Reclamation

My daughter’s birthday is this month. She is well into her 20s now. Every year, her birthday month is just as intensely emotional for me as it has always been. I shut down for weeks on end. I expect nothing from and require nothing of myself. The first few years I was very hard on myself because I was advised by all the adults and professionals that I would “get over it” and “move on.” I would further berate myself for my inability to thrive. What was wrong with me for not getting over losing my child? After having met other birth moms, I realize now that those adults and professionals were and are the vilest of creation. They are the bottomfeeders of humanity. I will never “get over it” and “move on” because I am not a monster; though I was treated as one when I was a young, unwed, teen mom.

Every birthday brings the dull, fuzzy ache I carry throughout the year into sharper focus. Every birthday is like a proverbial separation of the wheat from the chaff. I am left with a single grain of truth by month’s end. This birthday has gifted me with extra truths.

Most important of those truths- I want to reclaim my daughter’s birth story. It has always been a devastating time for me because her birth brought forth our separation. There is an anger in me this year like I’ve never experienced before. With my younger children, I get to tell them the story each and every year about their due dates and how we so looked forward to their births. We were giddy with excitement awaiting their arrivals.

My oldest daughter’s due date was last week. I was angry. Who wants to hear the story of how you dreaded their due date because it meant you were that much closer to being separated from them? Who wants to hear the story of how you had resigned yourself to death once they were born because you knew your body could not live without them? Who wants to be retold the story of how you sat sobbing on a bed with them in one arm and pen in the other as the adults and professionals demanded that you sign away your rights to them? I want to spare my daughter all of that grief; so I say nothing of her birth story. It is wholly unfair. Unfair to her. Unfair to me. Unfair to the universe.

I am angry.

I want to reclaim her birth story- for her, for me, for the universe.

I loved and do love my daughter with every fiber of my being. My love was enough and has always been enough. I am angry that I ever let sadists convince me otherwise. The cruelest of measures to execute on a young, scared mother.

She looked at me in that first moment of her life outside of mine. It was an incomparable unexplainable moment of mother meeting child for the first time. Her dark eyes looked into mine as if to say, “Hello. I know you.” We shared a brief moment of pure bliss. An image and a feeling burned into my soul. I wanted to stay in that moment forever. I had never known love until that very moment.

That is her birth story that I am reclaiming.

Her birth story was my first understanding of love. She and I were one. She and I had a moment of pure, uninterruppted wonderment. A moment in the sun.

I will never get over that. I will never want to and no one can ever take that from us.

I did then and still do madly, deeply love you. I am so happy that you were born and that I was your mother.

Happy Birthday, H.

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8 thoughts on “Reclamation

  1. Beautifully tender.

    That moment of birth, of recognition … that can never be taken away from you.

    No matter how hard the other woman wants to be a mother in that same way, she can’t be. It is impossible.

    This belongs only to you.

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  2. I understand what it means to grieve and celebrate my first daughter’s birthday, too. I want her to hear her story as a positive story of love, not a story of mistakes and loss. I had to wait 40 years to tel her how she changed my life. Because of her, I learned what it meant to love someone more than myself. I have lost many memories to trauma but I remember the first time I held her -with instructions to say my good-byes. She was so perfect. She held my finger in her little hand and slept contented even when I unswaddled her. I whispered “I love you”s and “I’m sorry”s so the nurse couldn’t hear me. I now I can tell her those things again-after 40 years of silence. God is restoring what was lost. It’s hard-but I will do the hard because she is so worth it. As long as she wants me to be her mother-I will not take this gift God has given me (again) for granted.

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