The "care" they received from the medical and legal communities, from the adoption agencies, and from counselors were generally described in terms of lack of awareness of or concern for their needs, an attitude of coldness and scorn, being deceived about the placement of their children, and the insensitivity with which they were treated. "….And I remember going up to the nurse’s station and saying ‘I’ve changed my mind. I want to go see my child’….well, they could tell me no, and I was dirty. That’s the word they used. You’re off the OB floor so you’re contaminated and you can’t get back in. So that kind of reinforced the idea that I was dirty–unclean." – Davidson, Michelene K. Healing the Birthmother’s Silent Sorrow. Progress: Family Systems Resarch and Therapy, 1994, Volume 3, (pp. 69-89). Encino, CA : Phillips Graduate Institute.
It is astounding to me that with the wealth of research available that supports how damaging surrendering your child to adoption is to a woman, society still supports and encourages this painful practice.
Source of the following excerpts: http://www.txcare.org/surveyab/stats/phillips/davidson.html
"I would say that I didn’t learn very much about myself as a result of the relinquishment until I found her; and then I learned a lot, and I am continuing to learn. I found a voice that I didn’t know I had. I found myself. I learned about love. I learned about the prices we pay for allegiance to our secrets, the prices other people ask you to pay for their comfort."
The birthmother’s primary source of pain has been in the area of loss. She has not only suffered the loss of her child/ren, but the loss of her sense of wholeness, her sense of control over her life, and loss of self-esteem. In some cases she has lost a home or has lost or suffered damaged relationships with members of her family. Often she has lost identification with her mother as a role model. She has suffered loss of being accepted by society and loss of her adolescence, as well as loss of her sense of trust and self-worth.
This magnitude of loss is, to say the least, difficult for her to overcome. Sometimes the best a birthmother can do is to remain in denial and numbness for the rest of her adult life, unconsciously encumbered by her silent sorrow. For those who seek help, it is up to the mental health community to give them the permission and tools for grieving that they have long been denied.