Motherhood Club

June 17-25, 1998

Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted join the “Motherhood Club”. Everyone else she knew was pregnant for the second, third, or even fourth time. In all her 12 years of marriage, she’d never even been excitingly late with her period. She despaired of ever gaining membership. Never would she have stories of morning sickness, bladder discomfort, or labor and delivery. Never would she be able to play “Can you top this” with exploits of a defiant toddler, or brag about the grades of her brilliant child or the prowess of her athlete/offspring.

As the Christmas Holidays approached, she dreaded the family and social occasions at which she would be asked (or worse yet, NOT ASKED) about when she was going to start her family. Her sisters and sisters-in-law would gather in the kitchen and she would be unable to participate in their “members only” discussions. Determining in her heart to not be in this position for the rest of her life, she began to hint at an upcoming adoption.

When her husband heard of “their” plans to adopt, he thought that if anything would make his wife happy and calm her frustrations, he would be in favor of it. As they talked about the possibilities, they concluded that adoption was a fine idea. They made application to several agencies and were finally placed on the waiting list of one of them. By Mother’s Day, the deed was done, and she received her membership card along with the blonde haired, blue-eyed baby girl in the frilly pink dress and white bonnet.

Time passed, and the mother was pleased to participate in the rituals of her new club. She was thrilled to share with the other members how the “poor dear” had colic for three days, followed by teething, and an ear infection, and then chicken pox...oh, my, the excitement never ended!

Until the mother woke up for the third time in a week and threw up before she even had breakfast! Soon, the long awaited diagnosis of pregnancy was given to her. But she was too sick to enjoy it. And too tired from running after an excessively active four and a half year old. As the months passed, she prayed that school would start for the older child before the baby came so she could get some rest!

When the baby was born, it, too, was a girl, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes like her mother, and a beautiful olive complexion like daddy. The sisters looked nothing alike, and the blonde curls and blue eyes of the older child stood out in stark contrast to the swarthiness of the rest of the family.

Up until now, the mother was certain that she had understood and followed the rules of the Motherhood Club. She was sure that she’d loved her first child and been proud of her accomplishments. She was positive that she would have given her life for the child. But when the newborn infant from her own womb had been placed in her arms, a new dimension was added.

From this point forward, the adoptee began to feel displaced and unneeded. The mother now talked constantly about “her baby”, as in, “My baby is cutting teeth...My baby is so cute...My baby is learning to walk...” The adoptee became “she”, as in, “She goes to school.” Updates on “her baby” were readily given, but only if asked did the mother report on the accomplishments of the older child. The adoptee learned to defer to the baby, even when she was no longer a baby but became a toddler...a pre-schooler...a grade-schooler...a high adult...

As adults, the adoptee made a life for herself in a distant city, while Her Baby lived at home until she married, then bought a house across the street from her parents. When their father died, the Baby and her husband and children moved in with the mother, “to keep her company”. For years, the adoptee tried to interest her mother in the activities of her children, but Her Baby’s children always proved infinitely more interesting. Finally the adoptee quit trying to engage her mother’s attentions altogether and became a motherless daughter.

The adoptive mother, on the other hand, continued to be a member in good standing of the Motherhood Club AND the Grandmother’s Club, serving terms as president of each.

HINT: Too often “motherhood” and not “the needs of the child” are the primary motivators for adoption. In these cases, the adoptee suffers for the selfishness of both her mothers.

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