The Sin of Women

"Why had no one told me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers?" – The Red Tent

I don’t understand women.

I really don’t.

You would think being a female creature I would understand them.

But I don’t.

I don’t understand all women.

Maybe I am not supposed to.

If men feel more confused than I feel right now when they deal with women, I really feel for men. Poor creatures.

I am currently the casual observer to an unplanned pregnancy. I am "counseling" a family on options. (By counseling, I mean sharing my own story, books and resources). The expectant mother and her mother are calling me and writing me regularly. They are on opposite sides of the fence (but trying to meet in the middle).

The expectant mother in question wants to keep her child. Her own mother, like my own mother and many of our mothers, is encouraging her to surrender the child to adoption.

This makes me ill, angry and dumbfounded.

Let me say that as a women whose mother encouraged her to abandon her first born, I don’t like this feeling. It is wrong. My expectation at that time of my life was that my mother would help me. She should have valued my feelings, my sanity, my soul and therefore valued my child. She valued what the neighbors thought, she valued what the church would say, she valued what my father thought. She did not value me or my feelings.

As my MOTHER, she would have shown me how to be a mother, helped me to be one.

I am not suggesting it was my mothers job to take care of my child – financially or other. I am suggesting that I felt if my mother valued me, she would have valued my child. I am suggesting that women, mothers, sisters, daughters should help fellow females, not hurt them.

Now, I have done enough reading and talking and soul searching to accept the fact that my own mother was a product of her upbringing, the church and the political climate (Sollingers and Fesslers books really helped in this regard.). Acknowledging this allowed me to get past the majority of my anger towards my mother and the apparent ease at which she was able to discard me and my daughter.

However, I still get angry when I see modern day mothers turning away from their daughters and their crisis pregnancies.

Women are supposed to stick together, aren’t we? Aren’t we the alleged lesser gender and therefore we need to band together? Shouldn’t we all gather in the Red Tent and discuss the womanly ways?

Why oh why do we allow these crimes to continue to be acted out on the hearts and souls of our sisters and their children?

How does an infertile, adoptive mother who presumably felt the ache of a child she could not have, encourage her own daughter to give hers away?  Is she repaying some perceived debt?  A baby for a baby as a opposed to an eye for an eye? Does her daughter not feel like she does? Not matter like she did?

Why do women who cannot have their own child feel it is okay to take that of another – often at any cost? Why do women think their needs or desires trump those of another? Most importantly, why do some women feel it is more important to feed their own  hunger for a child than the child’s hunger for his natural mamma?

Why do we do this to each other?

How can any one of us advocate open records and reform when we stand by and watch other women perpetuate the very crime that caused the need for reform?

It pains me.

With all the research available, with the legions of women and adopted adults voicing the horror of adoption, why do we continue to turn our daughters away?

I have recently offered, on two separate occasions, to two separate expectant mothers, to house them. I have organized a support drive for another single mom who recently lost her job. My ehbabes moms and adopted adults sent food, gifts, and gift cards.

We did NOT call the authorities on the unemployed mom, we did not tell the expectant mothers that they should surrender their children. We did not question their ability to be a good mother. It never occurred to us that these mothers were not worthy or capable of caring for their child. They simply need help, guidance, hope and a support. Don’t we all at some time in our lives?

Sure, you can argue that I obtained my wisdom from my despair. You can argue that I do this only because of the loss of my daughter. But you cannot know that for sure. Just like there is no guarantee that a child is better off being raised by a wealthy, two parent family than with his own natural family. You simply cannot know.

Yet many pretend that they do.

And our daughters and their children pay the price of that ignorance.

12 Thoughts.

  1. Ah, I don’t envy you right now. Can you tell the mother that my own mother totally regrets some things she said, our inability to communicate properly and the fact that she has a granddaughter… that she’ll never really get to be a grandma to? (Not that she doesn’t love her grandson(s) but it’s been weighing heavily on her heart as of late.) It was only a miracle that we (my mother and I) salvaged our relationship at ALL.
    That said, Josh and I have talked about housing pregnant moms (a huge issue in our area) eventually. I applaud you for offering. We made an offer once that was turned down but we meant it entirely. Josh was so affected by Munchkin’s placement… gah, guilt.
    ANyway, I don’t get women either. But you know that. 😉

  2. I have a theory.
    It’s probably wackadoo, wackadoo – but I think that our mothers couldn’t value us – and consequently our children – because utimately they didn’t value themselves.
    I think that if they’d cared less about what society thought of them they wouldn’t have needed to project their shame on to us and our children. They’d have rallied to our assistance even if they’d been pissed off in the short term.
    Well, it’s a thought …

  3. WHAT THE HELL!?!?!? These mother are MY age — or younger, for cryin’ out loud! It’s GOT to have something to do with shame and devaluing of self, and hence their daughters.
    My mother, I understand. Born in 1922, she grew up in an era when unwed pregnancy was the greatest shame. In 1969, when I got pregnant, it was still not acceptable, and most definitely not to her. She let me down, she was the instigator of my son being lost to adoption, but I understand (in some tiny forgiving place in my heart) why she acted as she did.
    Well, except for this: she too was abandoned by her mother. When my grandfather died in 1929, she tossed all nine of her kids to the winds, including my newborn aunt. She walked away. Her children weren’t adopted, either out on their own or fostered. In any case, they didn’t grow up together. My mother was so ashamed of this, that she hid her family history from everyone, including my father. We only knew the truth after my aunt found my mother.
    That really made me wonder, how my mother who knew what mother loss meant, could have let me — no, MADE ME — give up my child, her first grandchild. I believe my father has regrets. My mom is gone now, and as far as I know she never did.
    I thought I got women, but clearly I don’t.

  4. you are absolutely right, women should help other women. i always wanted more children, but never became pregnant again. i never once considered adoption as a means to have another child. after losing my own child to adoption, i just could not be party to hurting someone else that way.
    imagine not only being coerced by your own mother . . . “you are not bringing another baby into this house” . . . but later finding out that your mother surrendered her firstborn child to adoption. this is what i find unforgivable . . . she knew how it felt to lose a child to adoption, yet she insisted i give up my own child. (she allowed my brother to bring home three children, and she supported them and helped raise them for 8 years, going deep into debt to do so. and my sisters wonder why i resent my mother, go figure)
    she tells people that she has 7 grandchildren, which excludes my younger daughter, but she also tells people that she has 4 great grandchildren, which includes both of my daughters’ children. how does she justify that in her mind? how can she claim the great grandchildren without claiming the grandchild?

  5. Actually Denise’s mom’s reaction makes sick, sad, unfortunate sense to me. My parents were born in 1921 &’23. They were strongly motivated by the stigma of bastardy.
    Shame can twist and cripple consciousness.

  6. This reminds of an article I read awhile ago about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).
    In some third world countries, the older victims of this still perform this horrific abuse on younger girls, despite knowing how harmful and painful it is. They know that there is a high chance that the girl will die because of it.
    Instead of protesting this, the older victims seem brainwashed to carry it out on the new young victims.
    I really don’t understand how they could bring themselves to do this.

  7. My parents honestly thought relinquishing would be best for me. Not just Moonbeam, but me, too.
    They sincerely thought it was a win-win-win.
    I know for most parents the motivation seems to be different, and I have a hard time wrapping my brain around those motivations and behaviors, too.
    I am just wondering if the modern-day parents–at least some of them– are actually believing (or have convinced themselves) that relinquishment IS best for their daughters?

  8. Hey, there, hope you had a great holiday!
    Certainly there are parents, particularly those with no experience with adoption, who believe in their hearts that the best thing for their pregnant daughters is to separate their children from them so they can “move on” with their lives.
    But in my heart I honestly believe that shame is an even greater motivator, even today. When it comes to this issue, I don’t think society has gone as far as we might think it has.

  9. I agree with everything you say, and yet I disagree also. 🙂 How is supporting a women to adoption or abortion not helping her, within the Red Tent?
    Thats about sticking together also.
    My own mother stuck me into an unmarried mothers home, with all the shame and stigma, I carried it for a while, but then I realised it wasnt mine to carry, the shame was hers, not mine, the bastard I carried was hers, mine was a darling lil girl.

  10. leigh – not sure i understand your comment. you seem pro adoption yet clearly not. maybe i misread. regardless, you gave me another good writing prompt. when i have more time next week i will get to it. mental note to self: supporting a expectant mother to make an adoption plan.

  11. I’ve tried to buy the “believe it is for the best for all” thing for a long time. But I can’t anymore. How can separating a mother and child ever be the best for them? The best for anyone except for the adoptive parents? No, unless the mother TRULY DOES NOT INTEND to care for her child, and there is no relative would can/will help, it is NOT for the best. Which brings us back to shame. I’m beginning to believe that all adoptions are based in someone’s shame — if not the mother’s, then her parents’, society’s…
    I think it would be interesting to meet a woman who really, honesty, truly was choosing to give up her child. Because I don’t understand.

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