Pain

21st February 2012

Pain:

1. An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.

2. Suffering or distress.

3. pains The pangs of childbirth.

4. pains Great care or effort: take pains with one’s work.

When people think of pain they generally think of a physical pain due to an injury. Trying to explain the pain of adoption is difficult or understand unless you have lived with it. For me the pain as been gut wrenching to the point of being a physical pain. It is the invisible amputation of my son being taken away from me. It will never completely go away as I can’t change the past. Adoption can’t go away so therefore my pain can’t either. I have learned to live with it.

Shame:

1. a. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.

b. Capacity for such a feeling: Have you no shame?

2. One that brings dishonour, disgrace, or condemnation.

3. A condition of disgrace or dishonour; ignominy.

4. A great disappointment.

I was made to feel ashamed of myself for being a single mother. Even though this was 1981 and single motherhood was acceptable in society I was made to feel that it was wrong. My heart knew there was nothing wrong with being a single mother but I allowed my mind to be clouded by other people. The sense of being unworthy of being a mother has stayed with me. Logic tells I could have been a good mother but emotionally I believed my parents. The definition of shame is exactly how I was seen by them. I never got over it.

Anger:.

A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.

This exactly what kept me going for so many years. My anger contributed to how I led my life. If I hadn’t been able to get over it or learn to forgive my parents I would have ended up a bitter old woman. My faith helped me to understand that the only person I was really hurting was myself. It wasn’t healthy. When I eventually forgave my parents I felt as if a weight had been taken off my shoulders. All I ever wanted was my mum to apologise for the pain she had put me through. I never got it and I have accepted.

Guilt:

1. a. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense.

b. Law The fact of having been found to have violated a criminal law; legal culpability.

c. Responsibility for a mistake or error.

2. a. Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong.

b. Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.

For many years I couldn’t understand why I felt guilty about Anthony being adopted. I still feel guilty that I didn’t have the knowledge back then that I have now. Common sense tells me I shouldn’t feel guilty but it is a human emotion that is hard to control at times. I feel guilty for the effect that adoption had on Anthony. He has had a good life and he also learned quickly how to push my buttons. It has left me feeling frustrated at times.

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) – an anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as survivor guilt, reliving the trauma in dreams, numbness and lack of involvement with reality, or recurrent thoughts and images– a deep feeling of guilt often experienced by those who have survived some catastrophe that took the lives of many others; derives in part from a feeling that they did not do enough to save the others who perished and in part from feelings of being unworthy relative to those who died; “survivor guilt was first noted in those who survived the Holocaust”

People generally think of P.T.S.D. being something that soldiers suffer with. I do believe mothers who have been coerced or forced to surrender a child to adoption can and do suffer with it. After all there is nothing natural about being forced to surrender a child. The media doesn’t help either these days. Natural mothers are perceived as abandoners / have rejected their child. The perception is that mothers either choose adoption or bad mothers who are drug users, prostitutes, neglectful mothers, abusers or a combination of these things. Therefore they deserve to be called birth mothers because there is nothing natural about their behaviour. God forbid that any of us were pressured into surrendering because coerced and forced adoptions don’t happen and we use this as an excuse to deny that we really wanted our children adopted.

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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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