Care to Play A Game?

"Fear follows crime and is its punishment.  – Voltaire

If you are a parent, a mother or a father, I want you to do the following:

  1. Go alone into a dark corner of your home. A closet would be good.
  2. Shut yourself in there. Make sure it is dark. Make sure there is no one around and you cannot hear or see anything.
  3. Pause a few minutes to get acclimated to the dark. Listen to your own heart beat.  Become aware that you are alone and no one knows you are in there.
  4. Now, visualize one of your children in your mind. If you have several, choose your youngest child preferably an infant
  5. Think of the childs face, their body, their sounds, their eyes. Ponder them for a few deep seconds.
  6. Now visualize yourself taking that child to a public place. A mall would be a great place to visualize. Visualize your local mall that you shop at reguarly. Full of strangers, noise and hidden dangers.
  7. If you are visualizing your infant, imagine carrying that Graco carrier inside the mall.
  8. Go up an escalator to the Food Court.
  9. Look around.  Listen.
  10. Put your child down on a table.
  11. Look at all the strangers around you.
  12. Turn around and leave.  No, no, dont take your child.
  13. Leave your child on the table.
  14. Go. Now. Leave.
  15. Ignore that crying you hear. Ignore the calls for Mommy or Daddy. Just go. NOW!
  16. Dont look back.
  17. Dont worry about your child. Dont worry, some stranger, completely unknown to you, will come and retrieve your child. You wont know the strangers name and you will never know what happened to your child.
  18. But go.
  19. Keep walking.
  20. While you are walking away, smile. Pretend you just did something wonderful.

Have you lost your breath? Are you freaking out at the visualization? Do you feel compelled to run out of that closet and go hug that child you had just visualized abandoning?

Do you find it sick that I would suggest such a thing?

I agree.

Yet I wonder why we continue to tell mothers to abandon their children, tell them it will be a good thing, and tell them to walk away and smile.

That panic you felt?

I and many other mothers live with that every day of our lives.

Think back on the panicky feeling and wonder how you would ever function with that level of anxiety and terror.

Think about that the next time you say adoption is good and wonderful and a win/win for all.

Just think.

20 Thoughts.

  1. I think this is a great exercise for those who have never lost a child to adoption… it really gets to the deep feelings of it all.

  2. If I thought about it, I’d go crazy. I think about my children’s mothers all the time, but luckily I can shut it off when I need to. The scenario you describe happens all the time in China. It’s a living nightmare. I cannot fathom that they will go their whole lives and likely NEVER know what happened to their children.

  3. Today I met a woman who has been a single mom for 22 years. She lamented the hardship of it, talked about how adoption was an alternative she wished she had considered more fully. I didn’t say anything, but I thought of the alternative… she has no idea the peace of mind she has because she did not give her son up.
    I could barely finish reading your scenario. Just turning my back on my child I was having issues breathing, let alone walking away… I don’t even want to go there.
    My heart goes out to all you moms who have done this.

  4. Excellent. Made me sick enough to believe this could give some real insight to those who don’t get it.

  5. Very powerful….very painful…..I remember that anxiety and panic too. Every day.
    The truth shall set you free…if one can live through the trauma.
    Hugs to you and to me and to all of us mothers who experience this attrocity.

  6. Oh Yes! My adrenals are so out of whack after years of internal anxiety.
    Day after day,it is not like a kidnapping you cannot go to the authority’s, no rights,no help, just a mother’s heart breaking a bit more every day. It’s like you are in a foreign country and nobody speaks your language. It is a suffering you bear alone.

  7. That was an excellent visualization. Thank you for letting me peak just a little bit into a mother’s world.

  8. Andy – Thank you for calling me a mother and not birthmother, first mother, bio mother, barfmother, beemommy, birfmuggle or any of the other every so lovely terms used to refer to women “like me”.

  9. My mother was established, self-supporting, with eleven established adult siblings living close by for support, yet she did just what you described.
    I cannot imagine what was going on in her mind but I sure would like to know.

  10. Jimm – That must indeed be difficult. So many stories, so many possibilities. I dont know you or your story but I do hope you get a chance to ask her.

  11. Thank you, Suz.
    I would have loved to ask her but she died seven years before I found her.
    That’s what I get for spending so much of my life in the fog.

  12. Jimm – Oh, my. That caused a big owie in my heart. I can only imagine what it did to yours. That was one of my own greatest fears. That I would find my daughter and discover she had died young. Hugs to you.

  13. I am an adoptive mom, and I am also a former foster mom who had to set down and walk away from a baby I’d raised for a year (sent back to her known-to-be-still-abusive parents). I don’t support the foster system, and I’m not saying it was wrong for her to go back, but I do know this pain first-hand nonetheless. I don’t know if me saying that is offensive; I hope not. Either way, thank you for putting it into words and images – it helps to face it in such a stark way.
    I am glad you are out here in blog-land telling it like it is. Thank you for that.

  14. Realized after I’d gone to bed that my privilege was hiding right below the surface, there, and I managed to miss it among the emotional response I had to this piece:
    My loss is recognized by society, in a way that first parents’ losses are not. My CVS clerk, neighbors, congregation members, co-workers, not to mention friends and family, are extremely sympathetic. Not many truly understand, but that’s another issue.
    To think that so many women go through this experience *without* that support is horrifying.

  15. OMG, I can’t do that. Absolutely FABULOUS exercise and I would love to post this on GIMH if you want. It might open some eyes

    • Pickel – Feel free to reprint/post on GIMH. Anything i can do to help others “get” this, I am happy to do so.

  16. I can’t even imagine. I don’t have kids and I nearly went into a panic reading this thinking about leaving a child that wasn’t mine behind in a mall! Yikes!

  17. I forgot about this one. I think it was what we shrinks call motivated forgetting, Horrifyingly, sock-you-at-the core brilliant.

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