Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not human

At the last Long Island Adoptees Meetup group, I was talking about a memory I had.

When I was going to childbirth classes, the instructor repeatedly drilled into us how important it was not to be separated from our babies after birth. Again, and again, and again we were told how frightening it was for them, how damaging it was, keep your babies with you, don't let the hospital keep the baby in the nursery, keep your baby in your room, for the love of god don't separate from your baby or it will self-destruct!

Alright she didn't say that last part, but it was implied. Like confidentiality, yanno?

Anyway needless to say after each class I'd rush into the bathroom and cry hysterically. Ha-ha-ha I never put two and two together and couldn't figure out why my natural childbirth classes would upset me so much, must be those pregnancy hormone thingies.

And this wasn't some wacky fringe new age the only right way to give birth is in water swimming with dolphins while Enya plays in the background type class. This was just a regular hospital natural childbirth class. (OK I know 'hospital natural childbirth' is an oxymoron but it's what I felt comfortable with, alright?)

What kills me is this was 2 decades ago. And it wasn't a new idea either. The previously mentioned (ad-nauseum) summer I went to live with my beautiful pregnant Aunt M, her pregnancy and childhood books said the same thing. Keep that goddamn baby with you and if you don't you're the worst mother on the face of the earth. And that was 1976.

So it's been known for no short period of time that separating newborns from their mothers is a really shitty thing to do.

So how come it's OK to do it to adoptees?

If we're marked in-utero for adoption, does that somehow make us less than human?

And these young women who are matched with adopters by agencies, what kind of childbirth classes do they get?

7 complaints from ingrates:

Suz Bednarz September 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM  

And these young women who are matched with adopters by agencies, what kind of childbirth classes do they get?

I can answer this for your from my own experience.

We got them but well, they were skewed towards surrender and also heavily laced with shame and punishment.

We were told we would not get drugs during labor as feeling all the pain we could was our punishment for gettng pregnant.

We were treated by doctors in training because the real doctors did not have time to deal with the whores like us that could not pay their bills. We were clinic girls.

We were botched during c-sections and delivery and in certain cases (a dear friend of mine) that botched surgical delivery prevented her from having future children.

We were given mind altering drugs (my case) during labor against our will.

We were tied to the bed in restraints during labor (and told it was for our good). They were not removed following delivery and we could not move from the bed while they took our child from the room. (A friend of mine).

We received childbirth classes from a nurse and later a nun. There was NO talk of bonding, no talk of nursing right away, no talk of keeping your child with you.

In my case, they blocked the view of my vaginal delivery do I could not see her being born.

When I freaked out later, the caseworker arranged for her to stay with me in the room - all three days and nights. She later told me I was lucky and should be grateful to her.

I could go on but you get the point.

Hugs to you and to me and all the other mothers and children who have endured what we have.

Unknown September 14, 2008 at 1:33 PM  

I know that killed me too, when I was having my baby, also a long time ago, that and how they kept saying, "The first 6 months of life are the most important" I think all of mine if not a good deal of them were in foster care.

What scared me the most, is when my baby was little, my amom criticized me for "holding him too much" I should lay him on a terry cloth towel instead to make sure he can't make a mess, and it never occurred to her to hold a baby that wasn't crying, that last part made me sob unexpectedly.

It is in our bodies, we remember.

Adoption is ridiculous. Srsly.

maybe September 14, 2008 at 1:48 PM  

In my time (early '80s), I did not attend any childbirth classes at all. I had a booklet from the Dr., "What to expect when you're expecting," (something like that), which was my only reference guide for childbirth.

Thank the gods I didn't have the experience that Suz and so many others had. I think the '80s were a transition period from the harsh old-school methods to a slightly kinder, gentler approach (if adoption can ever be called that). But plenty of hospitals were still using the brutal methods of the BSE. I do recall the nurses asking if I wanted to see, hold, feed, and name the baby (bottle feeding only, no encouragement of nursing at all). These seemed like the most absurd questions any human being could be asked.

Luckily, I had a pretty quick and uncomplicated delivery. But there was no option to keep the baby in the room (all babies stayed in the nursery and were brought to the mothers for feeding, the old-fashioned system). The concept of the all-in-one labor/delivery/nursery room was not in use at my hospital at the time. I wish it had been available, I obsess over every second I missed sharing with my baby.

I can't imagine what education young women are getting the PAPs attend childbirth classes with them? Do they have special classes where they edit out the part about spending as much time as possible with the baby after birth?

Or is that research used to justify PAPs in the delivery room and handing over the baby immediately, with the argument the baby should be with the new "mother" for bonding? Hmmm, I'm curious about this...

Gershom Kaligawa September 14, 2008 at 8:17 PM  

Totally went through this too. I wanted an all natural childbirth, in a birthing center, we took bradley method birthing classes, and were so ready for it naturally, together, no lights, just us and being "together."

I ended up in the hospital with an emergency c-section and they didn't let me see her for over an hour after she was born. Yet they wheeled me to the door of the nursery so I could hear her screaming for me. If thoughts could kill that whole hospital would have been dead.

All through the class, it was all about the importance of us being together, for her development, for her security of self, for her security in LIFE.

Adoptees are just illegitimate bastrds you know, it doesn't matter what happens to us, we would have been aborted right? Just be grateful for today, don't look back ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Carol September 15, 2008 at 10:16 PM  

No child birth classes for me. I was told that I should NOT hold my child after birth because he would bond with me and that would be worse for him because, well obviously I had signed the pre-birth agreement months before that said I would not be raising him. I was told this during the early stages of labor waiting to go into the delivery room - lots of time to digest that information!

Someone kindly arranged for a private hospital room for me also, I guess so I wouldn't have to be around all of those new mothers asking for their babies and ooohing and aaahing over them. A little isolation doesn't hurt either when trying to ensure a mother won't change her mind.

I just can't believe what I know now and the fact that older, "wiser", more experienced women involved in the adoption of my son said nothing - nothing - about mother/infant bonding and the consequences of not nurturing that bond. In fact, they seemed to think it was just fine and dandy. That was 1984. If I ever get my hands around that adoption workers neck, I'm not letting go.

Ungrateful Little Bastard October 6, 2008 at 11:20 AM  

I'm coming back to this post almost a month later because I still can't shake that memory off. I got so upset just writing it. And I'm still upset too. There was a news article last week about the dangers to infants of maternal stress. The researched warned that even something like worrying over bills could cause DAMAGE to the babies.

But no one worries about stress to young mothers being told what giving angels they are and/or how selfish it would be to actually mother the babies they are perfectly capable of raising.

Yeah, adoption is ridiculous.

Oh, and I've heard stories of PAPS in delivery rooms and at childbirth classes that are like taking The Handmaid's Tale and multiplying it by insanity a million times over.

I just can't hate adoption enough.

I'm a Fan of Adoptee Rights

I Digg Adoption News

All adoption news

Adoption news RSS feed

Don't like feeds or widgets? Rather read the news in a blog format? Here you go.

Who I'm Stalking

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP