Thursday, April 15, 2010

Where's the Love?

A caveat: The following is whiny and juvenile. I wrote it a month ago and I've been sort of sitting on it. I'm in a much better place now than I was a month ago but I feel I made several valid points and I haven't posted in a few days, so I'm going to post this anyway. Feel free to disregard it.

*steps up on soapbox*

I try not to make assumptions. I really try. I like to consider myself a fairly logical person, and I almost always have a reason for what I think about something. I don't rush to judge. I collect evidence and, like Chuck Norris, I wait.

So although this may sound absurd, please keep in mind that I am not just imagining things when I say that I've come to this conclusion: other birth moms hate me.

No, seriously! They do. They absolutely do.

There are exceptions, of course. I know two or three birth moms who seem to think, for one reason or another, that I am a pretty cool person (and I love you ladies dearly). But they are in the overwhelming minority. I estimate that at least 75% of the time, when I encounter other birth moms, I'm met with cool indifference, if not outright disinterest and snobbery.

My local LDSFS office has a birth mom support group, and I've struggled to fit in there from the first meeting I attended. Two or three birth moms dominated every conversation and I struggled to get a word in edgewise. When I did manage to say a few words, one of two things would happen; either I'd get blank stares like I'd been speaking Portuguese, or someone else would immediately cut in to talk about their problems instead.

There was also this tremendous pressure to choose adoption, which I resented. Every week, the other girls wanted to know if I'd chosen a couple yet. And when I'd looked at a few, everyone critiqued my choices. When I decided I might single parent, no one in group had anything to do with me. Contact cut off, and I didn't get any phone calls or e-mail or anything. No one came to see me in the hospital. No one cared.

I started going back to group a few weeks after I placed Roo, and I hoped that since I was a birth mom now, things would be different. S had promised me that things were different. They weren't. Two or three women dominated the conversation, and I disappeared. Rarely was I asked any kind of questions about how I was doing, and no one wanted to hear about anything I'd been up to.

The last few times I went I got some weird vibes from some of the birth moms there. Two of them stopped talking and stared at me when I came in. I think we all know what that means. These women are all Facebook friends of mine, and they are all aware of my blog. No one ever comments on my blog, or my pictures of Roo, or anything I say or do. They all comment on each other's things, but most of them seem to have decided that they hate me and once again, I've been cut off.

I won't lie to you. It hurts. It hurts bad. This is the one place I'm supposed to be able to go and feel like I belong, like people can relate to me, and like I can talk about things. Instead, I haven't gone in a month, and I don't think anyone misses me.

I've reached out to birth moms on-line, too. The thing to do these days as a birth mom is to have a blog, it seems. I've perused their blogs, I've commented on multiple posts, I've even sent supportive e-mail. And I've gotten bupkis in return.

It's not like I'm communicating with them because I want attention or some kind of response or that I think I should be on everyone's blogroll. I didn't have any grand expectations of becoming best friends with any of the birth moms I encountered on-line. But doesn't it sort of seem like common courtesy to say "hi" or "thanks" or something like that?

Sometimes I wonder if I come across as a little too confident or self-aware in my blog. This is going to sound really bratty, but I can't help that I write well! It's not like I sit around trying to find big words to use. I write like I speak. And you know what? I am super insecure. I need a little reassurance sometimes. I need to feel like I belong somewhere, like I have something in common with SOMEONE else on earth besides converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.

I adore all the adoptive moms who have contacted me. I really, really do. They have given me so much comfort and strength, and I don't know what I'd do without all the nice e-mail I get. But it would be nice to get just a little word here and there from some of my fellow birth moms, too. To know that I'm doing something right, that what I've said has some deeper meaning, that it's relatable, that it's ... blah. I don't know. That I am a good person, that I have value. That I'm not just blowing hot air. That I'm worthy of the love and attention they give to each other.

I'll step off my soapbox now. It's lonely up here, and I'm lonely enough as it is.


Desi said...

I'm sorry you're dealing with is nice to have a place that you feel included and a part of the group where other people can understand your feelings and/or point of view.

I'm a birthmom and I do read all of your posts, but I don't comment much because you and I are in much different places. I'm not completely secure in my decision to place my son, but that was almost 20 years ago now. I was only 16 and was strongly encourage by my parents and church leaders and everyone at LDS Social Services to place my son. I never went to another group after I placed...I too didn't ever feel like I belonged. It hasn't been until the last year that I've finally started even talking about my son because I kept it so private and tucked away deep inside. I've finally found a group of women who can understand. We all placed in the same time frame (before open adoptions) and through LDS Social Services and most of us are either in reunion or trying to be in reunion. We started a private blog and it's been wonderful for me to realize I'm not alone.

I really hope you are able to find a group of friends that you can relate to and that can relate well to have really helped me.

Heather said...

I am a birthmom and read your blog regularly. I just love you Jill. Never have met you, but have a strong respect and love for you.

MrsPerrbear said...

Now I am I have commented on your blog several times, and never got any word back. And you don't ever publish my comments. (I figured it was because I wasn't LDS anymore.)

I LOVE your blog! I have since I first started reading it, because it is REAL, and it is honest. You aren't screaming that adoption is the world's most evil thing, and you aren't in a world of delusion either.

You hurt, for valid reasons at various times, and because you are brave enough, and bold enough,I for one take a lot away from your experiences. I love that you post often, and that you feel so many of the same things that I do. And I love that you throw out whatever you need to, when you need to.

Please, please keep writing. If it is worth anything at all, I ENJOY and look forward to reading everything you write.

I'll be your online BFF any day!!!

Jill Elizabeth said...

Thanks, ladies! Don't worry about commenting. I stink at commenting. Sometimes I just don't feel like I have anything useful to say. Or I do, but it sounds better in my head than it does out loud.
And MrsPerrBear, I'm glad you like my blog. Let's be friends. I'm going to have to call you out on something, though - if you've ever commented, it's been published! I've only ever rejected 2 comments (and both of them were sort of private and the commenters specifically said I didn't have to/shouldn't publish them).
As to religion, that's between you and God. I'm not going to judge.

Melissa said...

hi jill,

my brother and sister in law had a somewhat similar experience...only they were on the other end (so to speak).

they have 2 miracle babies. their first child came to them through a miraculous the doctors couldn't explain. (they had used fertility medication previously, but it made her so sick that she hadn't taken it for a year, and then got pregnant on her own). when they couldn't get pregnant again (after 5 years), they decided to adopt. they really wanted to adopt from china (sil's parents adopted from there around the same time sil had her 1st miracle baby) but they weren't old enough...haha! they decided to work with LDSFS. after 2 years, they were able to adopt their 2nd miracle baby.

they were invited to a families supporting adoption picnic soon after placement. they started chatting with other adoptive families, and when folks realized that they had a biological child, they would literally just stop talking to them and walk away! they left shortly after arriving, because the other adoptive families were so rude. they were getting the cold shoulder because they were biological parents, and apparently most of the people at the picnic didn't think they should be there. my brother even told me that at one point, someone was whispering and pointing at them!

needless to say, they haven't been back to another "adoption support" get together.

i'm not sure who gets to decide who belongs in the adoption world, but i think it should be a little more INclusive...than EXclusive.

we haven't been to a fsa get together, but i'm not sure i could handle it...we have 4 biological children. i think everyone, no matter how they come to the realization that adoption is going to be part of their lives, should feel included...especially when attending a "church" related function.

i hope you know that even if you feel like you're in the land of misfit toys, you are still loved by a lot of us. thank you for being such a great adoption advocate!


MrsPerrbear said...

Thank you Jill! Friends it is!!!

Maybe I didn't post my comment right, or pushed something wrong, because your "I'm not Proud of this" post is one of my FAVORITE posts I have ever read on any blog, ever. You made so many good points, and I wrote like a 1,000 word response to it.

I'm here...reading, watching, and learning. And I am a lot more fun than that crazy group anyways.

Danya said...

Geezzzz! I'm sorry hun! I seriously had no idea. It might have a lot to do with the fact that you're so real and legit. To be honest before I became a (religious) reader of your blog I didn't really understand this raw side of the emotion that comes with adoption. We tend to hear adoption and placement stories where it's all ponies, bubbles and rainbows after placement. We're told sure the birthmothers grieve but they have a "support group" that helps them through that. I'm so glad I found you Jill - you make everything REAL. But some people don't like that. They prefer their bubbles.

I do want to say that not every support group is going to be like that. I can't say from a birthmother's perspective but I CAN say from an active FSA adoptive couple's point of view that the gatherings here are most certainly NOT like what Melissa described! So that leads me to think that not all support groups are going to be the same.

It's like that saying, "The church is always true but sometimes the people aren't." I'm sure the same goes for these type of functions. You're taking an already high stressed, scary, emotional situation and asking a groupd of (mostly) WOMEN to talk about their feelings??? Talk about a train wreck, lol. Although I do feel that when done RIGHT they are more productive then destructive.

I dunno. That's just my two cents :)

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I think that most of the time, people are so caught up in their own experiences that they don't even realize how they are treating others. This is probably especially true so soon after placement. After I placed my daughter, I lived that whole first year almost entirely inside my own head/emotions. That's most likely why you feel lonely around the other birthmoms, they are too blinded by their own pain to see outside of themselves. Please don't take it personally. You are awesome, and as the comments before mine can attest, you are adored by many birthmoms out there, including me! :)

jgirl said...

The way I look at if people have a problem with me for my views, looks, or for anything I can't personally help (because it's all just me!) then it's their loss. My guess would be these Moms are uncomfortable with your confidence and the fact you are not going to let any of it get the better of you...and they don't have the mind set. Just a thought. I really love the progress I've seen in you Jill, keep it up...I know I'm so very proud of you! =0)

Tanya said...

Hey Jill

I too am a birthmom but from South Africa and have been following your blog for a while now. Sad to say Im not a great commentor its taken me how long to follow up on writing to you ??? (and I saw this when you first posted it)

I placed my georgous daughter 2 years ago I also have 2 daughters M and E that live with me. I regularly read your blog in fact its one of the first daily blogs I read.

Youre doing great your an insperation I wish more birthmoms would write the way you do. Im a little further down my path than you are but I remember the sadness and grief and lonelyness has it stoped no but it has gotten easier I still have my days where all I want is my daughter T But I also know that I did the best thing.

Huge Hugs
keep strong