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I am birthmother to a 41 year old son. Back when I was pregnant with him, mine was a shameful secret, because only “bad girls” got pregnant. I’m happy to say that the world has changed a lot in that respect. Girls who become pregnant today face a very different set of problems than I did. Many girls today even chose to keep and raise their children, an opportunity that was not imaginable 40 years ago.

Over the last 18 years I have gotten to know many birthmothers who relinquished their children in the sixties and seventies. A lot of them found the support and understanding of other birthmoms, and with time managed to reach a place of peace and acceptance with their past. For women like me, just being able to say “I’m a birthmother” and not feel shamed by that is huge.

Over the years, though, I have also come to know or know of many women who gave their children up in secret, and held cryingbmomonto that secret for their entire lives. Having run an online reunion registry for years, I have heard time after time about adoptees searching for and finding their birthmoms, who then refused to have contact because they had never told another living soul their deep, dark secret. These are the women that I refer to as being in the “birthmom closet”. They’re not happy in there, but they’re scared to death to come out.

These women had a chance to get to know the children that they gave up and grieved over for years, but they refused to do so out of fear. Their spouse doesn’t know their secret. Their other children don’t know their secret. In some cases, even their parents don’t know their secret.

I suggest that it’s time for these scared women to finally come out of the closet. Gone are the days when they had to hang their heads in shame. Work up the courage to open that door and step out, because the world is not nearly as painful for a birthmother who learns to speak openly about her experiences.

I facilitated a number of local support groups over the years, both for birthmothers and for adoptees and birthmothers together. Those meetings were always healing. There were plenty of tears, but the tears helped to wash away the shame. For many birthmoms, myself included, it was extremely healing to talk with adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthmoms. I personally received a tremendous amount of support from adoptees, who always encouraged me to search for the son that I hadn’t felt I had a right to search for.

Look through your local newspaper, and search online for support groups in your area. From the first minute that you connect with other birthmoms, you’ll be so happy that you did. These are women who truly understand your feelings, because they lived through the same experiences that you did.

Even if you find that you don’t have any local support groups, there are many support mailing lists online, through which you can receive daily emails that are nearly as healing and helpful as attending meetings. As you make and nurture the connections to other birthmoms and to adoptees, you’ll find that the support and understanding helps to move you along on your healing journey.

If you are a birthmother still holding onto your secret, and living with the pain every day, I strongly encourage you to take the steps necessary to get out of that stifling closet that you’ve been in for so long. There really can be healing for you, but it’s up to you to take that first step, and when you’ve done that, each step after will be a bit easier.

To all birthmothers, I wish you healing and peace of mind, and never forget that you’re not alone on this journey.

Visit my website: EFT4adoption.

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Anger — we all feel it, but not many people find it acceptable. When we were children, most of us were encouraged not to show our anger, and we carried that habit over into adulthood. We get angry about all kinds of things, but we’ve learned over time how to “stuff those feelings down”. Maybe we smoke a cigarette, maybe we have a drink, or maybe we go around the block until we’ve walked it off, but we seldom let others see or know that we’re angry.

There is lots of anger in the adoption triad. We’ve got angry adoptees, angry birthmothers and angry adoptive parents. To each of us, our anger feel justified, and it may be.

Adoptees are often angry because they feel that they’ve been abandoned. In their minds, their birthmother saw them as an inconvenience, and it was far easier to let somebody else raise their child than to raise it themselves. Very seldom is this actually true, but lots of adoptees feel this way.

Other adoptees are angry that they have been, as they see it, victimized by the adoption community. The decision about where and how they would live their lives was made by others, and even as adults they’re not allowed to know about their families of origin. This is an anger that I feel is well justified, and I’d like to think that at some point the system will be reformed so that adult adoptees can always find out where they came from. Everyone deserves that right.

Birthmothers have their share of anger. Many are angry at their families and “the system” for forcing them to relinquish children that they didn’t want to give up. That anger is intensified by the fact that birthmoms are not expected to or encouraged to express grief over the loss of their child, but are instead told to “forget it and move on”.

Birthmothers have virtually no rights when it comes to getting non-identifying information so that they can find their children. That makes it mighty hard for a birthmom to search and find. This is still another reason (again, justified) for anger on the part of birthmoms.

Adoptive parents feel that they have plenty to be angry about, too. Many get angry at their children if they decide to search for their birthfamily. They feel betrayed, theatened, or just plain jealous, and therefore they are angry. Some are also angry at birth family members who have found their children. These parents harbor the feeling that once relinquishment papers are signed, a birth parent has given up any right to ever know the child.

So much anger, for so many reasons… Anger is usually an uncomfortable thing to deal with, and we end up with guilt on top of that anger. EFT is the most effective method that I’ve ever found for dealing with anger. Once you zero in on an incident that made you angry, and tap through 2 or 3 rounds, the anger is often totally gone, and you are left with a feeling of peace and calmness that is far more pleasant than anger.

Why not give EFT a try for your anger? Five minutes of tapping might just give you the relief that you’ve been hoping for.

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Over the last 16 years I’ve worked with lots of adoptees. One things I’ve found is that whether they’re happy and well adjusted or filled with angst, somewhere inside them there is often a deep well of guilt. For many adoptees, they may not even be consciously aware of that guilt, but it’s there.

Separation from one’s biological mother is traumatic. Adoptees have spent 9 months bonding with their mother, whether they remember it or not. They know her in the most intimate sense that one person can know another. Birth in itself is traumatic, and suddenly the adoptee is separated from the only person they’ve ever known. More trauma.

One of the problems with this is that the trauma of birth and separation is often not acknowledged. People don’t expect an adoptee to grieve for his or her birthmother. Yet the grief is there.

Now we come to the guilt. As an adoptee grows old enough to fully understand what their life journey has been, and possibly starts to feel some grief, what kicks in immediately behind that is the guilt — guilt that they shouldn’t be feeling that way, guilt that they have a good life and should be grateful for it, guilt that they could hurt their adoptive parents by trying to express any of this.

Adoptee support groups are a wonderful thing for dealing with this issue. Speaking adoptee to adoptee, you know that you understand each other, because you’re both walking the walk.

EFT is also a wonderful thing for dealing with any kind of adoption related trauma. There is a lot you can do when tapping on your own. I have an ebook, free for download, on my website, if you’d like to try to do some tapping on these issues. The ebook can be downloaded from No More Adoption Pain.

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