the nurses and midwives had left us to try and attempt sleep (as it was after midnight when he was born) and he started making the same noises his biggest sister had made. Again, I scooped him out of his plastic hospital box, undid my night shirt and lay him on my bare shoulder. We fell into a blissful slumber.

From this point of my dream, I went into scenes not part of my memory bank and I only know this occurred because of what I was told by my daughter's adopters.

Not long after she was taken out of my arms, in fact within a day or two, her noises so precious to me and a sign of what she needed became too much for them to cope with... and so she was placed in a room, a strange, cold room, all alone. No rhythmic breathing to signal I was there. No sweet smell of milk to let her know comfort was on hand. Before I woke with a tear drenched face, I could hear her in that room, all alone and it tore at me in a way I could never explain. I wish I could have walked into that room right then, gather her up and fled that house. Instead, I got to wake up.

When I woke, it hurt to breathe. Guilt overwhelmed me in waves. My little girl so happy and secure with me one moment only to be taken by strange arms with strange smells and foreign voices the next. I shudder at the thought of how her little mind coped with it.

Now it is still there, this sense of closeness. She doesn't even understand it herself. She melts into me whenever she touches me; it really shows how the small things in life really do matter. All this from a noise... and a bond that no man and no woman should ever, ever have interfered with.

03 July 2010

Authenticity - my lack of

I am a fraud. My life is based on fraud. And I can't do it anymore.

We have another visit tomorrow and all I want to do is tell A the truth and that I can no longer play this game of lies and pretend. It has been going on for 8 years. 8 years I have played this game and I cannot do it.

Part of me waking up and wanting to live again means I want to be authentic and with the existence of this situation, there is no way I can be authentic. I feel as though I betray myself and my beliefs every time I have a visit. Every time I sit there pretending everything is just fine. But in reality, it isn't. It never has been and it can never be.

I don't want anymore visits. I want her in my life but in a way that is free and honest. To spend time without all the chains wrapped around us, ensnaring and trapping us in a game of make believe. I don't want to sit with THEM, the perpetrators of the crime, the liars, those who stole, yes, LITERALLY stole my child with the aid of money and a crooked judge. Haven't I played this game long enough?

And then there is her. My girl. Stuck in the middle of this. She didn't ask for it anymore than I did and her voice was never heard and is still drowned out. How can I walk away from her knowing she will not be allowed to see me without them tagging along? Yet, I know for the sake of my family that are here and now, I need to let her go. I need to do what I have never been able to do and accept she is no longer my girl. That is all gone. She never can be mine again because of the nature of adoption. It severs everything in all possible ways. Its poison kills off any chances. I see no hope, no chances and so why should I continue with this farcical game? How can any of this help her when we don't even talk? Even with reunions I have read about and see, I see only more pain ahead, no hope of anything being real. I will always be just her birther, her womb-for-rent, her abandoner. Which means I am nothing to her.

Today is a dark, dark day. I cannot see the sun through the clouds, cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to withdraw into a cave and never come out. Pain hovers too closely and I lack the strength to continually hold it off. Why did anyone think adoption could be a thing of beauty when all I have ever seen it do is cause more anguish than anything else...