Title aside, this is a great piece that explores the growing concerns around the adoption industry. Yes, I say industry. And I fully acknowledge that I have some biases that underlie that statement, starting with my own embodied experience as a trans-national/trans-racial adult adoptee.
What’s so exciting to me about this article is that it exists at all–that people are starting to talk about the ways in which narratives of pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption have been siloed, often to great detriment.
Adoption has long been perceived as the win-win way out of a difficult situation. An unwed mother gets rid of the child she’s not equipped to care for; an adoptive family gets a much-wanted child. But people are increasingly realizing that the industry is not nearly as well-regulated and ethical as it should be. There are issues of coercion, corruption, and lack of transparency that are only now being fully addressed.
Very few activists are claiming that adoption shouldn’t be an option, but the activists currently involved in the issue recognize that adoption is far from the perfect solution it was so long perceived to be. It’s a difficult, life-changing decision with ramifications that last a lifetime. As such, it needs to be treated with the utmost transparency and a much higher degree of ethical oversight, legal and otherwise.
This is a story that is probably more common than we think…because it is terrifying for most people to verbalize their ambivalence around parenting, let alone regret. I wish that we could hear these stories more often, not because I want to frighten parents-to-be who are already overwhelmed with the onslaught of shoulds, but because I am 100% positive this woman is not the only person who feels the way she does.
Now, seven months into my pregnancy — and in therapy — I still feel remorse and am terrified of our future. When I chose to plant both embryos, I made a decision that forever impacted our lives, and not necessarily for the better. The shrink says I am transferring my memories of my first challenging infant experience to these unborn babies. Maybe I am; the old me would naively think that there’s no way these babies could be as bad, but the new me is expecting the worst.
A new online magazine edited by Michelle Tea. In her own words:
I’ve been trying to get pregs for about two years now, and along the way I’ve become increasingly obsessed with all things Mom. In pop culture and science. In art and literature and film and television. The ways Moms looked in the 50s and 60s and 70s; the way Moms look now. I’m interested in baby names and maternity clothes and feminist child-rearing and mothering traditions. Punk moms and hippie moms and hip hop moms. Normal moms and weirdo moms, queer moms and straight moms, tiger moms and slacker moms. IVF and IUI and heterosexual fornication and adoption. Ovaries and uteruses and surrogates. Home births and scheduled c-sections. Bad moms, mommy wars, mommy everything. How people stay creative and vital while raising kids. I want a place online to hang out with all of it, without having pink flowers or digital sprinkles of fairy-baby dust assault my aesthetics. Welcome to MUTHA.
I loved this thoughtful exploration that hangs abortion and miscarriage together in the context of the Jewish faith. She hits the nail on the head when talking about the role of stigma in how pregnant people see their experiences:
No matter what we feel—sadness at a miscarriage, relief at an abortion—women are told their feelings aren’t legitimate. Someone—a politician, a friend, a member of the clergy—invariably tells us to buck up if we’re devastated by the loss of a wanted pregnancy, and/or to hate ourselves if we’re not devastated to end an unwanted one.
I love the idea of women having the option to mark events—positive or negative—with ceremonies that bring meaning to their experiences. But I don’t think I personally would have needed these rituals when I chose abortion. I felt no ambivalence. I needed no validation. My point is that we’re entitled to a wide range of feelings when it comes to our bodies and our fertility.