18th November 2011

When I knew I was pregnant I kept quiet long enough not to be pressured into aborting.  In those days I was 100% pro life unless there was an exceptionally good reason such as health risks and rape.  Throughout my pregnancy I was generally happy but also scared about the future.  Eventually my parents had to know and I was shocked by their reaction.  They were angry because it was too late for me to have an abortion and they decided the only option was adoption.  I was absolutely devastated by their choice and refused to agree to it.  My parents arranged everything and nothing was discussed with me.  The first time I spoke to anybody from the adoption agency was after my son was born on the 3rd August 1981. I told her exactly how I felt and that I wanted to raise my son.  That’s when the lies started and I was ‘persuaded’ to allow my son to go into foster care until I sorted myself out and just in case I decided to go ahead with the adoption.

During the time I was in hospital my parents never came to see me and my sister only visited once.  I was struggling with post natal depression and with not seeing my son.  Nancy Verrier, an adoptive mother, has written a book called The Primal Wound.    She says the primal wound is the devastation which the infant feels because of separation from his or her mother. It is the deep and consequential feeling of abandonment which the baby adoptee feels after the adoption and which continues for the rest of his or her life.  Nancy Verrier claims that the adoption trauma can form the personality of the baby in many ways, but primarily the adoptee becomes very compliant and withdraws or else acts out and tests the limits of the adoptive parents’ patience by being hostile, antagonistic, unappreciative and unaccepting of love which his or her new parents usually are very willing to bestow.  Obviously there is more to this.

People who have a limb removed then others can see that the person has lost part of themselves.  What about mothers who have been separated from their children by adoption?

I have described it in the past that surrendering a child is an invisible amputation.  There is nothing natural about separating a mother and baby yet the world expects them to live as if it is natural.  Adoptees are expected to be grateful for being adopted and mothers are treated like lepers.  After all what mother surrenders her child when there is no need.  Lately I have been thinking of Nancy Verrier’s theory on the primal wound and why it can’t be applied to mothers as well.  Nothing can describe the emotional pain of being separated from a child.  The pain, for me, was so strong it became a real pain in the pit of my stomach.  I never told anybody because I simply didn’t understand what was going on.  I knew I felt sheer rage, hurt, sadness, gult and shame that I couldn’t stop the adoption.  My parents and the adoption agency lied to me the whole time plus my parents bullied me.  It took 23 years and reunion before I learnt the extent of the lies.

When my son was 6 weeks old I was told I couldn’t stop the adoption.  At this point I emotionally shut down as it was the only way I could cope.  I was expected to forget my son and get on with my life.  Little did I know that my battle with severe depression was about to begin.


About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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