“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.” Davidson, Michelene K., 1994. “Healing the Birthmother's Silent Sorrow, Family Systems Research and Therapy, Volume 3, (pp. 69-89). Encino, CA : Phillips Graduate Institute.
There are days I find myself very envious of the moms and adoptees who remain in the fog of adoption. I find myself wishing I was for once able to deny or avoid the reality of my experience, who I am, what happened to me and my child and more. My daughters father has this ability. I suspect my daughter does too. Why do I have to be so hardcore?
Today I find myself wanting that fog because I believe it would allow me to sleep.
Lately, my nightmares are coming more frequently. They are becoming a bit more graphic and even violent. They disrupt my sleep regularly and cause me to bolt up in bed, covered in sweat with soaked sheets and tears streaming from my eyes.
I suspect my therapist and my psych friends might say this is a good sign and I should roll with it.
I am not so sure. My life of late is frighteningly similar to my life right after I lost my daughter. Anxiety, crying myself to sleep at night, terrified that my daughter is out there, somewhere, all alone. I am restless, depressed and more. It is like I am in Chicago again in 1986.
These "attacks" as I call them come most often when I am alone. That appears to be by design. I work hard, very hard, to control the emotions when I am in the presence of others, most importantly, my sons. I do find myself loving them and hugging on them more. When my youngest is with me I cannot stop holding him. He still likes to snuggle up to mom and be kissed uncontrollably. My eleven year old rolls his eyes and waits for the loving to be over with. And then I realize this (that I may be becoming one of those over protective mothers) and I loosen up my grip.
I want a solid, decent nights sleep.
The nightmare from last night at first did not appear to be adoption based to me. It was violent and awful and terrifying but I did not see a clear connection. I am now wondering if I am wrong.
(Warning to anyone who has suffered a miscarriage or sexual assault, the following dream may be triggering).
I was in my parents house. It was absolutely their home in every way. Contrary to dreams where I think I am in a certain place but its distorted in some way, this dream location was spot on.
I was visiting and again the entire family was there. I was menstruating (or so I thought). Throughout the entire visit I was crampy and a bit out of sorts due to my monthly cycle.
I got up at one point to use the rest room. It was my parents downstairs bathroom, just off the kitchen and near to the back door and deck.
I was having horrible cramps and was hoping it was gas and a visit to the rest room would make me feel better. As I lowered myself onto the toilet, a rush of fluid was expelled. I looked down and saw an incredible amount of blood in the toilet and on the floor.
At first I wasn't too concerned, I have always had a very heavy flow. I stood up (or attempted too) and realized that something other than menstrual blood had come out of me. Off to the right, on the floor was a red gelatinous object. Encased in the bloody gelatin was a fetus.
I fell backwards. Dizzy, gasping for air. I couldn't be pregnant I screamed inside myself. I had my tubes tied with my last pregnancy. This was not possible. How is it possible that I had just miscarried? I wasn't even pregnant.
I tried to stand. I was dizzy and faint. I reached for the door and began crawling on my knees. I was too weak to walk. I was screaming (or trying to) in a hoarse voice. I was calling for my mother. Just a few feet away through the kitchen and into the dining room sat my mother, sisters, father and brother.
"Mom! Maaaah" I tried to call out.
No one responded. I could hear my mothers voice, I could see part of her body in the dining room chair. Why couldn't she hear me? Why wasn't she coming to help me?
Suddenly my nephew Michael appeared in the kitchen and stared at me strangely. He appeared to see me but not. I wondered for a second what kind of scary sight I must be to him. I looked down at myself and noticed that former outfit, jeans and a sweater, had somehow been replaced with a hospital johnny coat.
"Mike, please get Mom" I eeked out.
Michael turned and ran and the next thing I know my sister, Michaels mothers, is in the bathroom with me. I am frustrated that Michael got his mother when what I meant to ask for was MY mother.
My sister (a nurse) comes into the bathroom and sees me collapsed, covered in blood and hemorrhaging. She is not concerned or shocked.
She leans over the bloody fetus (still encased in gelatin) and begins to wash it off and make cute noises.
I am unable to speak. I am fading in and out.
I ask her if it is a girl or a boy. She tells me it is hard to tell as it is so small and the sex organs aren't formed yet but "oh, look how cute" she says.
I am horrified by her bizarre reaction.
Suddenly her son, Michael, appears between us and I am resting on a mattress or blanket. I feel as though I am still in the bathroom yet the room has become larger and appears to have no walls.
I find the energy to scream at my sister to call a doctor, my doctor, Dr. Deal. I tell her to call an ambulance. She instead coos at the obviously lifeless fetus, now clean but motionless.
A phone appears and I am demanding she call for medical assistance. Michael is between, laying on the bed, groaning. I want him gone. Out of my way. I am curious why he is here at all and why his mother is not removing him from this awful scene.
My sister hands me the phone and I take it. I say hello and am surprised to hear the voice of my mothers close friend, Tara, on the other end.
"You wont be able to get Dr. Light right now. He is busy" she says to me.
"That is not my doctor. My doctor is Dr. Deal! Please Tara, help me, call the doctor. I need help"
Tara hangs up the phone.
The walls continue to disappear and two men, one large, stocky and bald and in a white coat and the other thinner with a dark colored suit jacket on, appear beside me.
I am crying. I am begging for my doctor. I am screaming for my mother.
My sister is still off in the background playing with a dead fetus as these two strange men, apparently some sort of doctors, are touching me. I want to trust them. I need to trust them. I need help but something seems wrong with them. I am too weak to question. Too weak to make demands.
The bald head white coat doctor turns me on my side and begins pressing into my abdomen to expel after birth. His partner stands and watches with an odd smirk on his face.
Bald white coat man is on his knees behind me. He continues to lean over me, I feel his hands pressing deeply into my abdomen as gallons of blood, mucus and tissue comes out of me.
I suddenly feel something odd behind me. Something between my legs. Am I having another baby? I try to squirm and change my position when bald doctor guy starts to laugh and says:
"I am not done yet"
It is at that point I realize he is attempting to have sex with me.
I scream and call for my sister. I look at his friend in the suit who continues to watch us.
Where is my mother?
At this point I woke in my bed. At first I thought (and maybe I still do) it was just a horrible nightmare. Random. Unrelated.
As I got out of bed, attempted to shower and get started with my day, several thoughts assaulted me.
That bathroom was the bathroom that my mother and I had our first conversation regarding my pregnancy. It was about this time of year in 1985.
My sister was the first person I told about my pregnancy prior to my mother finding out (from my sister).
I don't know why the dream was so present day, why it was the exact image of my parents house (until the walls started to disappear like they do in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind)
I find it odd that my nephew Michael, whom I often jokingly refer to as Michael the Archangel, was in my dream. Even odder that as a Catholic in Recovery I have retained my knowledge of the angel Michael. From my teachings I remember that Michael is described as the prince of light (note the reference to Dr. Light?) leading forces of good against the darkness of evil.
Notice the white coated doctor contrasted against the dark coated bystander. White and Dark forces seem to be reversed.
I recognize that again, my mother was no where to be found.
Yes, I also know, I have mother issues.
Where can I find a shot of denial for this evening? Can I puhlease get some sleep?