Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Post Reunion Euphoria: The Crash!

I can see this is going to be a PROCESS.

After 1.5 days of euphoric reaction to meeting my mother for the first time, I woke up feeling a bit blue.

Spent the morning trying to analyze it.

My therapist had advised me to roll up the "windows" when meeting with her, knowing that my mother isn't the most sensitive person in the world. She's not in the least malicious, but she is brutally honest and, as I've learned the hard way, this sweet little old lady is capable of delivering one hell of a knockout blow.

So I "rolled up" my windows. Which was a good idea because I remember trying not to flinch a couple times and my niece darting nervous glances in my direction.

And while I was able to deflect some of her unintentional verbal muck, one or two pieces of crap managed to squeek in through the one inch window gap.

I think it's important for me to pin down the source of my discomfort. I'll move past it quicker that way.

My niece asked my mother who I looked like when I was born.

My mother shrugged. "I guess like her father," she replied vaguely.

"What do you mean 'you guess'? my niece shot back. " You saw her didn't you?"

"Well, not really," said my mother. "The nurse kept trying to bring her to me and I only peeked at her once because I couldn't let myself get attached. Uh uh. No way. So I just saw her for a minute and that was it. I had already made up my mind, you see."

Okay. This isn't one of those tragic scenes out of "The Girls Who Went Away" in which a teenager is sobbing over her baby while her disapproving mother and social worker hover nearby, adoption papers and pen at the ready.

And then there are the reasons for the relinquishment. "It was mostly economic," my mother explained. "I already had three children to take care of, I had no husband and I had to work. I couldn't do that to you. I wanted you to have a father and a mother and an education."

Okay. Two of those "children" were already grown and had left the house. Which left one teenager, but that daughter had been living for several years with her aunt so, technically, my mother wasn't taking care of anybody. And then she mentioned that several months after giving birth, she ran into my father at a nightclub.

I've heard some of this before. It's just harder to hear in person, I guess.

This is NOT a romantic story of a young girl who desperately struggled to keep her baby. This is the story of a 38-year old divorced woman who marched into a public adoption agency, accepted financial aid in exchange for agreeing to give up her baby, then hit the bars and club scene less than two months later. By all accounts, my mother is NOT the nuturing type and time and again chose the men in her life over her children.

This is not to say that she did not grieve her loss. Just maybe not as much or as deeply as other first mothers. As a relinquished person, I would LIKE to have had one of those first moms. But I don't. I'm going to allow myself to feel disappointed and let myself have whatever feelings surface. I'm STILL glad I met her and I STILL feel more me than I did before reunion.

Who knows. Maybe I'll wake up euphoric tomorrow. Or not. It's certainly an interesting and important process though. I can't imagine NOT meeting her.

Labels:

24 Comments:

Blogger Being Me said...

((((((((((Nina))))))))))

3:04 PM  
Blogger suz said...

((((((((nina)))))

3:06 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Being Me and Suz...

Argh. Am I being too sensitive? My non-identifying papers says she "experienced great guilt" over her decision. Maybe she just has a cavalier way of expressing herself that, for me, is rather unfortunate. But you know, I think at 38 - back then - she didn't have it in her to raise a fourth child. She'd had 3 kids by 20 and I think she was just done. Maybe her backstory of a woman determined to relinquish, even in opposition to her mother and sisters, conflicts with the story that we most often hear about.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

reunions can be so yucky. like a jack in the box, never knowing quite when something going to pop up. i watched my mom go thru reunion. she has been really disappointed to.

dont forget to take really good care of yourself during this time.

9:11 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Damn this sucks. And No you are not being too sensitive {{{{Nina}}}}

As you know, I don't have a "romantic" story either. I picture my mother running out of the hospital as fast as she can, telling my father to hurry up.

10:11 PM  
Blogger chez said...

((((((((Nina))))))))
NO - you're not being too sensitive.
You think she could just soften her words somehow - hey??
Maybe she has so bought into the adoption line of 'doing it all in the best interest of the child' that she has truly convinced herself that you were better off. YOU know differently - but she probably will never understand how that decision has scarred you for life.
I think that only adoptees can ever really understand how deep the pain goes.
Sending you hugs gorgeous girl. C. xx

11:16 PM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

I agree with those above. You are not being too sensitive. I think your mom has always been the way she is now. Her life has been one of meeting her own needs first which probably were not ever met as a child. I am not saying that people should not meet their own needs - but hopefully it will be done appropriately and timely.

Since your mom is not the nurturing type, then she will be someone who probably will want to be nurtured at other's expense. Just something to be mindful of since it reminds me a lot of your afather. And you are a great needs meeter...so meter out meeting others needs so that you get your own met. I like your therapist's approach in keeping you in touch with your feelings cuz that is how you will know when things get out of balance.

Meeting your mom was like a rock dropped in a pond where the surface water is like glass. Now you have the ripples...the up and down emotions. Wouldn't it be nice to take a pill for emotional seasickness? But then that only masks or takes the edge off for awhile. The ripples will die down shortly. I expect you will have a few more up and down days as you ride out the ripples.

Parents have such an influence on their kids. I wish I could say it could only be a positive one. Hang in there!

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Mom2One said...

Oh, Nina. I'm sorry it wasn't a more nurturing experience, that she's not a more nurturing mother. And no, of course you're not being too sensitive.

Big *hugs* to you. I like what LeRoy says. He's a smart cookie.

4:56 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Elizabeth...How many danged self-centered mom clones did they make? Too many! I'm beginning to envision my mom rather the same way, too...

Chez...You are very insightful. I think you're right...that she bought into the adoption line hook and line. That and denial. I TOLD her my adoptive parents were pretty bad yet later, she said how wonderful they must have been because look how well I turned out. Another important you made: that only the adopted, and a empathetic select few, can truly understand the scarring.

Leroy, Thanks for the reminder to take care of myself during this up and down period. I think I was beginning to put myself too much in her shoes that I was beginning to wobble in my own, even questioning if I was being too sensitive. Today I woke up thinking...that really WAS an insensitive thing to say.

Thanks for your support Mom2One and to all of you!!!

7:33 AM  
Blogger Being Me said...

"I TOLD her my adoptive parents were pretty bad yet later, she said how wonderful they must have been because look how well I turned out."

I have to confess that sounds too much like me in early reunion, trying to reconcile the beauty I saw in my daughter with the horrendous denial and grief inside me.

I am so sorry for all of us.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Aurelia said...

Oh Nina,
Yes, there is a crash and a reassessment, but then there is a moment where we stand up and see our mothers as real people, not the fantasy birth mother but the real woman, warts and all.
Let me gently suggest that by 38, she knew keeping you would be a difficult venture, because raising kids always is. Not looking at you was her way of protecting herself from giving in to the feeling of wanting you and keeping you. She was trying to be unselfish and logically think of the best way to meet your needs. (She had no way of seeing your real future at that point.)
As for the nightclub, well, I've tried to drown my grief and sorrow in alcohol on more than one occasion. I didn't mean I wasn't in agony, just that I had found an inappropriate method of dealing with it.
She may not be the nurturing type, but she is wounded, just not showing it in the way you want it.
Give yourself and herself more time...it will get better.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Being Me...Thank you for being so open and honest with such a difficult subject. I know that can't be easy. You reminded me of an important point: that it's still early days yet in reunion and that she may be a very shut-down sort of person. Maybe I was taken aback that she showed no emotion at all.

Aurelia: I really do appreciate your most gentle of suggestions. There always IS another way to see things and the one you suggested is certainly far easier on my ego! Now that I think about it - with fresh eyes - I believe she had a hard time looking at me. She kept looking away.

THANK YOU BOTH!!!

1:50 PM  
Blogger BethGo said...

Reunion is hard. That's all there is to it.
If I didn't have 2 kids, I would have spent the month after my reunion in my bed crying.
It's just really freaking hard.
Take it easy on yourself.
(((((Hugs))))))

9:33 PM  
Anonymous kim.kim said...

I believe an emotional reaction is normal.

She doesn't give you the response you want and need, that in itself is frustrating. Her story sounds ok but then all the facts make it lose it's believability. And she comes across cold and matter of fact.

She wanted you to have more, she sounds like she has very low self esteem. She sounds damaged emotionally and very chaotic and cold, she has shut herself in.

Not like you, I feel that you are out here and experiencing life, your heart is still open.

Narcissist parents and one strange reunited mother, you are doing really really well Nina, you are doing well.

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