(this post may be very upsetting and even triggering for some. It’s just me working through some feelings, and while it may be dark, there is a proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”)
When my kids were small, I used to read to them a lot.One of their favourites was a book named “Beaky” (sp.?) about a baby bird of paradise who falls from his nest as an egg and doesn’t know who he is. He tries being several different animals, including a fish and snake, before he sees another bird of paradise like him and realizes who he is.
I know it sounds silly, but right now I feel like little Beaky. Who am I? I keep thinking that, at age 47 I ought to know, and up until a few weeks ago, I thought I did.
Who am I?
I’m lots of things. I’m a mom to some amazing young adults who I am proud to now be able to call my friends as well as my kids, I’m a wife to a great guy whom I really love and I’m also a writer, as a hobby and by trade. I love to garden, look after my pets, travel and volunteer. I try and “do good” in in the world. I have fantastic parents ( although my mom passed away several years ago) and a brother, aunts, uncles and other relatives who I’m close to. I have a couple of undergraduate degrees and was a “military spouse” for many years until my husband retired.
I’m autistic and that does colour the way I see the world. I also have several serious chronic illnesses, but they are being managed well and other than being in pain most of the time ( and a bit cranky too…lol) , I’m able to function quite well.
This is me. There’s nothing spectacular, just average. Ordinary. Not really an outlier…until those few weeks ago. Now what am I?
A stranger to myself
That NPE result for me was just a few words. A few words that changed a lot. It’s not just a belief about myself that changed, it’s a whole lot more. It’s hard to explain, as really, it is only semantics. The problem is those semantics carry a huge weight.
Many times, if you ask about adoption, people think of a child who’s parents died, or maybe their mother and father were kids, too young to care for a baby. Either way, the new life was conceived in love, or at least a moment of consensual enjoyment. Many wouldn’t see how that could possibly taint the child.
Now, consider a baby conceived in circumstances like my mother’s. Sadly, there is a negative stigma attached to that baby. It is a child of incest, sexual assault and these words have no positives ( nor should they). Who hasn’t heard a joke about cousins who got married, etc.?
If all that is bad, then what does that say about me?
A dark place…
When you get right down to it, I suppose one of the parts of this whole “saga” is the fundamental feeling of rejection. I know there is no logic in that, but it’s hard not to feel that way. We’re always told how mothers love their children and will want to know they are doing well.
I don’t think mine does. If I am being completely honest with myself, I can understand why she couldn’t love me. What am I to here but a 47 year old reminder of her painful past. Would I feel any differently? I’d like to think I could, but I don’t know.
We’re also told our family will always be there for us. I don’t think mine will.
I don’t think I’ll ever see my biological mother or be held by her. This is something I think every child deserves, whether or not we stay with our biological mothers.
There is light in the darkness…
Just when I’m feeling really bad, something happens to let the light in. My dad calls to see how I’m doing and to talk. My kids come home from school or university and tell me about what they’re doing in their classes, my husband comes home and gives me a hug, my aunt calls for a chat, etc.
Those moments help bring clarity. I am very much loved, I do have a fmaily that cares and I was held by my mom. My real mom. The one who was there for me when I was sick, when I was growing up, when I was pulling the nonsense I did as a teen. She was there when I graduated high school and university, when I got married and when my kids were sick. I was able to be there for her at the end of her life.
I don’t even feel like I have a biological father. I just have a “sperm forcer” ( I can’t even call him a “donor”). My dad , just like my mom, was always there for me and still is.
That’s what really counts, and when I look at it form that perspective, I have been held by my real mom and dad.
As for who “I” am ? I am still the person I was before, and while I am not going to say I didn’t wish the circumstances of how I came to be weren’t different, they are what they are. I can choose to have the grace to learn to accept them, or I can choose to continue to be hurt,angry and fundamentally sad. Those are my choices, and the patch ahead is relatively clear.
For now, I’ll probably keep “riding the roller coaster” of the ups and downs of my NPE experience. My hope is that I can learn and grow from this and maybe even help someone else who is struggling.
And, of course, I would still like to meet my biological mother and family one day. I do think they’d be proud.