When I became a mother my whole world was turned upside down. I adore my special little person with all my being. My heart aches with the power of love I have for her. Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without her, even before she was a tiny collection of cells that now at 9 makes me smile every day. Her well being , physically and emotionally are my priority and god help anyone who hurts my baby!
This is how I always view the role of a Mother. Suffice it to say I now seem to be caught in a vice like grip by two! My fault , yes undoubtedly. A negative? Sadly – partly.
You see I want to warn you that although you and your nearest and dearest are elated, some might not all feel the relief and happiness you feel now. You have reached this part of your journey but make no mistake , this is NOT the end of your journey by any means. It is in fact perhaps the start of a new journey. A journey of self discovery as you now have the information that shows you who you are, how you became and most importantly what makes you the person you are today.
I love my mother. Always have and always will. I had a happy childhood growing up with two elder brothers , various cats and small rodents as beloved pets. My brothers are both natural children of my parents and I was adopted to make up the set of 3.
My Father always said 3 was enough and put his foot down. There were only so many seats in the back of a Capri. Yellow with a vinyl roof it was. He loved it as he loved all his cars. Sadly now he cannot drive due to his health but as a teen I always knew he was passionate about his cars. I adore my Dad and tell him as often as I can. I am aware time is short and its my role as his daughter to give him the affection, time and encouragement to enjoy the small pleasures he has in life. There is a reason I am detailing about my Dad. You see he is a quiet unassuming man. Thoughtful and watchful. He misses nothing. Despite his body now bearing no resemblance to him in younger years, his mind, hearing and eyesight are very much in tact. I say this so you realise that everything that goes on in his home is noted , even silently and has an effect on him as it would anyone. He just chooses to stay silent and observe. This fact I know is precisely why I needn’t ask him directly how he feels about me finding my BM. He tells me every time he responds to my I Love you Dad with an I love you back. It is enough for me . We have many quiet moments together where his stiffening arms almost grip me in a head lock while I whisper I love you directly into his ear. On release we are always both misty eyed but its an unspoken Father- Daughter understanding. He gets it. And so for the many years he has witnessed almost vitriolic battles between me and my Mother he has remained silent. Who knows if his view is ever voiced to her after I leave? I don’t know and certainly never will. He is a loyal man and she his carer.
All I do know is that on this particular day , from the next room , his study, now home to his Hospital Bed, he heard every single word……………
As I said I was excited to relay my day in Manchester to my mother.Hubby not so much. A few niggling doubts had cropped up along the path to this point. For example her reaction when I actually had MY birth folder in my hands . Her insistence I should not be privvy to this information, and that in fact it was HER folder. not MINE. The suggestion that it was not my right to find that missing piece of the jigsaw despite everything pointing to the contrary. Sad really. However I took it on board as insecurity and maybe an irrational fear of losing me. So I hunted down tokens of love to prove her wrong. She couldn’t lose me or my love, she raised me , I am her daughter! Right??
So I took my young daughter with me, who was at that stage too little to really get the gravity of this situation and we visited Granny and Grandad and took them out for lunch. I drove them to a Pub I once worked in . Now not a pub but ruined into one of those bloody Beefeater type places with more tables than staff could ever cope with . However we had a pleasant enough lunch until I noted a frosty vibe coming from my mother. It was very slight but definitely there was a tension . She snapped unnecessarily at my Dad. In his current stage of his illness he also was unable to fathom what the issue was . We went home for a cuppa rather than wait another age for the staff to notice us.
Mind you, when my child spotted a squeezy bottle of Jif and a cloth and was off cleaning the other unoccupied tables, they noticed then! Ha!
Settling my daughter down with colouring, my Dad installed by his beloved PC we sat down with our tea. I opened with ‘ Mum, I met her! Deep breath
‘Oh, I see’ silence seemed to fill the large living room like a toxic gas
“Yes, she was nice”, I went on, I didn’t want to play it down or make out she was not nice , what was the point in that?
I told my Mum we went up to Manchester (where we have family too) and outlined parts of the day like a story teller. She sat quietly listening with ‘that face (as me and my brothers used to call it) That Face…you know the one, the pursed lips and slightly narrowed eyes. The look that said ‘ I am gonna let rip any second now if you don’t watch yourself. I couldn’t understand why That face was showing itself. This was a happy story wasn’t it? MY story and I was sharing it every step of the way with the Mum who had supported my quest verbally from day one. Really? Yes Really, That Face was so clearly not budging
I ploughed on , now feeling conscious and dry mouthed.And GUILTY. Yes, that’s the only way to put it. Her face made me feel guilty. I had stepped over the line for her to see me as a daughter to love Unconditionally. Ahh, now I get it…there is Unconditional Love only if you stick within the guidelines. Well no one had told me what those bloody guidelines were so here I was. Perhaps I was in breach of contract?. No going back now , I was heading free fall into the abyss of pure Guilt 😦
After I drew breath and became quiet, I waited for her to speak. I waited a good few minutes.
Softly at first she said . “Well, you do know that you have opened a can of worms don’t you?”
I said ‘ If I have I am able to deal with it, its not like I didn’t know what I was doing Mum?
“You now have to think what you have done. You weren’t meant to do this, 45 years ago it was meant to be left alone”.
Wow…and Ouch! That said in pure seething anger hit me like a lead bullet right into my heart.
“Do you have any idea how hurtful you can be. You hurt ME in all of this and I cant tell you how upset I am. ..Oh and Yes I bet she DID let YOU pay for lunch!
Hey? …now that was just bitchy, not a trait I knew was within my Mother at all. That was a shock.
As I cried silent tears, raising my voice only slightly as I could see my child getting upset too by Granny’s outburst…she was in fact running in and out of the room to and from the situation and to Grand-dad for solace. She didn’t know what the hell to do with herself. Much like me actually.
I asked my Mother if she would have preferred me to have found an Obituary. Guess what she said : ‘Well yes Actually’ then swallowed hard as if she wanted to take it back. It was of course too late to take back any of this poison.
I have to say I do believe much of these seeds of doubt and insecurity were planted by my elder brother. It was never raised as a question but I am in no doubt. As Hubby pointed out, out of over 50 odd people who gave their support and blessing, only 2 don’t. These two are my Brother and my Mother. Surely it says more about them and their issues than me and mine?
Nevertheless I was utterly destroyed…and sadly deep down inside I remain so. Relaying what to me was a positive and quite upbeat tale was becoming a confessional to a very unforgiving listener.
Gutted doesn’t come close. Devastated touched it . I was totally Heartbroken
She went on undeterred by my tears..”.You have spoiled things, you have to see exactly what you have done to me! I think YOU need to get HELP so that YOU can see what YOU have done to ME!”
Lets look at this statement for a second. I know from experience that my best Therapists are my friends, my husband and those who supported and looked out for my emotional well being, during this journey. So that said, not one of these Therapists saw an ounce of negative in what I had done. All saw this as my right, my destiny to piece together the missing information to make me complete. All except my own Mother it seemed!
I was now supremely crushed and wanted to go home to the safety of Hubby and my own space.
Her next line burst the slow growing bubble of fury that I was managing to keep down…but there is only so much vitriol this bird is able to sit and take right?
“You can see now how lucky it was that she gave you up!”….(Lucky??? really?)
and the punchline…..the line that wakes me up at night when I am overtired. The line that will haunt us both for ever. The line that causes my eyes to sting even now writing this today…..
“Had we not GOT you, we could have had another natural child of our own! “
BANG!! There, that will get reaction! Oh yes,it bloody well will !
I was stunned …and silenced…briefly!. Did she really mean this?…I ‘stopped’ them going ahead and having another natural child and now I have traced my heritage I am no longer the grateful adoptee I should be? How ungrateful of me!
My response was clear and monotone :
‘ Right then, Be very clear on what you are saying to me here. You are suggesting I determined your destiny in Motherhood and have stopped your dreams in some way? Be VERY CLEAR MOTHER, I am prepared to take my child home now and consider if we will ever be back or not, I have that choice!’
She visibly blanched at this and attempted to back peddle. Realising I held the power to deny her of her daughter and her grand-daughter in one move. She also saw then that what she was afraid of she was in fact pushing me towards. Towards the affection I had clearly already found in my Birth Mother. It is a very dangerous game of chance to force a choice like that. Trust me . I have a bloody good poker face and held all the best cards at this point.
I don’t want to punish my Mother but sadly she has and continues to punish me in subtle ways ever since I traced my BM. Its often not sensed by me but Hubby seems to tune into it when I don’t.
A major example of this was after years of me banging on about sorting Power of Attorney for her and my Dad , with his failing health I felt they needed to prepare these legalities. Having refused to listen for some time, eventually this was done. With my Brothers. Behind my Back. Interesting! Again this backfired as I refused point blank to be involved in the Power of Attorney relating to our parents health. NO way am I being put in the position by my Brothers or being the decision maker if care is needed in future. Who will carry the guilt for that one? Not me thanks very much. That punishment amongst others is just an example and when brought up she squirms visibly knowing I am right.
So I cant apologise for something I don’t view as a wrong doing can I?
My father remained a silent witness to all this arguing (I only shared part of it here to spare you) and to this day it has never been raised.
On occasion , especially since I have become more determined to do as a daughter should and help her with IT and bills etc, I am aware as is she that an unspoken issue stands between us. She sometimes broaches the subject but sadly I tell her ‘Sorry, its best we never discuss any aspect of Adoption ever again’ And I really mean this. She gave me a Novel, posted before on here..A story of Adoption…read at her book club. It was great but still I refuse to be drawn into the conversation….
And so we left earlier than planned as my heart was in pieces. I drove home with my young child watching me quietly .
She asked then and has many times since ‘ Why is Granny always cross with you Mummy?’ I say nothing.
I dropped my child at the front door to the waiting arms of her Daddy and I drove away again. I sat in my car for at least half hour sobbing out my heart. Everything was broken. It was all ruined..by Me? by Her? By me being Adopted in the first place? Who knew?…. I have never felt such desolate heartache ever in my life, before or since. My world was crashing like a crumbling cliff edge. Nothing made sense. No matter how hard I tried I could not make sense of why I was the bad guy?
For almost a week I swerved calls, messages were left unanswered. I needed to take stock of my shattered emotions. I felt deep pains like internal stab wounds that only bleed inside you. I was almost depressed and couldn’t find a way to mend this .
When I did answer to her you know what she says?
‘ WE cant leave it like this, You need to understand why you made me behave like that. Emotions do things to people ! Again I am at fault so sort myself out??
She goes on to say repeatedly ‘I must be kept in the loop,’I must be kept in the loop, ‘ Like I was enjoying keeping secrets? For Christs sake woman, I just shared every aspect of this with you, you were part of the sodding loop! Not any more. Loop broken. End of.
Never once even to this day have I heard ‘Are you OK from any of my adoptive family. Not once. Ever. Because of course I am OK. I am strong, hard as nails me!Ha :-/. Nothing hurts me . In fact I go out of my way to cause the hurt so how could I feel it myself!
Anger? Yes I am very angry and trust my Mother so much less than I did before. I share almost nothing. I am polite and allow the hugs but I am aware as she may be that I stiffen. I cant help it. I am wary and unable to trust being alone or ‘cornered by her’ . She remains my Mother and continues to have me as her daughter. I love her but I am more duty bound than doing it out of affectionate love.
There was another person in the fall out who was equally devastated by this outcome. My Birth Mother. OMG! she was heartbroken .She saw my Mother as an amazing women. As someone who had raised me out of love and saved ME from a shit life . She now saw this woman turning on me with venom. She really struggled with this. So that made the two of us on our own little ‘Island of Discovery’ both in a state of shock…and abject misery.
I do love my mother but you know what I will never forgive her for? For making me feel guilty for embarking on the journey of my life . As if answering all my missing questions was not my own right and in some way designed to hurt her!?!
She turned a Happy Ending into a Miserable and Painful Beginning. Never will I forget those stinging words and neither will she. She often tries to get me to open up and I tell her ‘Its never going to happen’. Its done, I know the conversation will go the same way. Strong as I am , I am aware, as is Hubby that I cannot emotionally do that again and come through unscathed. I am crying as I tell you so how the hell can I risk it? I have no doubt she is sorry. But what for? I don’t know, and she has never tried to apologise for what she said. Just for having said it. There lies the difference. So she meant her words, was just sorry they spewed out in that moment. I care less as time goes on but know this. I will Never open my heart to that again. It has a cage around it as far as she is concerned. My BM is my friend, like any other who I don’t discuss with my Mother. I am the same person, the same daughter to my parents but she has broken an invisible link and she knows it.
She pushed a Red button in my life not long ago …in order to get a similar reaction…this ended very badly too and backfired again….but I will save this for another day while you digest this one!…..
And so it has to be remembered , not everything is as it seems and people can always surprise you….
Recently my Mother told me we had to discuss it one day…I told her we didn’t and promised her that I may never be ready to do so ever again, Not with her. She looked hurt. I felt nothing but pain for what we could be sharing as I progress along this road of my journey….
Thanks for Holding my hand with this one…it still hurts 😦
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I’m so sorry that the mother who raised you couldn’t be a big enough person to share in this important event of meeting your birth mother. It’s truly her loss. I have to say, I’ve known birth mothers for whom it was always about them too. It’s just disrespectful to the adoptee and the issues caused by secrets and adoption. Not as an excuse, but often neither set of parents are encouraged to sort out their issues on this – it’s all piled on the ‘child.’ Hang in there, you have been very reasonable in this. You can be proud of your responses.
Thanks Donna, you are kind 🙂 As I said I will still love my mother , just sad that words can never be unsaid ! xxx
Sorry to read of your pain. I am sorry your adoptive mother couldn’t support you when you wanted to meet your birth mother. It must be very painful for you xx
Thanks Jane, it does cut deep but you know what they say, what doesn’t kill ya!? In honesty its a truth so I accept it. Sucks but its how she feels so who am I to change it..dosn’t mean I can entirely forgive it but we muddle on….Thanks so much for reading and taking time to comment x
There is perceptibly a bunch to know about this. I feel you made various good points in features also.
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