"This is one of the most common statements I hear about relinquishment.
“I could never give up a child I gave birth to.” I believe a lot of
people who say that. And I want to ask them, what do they think makes
them so different from women who relinquish?
There’s a concept in psychology called the fundamental attribution
error. Simply put, it’s the tendency for people to explain their own
behavior in terms of external factors and other people’s behavior in
terms of internal factors. I made a rude comment to a waitress today?
Well, my rent is past due and I just failed a final. You made a rude
comment to a waitress today? Boy, you’re rude.
I know this is overly simplistic, but it doesn’t mean it’s not useful.
The societal perceptions of birthmothers (once you get past the ‘noble’
and ‘courageous’, which is just code for ‘noble and courageous enough
not to subject children to their own chaotic and dysfunctional lives’)
are overwhelmingly negative. They are negative pictures of their
parenting ability, their work ethic, their morals, their choices. They
are negative personal characterizations.
You know why the fundamental attribution error is thus named? Because it is fundamental.
Because everyone does it, all the time. So let’s, simplistically, apply
it here. Can we as individuals, can we as a society, take a step back,
away from our catalogue of negative birthmother attributes and look at
negative birthmother circumstances?
Why do we believe so strongly that we could never relinquish? Because
we’re maternal, because we’re hardworking, because we’re sober and wise
and kind? Would any of those matter if literally every single person
around us was telling us we were unfit to parent? Would any of those
matter if we were facing destitution and poverty? Would any of those
matter if we were underage and deathly afraid of our family’s
reactions? Well, sure, but that would never happen to us." – copyright A Family Affair 12/17/2007