October 15, 2013

The Pain of Those Affected Is Too Much to Bear

Have you ever read Dear Hiccup's Journal? It is an online journal from a surro mom to her son, whom she gave up shortly after his birth. I have never read a more heart-rendering account than this. All surrogates, especially you traditional ones, read this and weep! This will be you if you don't turn back now. The woman who keeps this journal has been at it for 8 years. And each year her entries have been just as heartbreaking. Here is a piece of her latest post:
8 years ago, in these hours, like tonight.. I was asking myself "How in the world will I live without this boy in my life every day?" Those hours after you were born were some of the best and worst of my entire life. I loved you so fiercely. I felt so protective over you. I needed you. I wanted you. I needed you.. But.. I knew I had to let you go. I knew that my heart was going to break, my soul was going to be hundreds and hundreds of miles away.. 

...I don't know what you like, what you don't like. I don't know what you love, or what you are afraid of. I don't know your touch, or your voice, or your smell.. Oh, but how I know you. I know the feel of your soft hair against my cheek. I know the feel of your limbs when you were tiny, thumping against my heart. I know the sound of your newborn whimpers.. and the feel of your bum beneath my hand, your heart against my heart. Is this enough? It has to be, for me.

...I love you so fiercely.. today. Just as much as I did as you grew in my belly.. and you emerged from my body into my arms, into my life. I'll love you this way, and even more and more.. as the day goes by. May your 8th year be as amazing as the short few before.
She started the journal a month before he was born, while her unborn baby was still hiccuping merrily in her pregnant belly. Her love for him was already evident; she obviously fell for her unborn baby, as any mother naturally does and should, while he was still hidden from the rest of the world.

She doesn't ever spell out her circumstances, but I strongly suspect that she was a traditional surrogate, and that the baby was her own biological son - at one point she refers to the fact that on photographs, he inherited her lips and her smile - clearly a genetic connection:
I got a picture of your smile. My gosh, you have a beautiful smile. I can't help but look at your mouth and notice we share the same lips. My lips have always been my favorite characteristic of myself and I am very proud to pass them on to you. My aunt always used to tell me that I should go into lipstick modeling. I guess you're lucky!
It also seems from some of her references that the father of the baby was, as is typical, the commissioning Dad (she most likely conceived either through sperm injection or IVF).

Further, some of her early posts mention the fact that this surro already has two of her own sons, one of whom was 8 years old about the time when the baby was born.  Interesting, because surrogate providers tend to look for women with children to be potential surrogates (often, having existing children is a requirement for would-be surrogates). Perhaps this is because of the fear that surrogates would bond too strongly with first-time babies, and the expectation that their bond with later babies may be weaker due to the fact that they already have their own babies at home. Well, this blog obviously shatters that view, doesn't it?

It's evident that as her due date approached, this poor woman felt a great love for her unborn son swelling up within her. She struggled with her feelings, and a big part of her wanted to keep him. And yet, the ball that had been set in motion by this awkward and painful situation proved to be too heavy for her to stop, and despite her mountain of doubts she couldn't stop herself from proceeding with the plan to give him up to the commissioning couple.

Surely, a big part of the problem was the fact that the newborn son's commissioning father was in fact his biodad, who was married to the commissioning Mother, and with whom the surrogate had no relationship. The surrogate's memory of the moment she gave away her son after his birth is almost too much to bear:
I thought about sitting on the bed with you while your mommy and daddy waited for me to come out of that room. I was remembering the words I told you.. the words I whispered in your ear that evening. I said "I love you, baby. I love you so much. I'm sorry that I brought you into this mess and I hope you forgive me." Then I said.. "We did it, sweetheart. I know it was hard, but we did it." Then I kissed your soft little forehead and stood up.. as ready as I could ever be to give you up.

I was thinking, last night, about opening that door.. and how your mommy and daddy's hearts must have jumped in their chests. I was thinking about the tears streaming down my face and the sobs filling my body as I hugged your mommy first, still holding you to my heart.. I told your mommy and daddy that they weren't sad tears I was crying, but they were happy. I lied. They were tears so full of sadness and emotion that no words could ever describe them. I cried for you, I cried for me, and I cried for our family.

I hugged your daddy and he cried against my shoulder, feeling you to his heart at the same time I felt you to mine. We shared a connection there that will never be forgotten. Then I handed you to him. I put thought into who I would give you to when I walked away.

I decided to place you in your daddy's arms because as much as I love your mommy, I brought you into the world for him, for your daddy. The gift I gave was to him. Together, you and I... we made his dreams come true.

I hope he does the same some day and allows you to come back to me.

Another part of the problem was evidently the brainwashing she had undergone, whereby she believed in the need to be altruistic and help a needy infertile couple by surrendering her own child to them, because after all, they had wanted a baby for so long, they had gone this far, and this baby would not exist if it weren't for their commissioning it. She writes:
Today is supposed to be the day that you and I become legally separated, but I know it's not going to happen today, but has been put off for a short time.

...It's something that I would love to fight and remain your mother forever, but I'm so confused as to if it's the right thing to do or not. Do I fight the termination and allow you to remain there with Daddy and Mommy Jo or do I try to keep my rights so I am forever your mommy?

...But, sweet love, I don't want you to hate me when you grow older. I don't want you to feel like I sold you or gave you away for money or that money was more important to me than my son. Such is not the case. If it would work, I would give them every penny back and bring you home with me, but that is not the right thing to do.
Yet another part of the problem was probably her fear of the fury that would be unleashed were she to buck the anticipated course of events.

She obviously felt bad about the whole arrangement even as she was in the process of giving up her son, writing:
"I'm so angry with myself, little boy. I'm so mad that I put us into this situation and set us.. or myself.. up for so much pain."
What a terrible agony crying all the way up to heaven! A mother groaning for her son, whom she gave up in a moment of misguided altruism to infertile strangers. The poor woman! The poor son!

For one thing, she had no right to give him up. She didn't know that of course. She didn't do it with bad intent; on the contrary. Nonetheless the fact remains that she had no right. He wasn't hers to give up!

Belonging is not a one-way street. Her son belonged to her, just as much as she belonged to him! She has a right to be his mother. He has a right to be her son. Even if she signed away her right to be his mother, he still has a right to be her son! He has not consented to being given away!

His rights were violated in all this, and he is as much of a loser as his tragic mother. She moans and weeps for her lost son, she can't move on with her life because she misses him and feels incomplete. Well, how is he supposed to feel, having been robbed of his own mother?

Once again I am reminded of the blog post I once came across by Serra at umbilicly challenged. I reproduced it on my blog, which was a good thing because it has since disappeared from cyberspace. But here it is, as found in my old post:

A Grief not allowed

I am very sad today, with a grief that is not talked about. It is not allowed. Because I had two loving parents. I am not granted asylum. I am not allowed reprieve. Well...what the fuck are you complainin' about ?? You got everything you wanted. You had so many presents at Christmas and your birthday that it was supposed to buy your happiness. You were supposed to forget about your mother. You had everything. Why would you want more? WE GAVE YOU EVERYTHING.

I had everything....everything but my mother. You just can't fix that. Sorry.
Words are not enough, are they. There is so much pain and grief here on both sides of the equation. The mother's cries rise to the skies with unrelenting agony. The child is left with a deep-seated grief that it is not supposed to feel, that is not allowed to be manifested in its happy life with benevolent strangers.

Never, ever,
never, ever,
never, ever
give your own child away.  


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