Motherhood – Post Adoption

An infertile couple unable to conceive are generally focused on their own needs.  Some have a rescue complex.  They hide their own issues behind a desire to save some poor child from a fate worse than death.

What is rarely talked about are the long-term mental and physical effects upon the original mother from surrendering her baby to others for adoption.

It would only be natural to expect a woman who has carried a baby in her womb for nine whole months to experience some short-term grief.

The reality is that there is often a long-term lasting impact.  How long you ask – 4 years, 25 years, forever ?  Just as every person is different, every mother who loses a child will have differing abilities to put the loss behind her and go on with her life.  Never does she ever truly forget.

So, a relinquishing mother may go on, will certainly have some kind of life but she is generally forced to live a code of silence that carries with it a toxic aftermath of effects upon her physical and mental health continuing throughout her life.

Some mothers feel compelled to search for their child.  These women may be prone to a lowered self-esteem, anxiety and may worry about the well-being of their child.  These women may require more doctor visits and most will attribute their physical and mental problems over the years to the loss of their child to adoption.

Many of these women had parental pressure to surrender their child to adoption.  Certainly, one of my sisters did.  One of my grandmothers may have.  The indications are there – she was married but separated from her husband for some unknown reason.  She was sent away from Tennessee to Virginia to have that baby.  I doubt she was supposed to bring my mother back to Tennessee with her but she did.

I would say that ALWAYS, these women had little or no emotional support during the pregnancy and after the relinquishment.  There would have been few, more likely no, opportunities to talk about their feelings related to the surrender.  There is overall a lack of social support for their depression.

In letters written by natural mothers post-adoption, there is an intensity of feeling and a need to describe the emotional pain they continue to carry within them.

Even when comfortable with their decision to relinquish, as my youngest sister definitely was, very proactive, very concerned about the outcome for her baby – I do not doubt that she still felt a loss, some pain and mourning (even if not consciously aware it was that) and based upon a letter she sent to her son during his teen years, she did have a continuing sense of caring for that long vanished child.

Many wounded mothers live then for decades with shame and a societally enforced silence over their “secret” children because no one really wants to hear about it after a short period of time.  For the mother, there is no end to it except her eventual death.

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