Regardless of whether we were raised by the people who conceived and birthed us or were surrendered to strangers who then raised us as their adopted children, we all begin the same way – in the womb of the woman who gestates us. Today, I was reading a piece in my LINK>Science of Mind magazine that felt like a good way to start today’s blog. It was written by Sunshine Michelle Coleman and is titled Light Within the Shadows.
She writes – we were born from within the dark. The quiet womb nurtured and sustained us, as it allowed us to develop and grow. It was a place of stillness and comfort. It was home and a place of assuredness and safety. It was warm and cozy, with life-sustaining liquid nutrients, the beautiful sound of a parental heartbeat and a constant hug that let us know we were loved.
Can you imagine being shocked into birth, forced to leave that home of dark beautiful comfort and thrust into another form of life in the external world with lights, sounds, cameras and so much action ? Even though we eventually adjusted to all of this newness of life on the outside, we probably longed to be back in our dark safe space just a little longer. That is likely why it is so vital for babies to be touched and held, so they survive and thrive with a smooth transition to life outside the womb.
Adoptees however, especially domestic infant adoptees, are handed over to strangers to raise. Letters from my mom’s adoptive mother to the adoption agency indicate a frazzled woman dealing with an unhappy infant on a long train ride from Memphis Tennessee to Nogales Arizona. There are hints that a pediatrician drugged my mom to calm her down. The last picture of her original mother holding her shows a happy baby. She was not a newborn when this happened and she had been temporarily placed in an orphanage while my grandmother did her best to find a way to support them both with my mom’s father not present for reasons I can never truly know. Even so, the transition upset her.
In the article I was reading, she writes of “buried treasures” that can be discovered in our shadows. These are the deepest parts of ourselves, those emotions that can yield pain, grief and sorrow. Many of us learned as children to hide or push away those parts of ourselves in fear of the hurt and agony they might cause.
The author suggests leaning into the shadow parts of ourselves so that we can work through them, until we are able to reveal a healing. Looking honestly at our emotions and into those dark places. It may be necessary to shift our perspectives and unlearn lifelong lessons from what we previously judged as being bad. As children, we probably feared what we did not understand and certainly all that we really had no control over. It may be necessary to examine our unconscious biases and judgements about how our life unfolded. Regardless of all that may have happened to us growing, we are the only ones who can create a positive change in our own lives. Peace to each who struggles and compassion for all that has come before.