Avoiding Juno

"The traumatic moment becomes encoded in an abnormal form of memory, which breaks spontaneously into consciousness, both as flashbacks during waking states and as traumatic nightmares during sleep. Small, seemingly insignificant reminders can also evoke these memories, which often return with all the vividness and emotional force of the original event. Thus, even normally safe environments may come to feel dangerous, for the survivor can never be assured that she will not encounter some reminder of the trauma." p37, Judith Herman

As mentioned in a previous post, I am selective about which burning buildings of adoption trauma I run into. I know what I can handle and what I cannot. I know what can trigger me to collapse into a puddle of tears, curl into the fetal position and gasp for air over the loss of my child – even 22 years later. I know what causes me to autistically rock like Adam Sandler did in Reign Over Me and I know what can cause me to sink into a dark abyss of pain that I struggle to climb out of.

Since I have two other children to parent, a professional career to tend to, bills to pay, I am careful about allowing that falling, fetal position, loss of air feeling to overwhelm me. (Frankly, even today, with all my therapy, I am still terrified that if I were to completely let that feeling overcome me, I am afraid I will be left in a catatonic state from which I will never return.  Trauma therapists argue that is not possible and that I indeed need to let that entire feeling come over me but as of today, I am not strong enough. It still has me. I am still terrified that if I let those gates of hell open, I will not come back..and I will abandon two more children.)

For this reason, I have avoided Juno and have no intention whatsoever of seeing it.  It is akin to taking a knife and sticking it in my gut.  I am no longer that foolish. I have indeed learned from my experience. 

However, I have enjoyed reading the various posts by friends on Juno. Many I have marked as Shares in my google reader and can be found in the left column of my blog.

The latest piece I have read is by Jess DeBalzo, author of Unlearning Adoption.  While the entire article is good, the final paragraph (excerpted below) is key to me.

"Rather than allowing the glamorized version of adoption portrayed in Juno to influence their beliefs, it is my hope that any young women who came to see open adoption is a reasonable solution in the face of an unplanned pregnancy will go on to educate themselves about what it really means to lose a child to America’s billion dollar adoption industry.  After all, being strong, smart, and savvy means recognizing propaganda — and rejecting it.  "

Amen to that, Jess. Amen

8 Thoughts.

  1. I hven’t yet seen the movie, but I did cringe the other day when reading a prospective a-parent blog about seeing it and basically thinking that this would be a realistic picture of what adoption is like. I would like to see it, but knowing that 1) its just a movie, meant to ENTERTAIN people and pull their heartstrings–not a documentary, 2)it shows one teeny slice of time in the lives of both sets of parents. I would always caution someone against swallowing it all up as The Truth. That would be plain silly.
    And regarding your trauma–I don’t want to be presumptuous, be we kind of “know” one another now–with all your research of trauma, has your path led to you to EMDR? The whole repeated trauma thing seems to be something that can at least partially be addressed by this in conjunction with other therapies (I bet you already know that, thoguh!)
    And a last thought in this entirely too long comment–love the new look of your page!!

  2. Somedays it feels like to me that if I stare into that abyss long enough I will disappear too. I get exactly what you mean about this one. I have ended up on the floor in a corner of my therapists office while trying to face some of my own fears (or is that demons?) and feelings. I hate the corner, it closes me off and makes me feel incapable of really dealing with my own stuff let alone dealing with my daughters stuff along with my own. This stuff is so hard already why make it worse with a movie like this one? Reign Over Me was hard enough for me to watch. I can’t imagine watching a movie about adoption. GUH

  3. I will not see Juno either. Have read quite a bit about it though. I’m thinking that Juno is to adoption as Pretty Woman is to prostitution — a funny, cutesy look at something that isn’t funny or cute, the glamorizing of something that’s nowhere near glamorous. Juno isn’t going to walk away unscathed anymore than Richard Gere is going to show up to save all the hookers.

  4. I avoided Juno also.I am Canadian so there has been much buzz about the movie here.I wrestle with two opposing ideas.One is that maybe there truly are young women out there who can make a choice and live with it and move on – although i suspect not.and the other is that hollywood seems to glorify adoption and offer it up as something normal and good.
    it’s not normal.it doesnt feel good.movies are a part of our collective consciousness.i for one did not want to be exposed to another myth.

  5. I have just spent the last two days reading your entire blog. I was fascinated, sadden by your experienced, angered at times and overwhelmed. I feel that there is so much I could say in response to your site. I won’t here because I feel it may be too much and because I have a slew of questions that I would like to ask you. I searched for your email but could not find it. So, I am asking you to please email me so I can hound you with a ton of questions. Thank you for your site.

  6. mary – sorry! i recently redid my layout and forget that content link. i just added it to the about wmw section. i also write you privately. wondering if you are my visitor from liverpool? someone from there has been reading alot. but yeah, holla. happy to chat.

  7. I can’t bring myself to see Juno – my found son and I avoid stuff like that now – it just hurts too much.
    It would be interesting to have a sequel though, and show Juno suffering as much as we are, chucking down the old anti-depressants as she struggles to cope with the grief of her loss – but then that would not be funny having tragedy (realism) follow comedy (absurdly unrealistic for laughs).
    Juno is propoganda by media people, many of who do not want to know about the downside of adoption, especially as many media people are adoptive parents. For them, it is in their best interests to convince the general public that adoption doesn’t hurt, glamorise it and at the same time trivialise it so that it does not appear as a big deal (which we all know that it is).

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