Friday, November 20, 2015

Why be a parent?

I wrote this in response to someone else's blog post that got me thinking:


This is very compelling, and as both an adoptive mother and a natural mother I relate to so much of what you say. I would like to say one thing though, and that's about why we choose to become parents. You seem to feel a bit guilty for wanting and enjoying your children, as if being a parent were somehow a selfish act. Well, it is. No one has a child biologically because they think it will be good for the child. A woman has a baby (under ideal circumstances) because she WANTS one. Dr. Barry Brazelton said the only reason to have a baby is because you can't stand not to. Having a baby is instinctual for most women; it defies logic and is simply deep desire, and there's nothing wrong with that. Nature intended it that way. I had four children, raised three, and my life would be empty without them. Of course, they're trouble, but as Zorba the Greek said, Sometimes you have to undo your belt and go out and look for trouble! Parenthood is a great risk and a great adventure, not for the faint of heart but worth every dirty diaper, screaming toddler, surly adolescent, and sleepless night. I would not be the person I am without my children, and I say that with humility and with pride. Adoptive parents have the same desire for parenthood as anyone else, but somehow nature throws them a curve ball. This is regrettable, tragic even, but it's no reason to take another mother's baby. I adopted a baby from Vietnam because I wanted to rescue a child from a war zone, not because I was infertile. I now realize I was also trying to replace the son I had lost to adoption a few years earlier. I thought I was saving a child, and I believe I did, but I now realize my motives were largely selfish. I was not acting out of deep, natural, instinctual desire but out of a sense of guilt and remorse. I wanted to feel good about myself, because I felt so bad about losing my first son. I wanted to help, nurture, and love a child, but my motives were more complicated than most. At no time did I ever get the counseling that would have helped me understand and come to terms with all that was going on inside me, and because I stumbled blindly a lot of damage was done. Everyone is screwed up in one way or another, but living with secrets and lies is a sure way to scramble your brains, whether you're a natural mother or an adoptee. All adoptees have the right to their own information and history. No one, not even a natural mother, has the right to deny them that.

2 comments:

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  2. Pam--Powerful admission here. Few women who are both first and adoptive mothers have the guts to think this through, I'll wager.

    On another note, please email me....want to send you a private message. Can't find your address.

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