The past 24 hours have been filled with mother-longing and daughter-grief. I had a dream in which I found out that a co-worker was my half sister. Then, I started reading The Kid, Dan Savage’s account of doing an open adoption, followed by a positive OPK, followed by the movie Mother and Child.

The part about the dream that I remember most vividly is looking at her new-to-me-eyes and thinking they had looked like mine all along. In real life, I do have a half sister, she is about 13 and I found her Facebook page about six months ago. I visit it monthly. She looks like her father. I dont know if she knows about me, but when she turns 18, I will be pouncing, regardless. Furthermore, I just did what meager math I can and found that this sister was born when my biological mother was 39. Sweet.

So far, Dan Savage has talked about how dirty his house is, how sad he was to definitely have to give up threesomes and how he decided to put the adoption on rush so he could write a book about it. I love that man. He is my honesty role model.

I got my positive OPK outside of a Ben and Jerry’s. I took it 6 hours late, which will be a source of irritation for at least another two days.

And, in the movie, there are two characters, a mother daughter pair, separated by adoption, who both have intimacy problems. The mother says, at one point, to a suitor, “I am a difficult person and I have have high expectations. I demand a lot from people, it’s not fair, but it’s true.” And her daughter, the one she has never met, is anchor-less, ambitious, and calculating in bed. They are a fine study of my own nooks and crannies, and, without actual information, the best blueprint available for how it is that me and my own biological mother may have turned out.

The movie made me realize that I only know about the things that my biological mother wont do or isnt doing, but that maybe there are things she does do. The mother in the movie lists all of the things she does for the daughter she has never met and then it hit me, maybe mine does things, too. Maybe she thinks about me on my birthday, or writes a letter, or calls me by the name she wouldve named me in her head, or remembers something about me whenever she passes a certain street corner. It was relieving to think of her in some nice way, one that doesnt involve ambush, a scenario at the center of most of my daydreams. This kind of realization might sound pretty pedestrian, but when you think about the same thing everyday and each day of your life, not really sharing your thoughts with anyone and therefore not getting many new thoughts in, having a new one is a pretty momentous occasion.

My thoughts are inbred on this subject.


My First Birth

April 30, 2010

I wasnt raised with kids around. In fact, my clearest memories from childhood about children are the fights my mom and dad had when my aunt would get pregnant. My aunt wouldnt tell anyone until she was 12 or 13 weeks, not even her sisters. My father always thought that was strange and cruel, a sign of her family’s true coldness. Maybe he even chalked it up to them being Jewish once or twice. But that’s what I remember about babies. They were kept a secret and it made my dad mad.

So last night, I was around for an entire birth. I wasnt, like, all up in the delivery room, but I was sleeping in chairs and peering into a nursery at other people’s children and waiting for the proud father to come into the waiting room and announce the birth.

She was checked into the hospital at 11:00PM and gave birth at 4:55. The baby was 8 pounds 9 ounces and 21 inches long. There was less than 2 hours of pushing, I think.

At one point we were in the delivery room with everyone and the nurse was describing the security measures. When the child is born they place a GPS around its little ankle. All staff, and only the ones with a pink border around their picture, must push babies in carts, not carry them. Don’t take a shower and leave the baby alone in the room. You have a patio, but dont take the baby near the window because an alarm will go off.

Hearing that speech made me so sad and grossed out at the most essential level.

I also cried. Middle’s sil’s husband’s mom wept a graceful weep and hugged her son, which made me cry. Mine was a brief, quiet, ugly cry, I think, which no one noticed to the best of my noticing.

This whole baby thing throws me into wonderment and questioning around the circumstances of my own birth, about which I know essentially nothing. For example, Middle sil had 9 people in the waiting room; How many did my mom have?

Maybe Tomorrow

April 23, 2010

Tomorrow we test. When the stick says yes, I will become a mother. For better or for worse, for 6 days or sixty years, I will die having been a mother. That’s really how I think about it.

Secretly, I want to be alone for a moment, to have a few seconds to attach to my new self. For me and the maybe to recognize one another. Well, actually, the maybe knows me, but I dont know her, yet. I want to have a moment alone to recognize my maybe and myself as someone’s mother.

So, if I’m going to become a mother tomorrow, who am I tonight? What is a non-mother? Or, who? Surely, the opposite of mother isnt daughter. What is the opposite of mother? (Hopelessness, spinelessness, selfishness?)  If the test says yes, which part of me do I lose or let go? There’s no word for not-mother, is there? I mean, I guess in some not-true way “lesbian”, or “barren” or “old maid” used to mean that, but not even really. There’s just no word for it.

My not-mother self has been a judgmental daughter. I’ve spent a lot of time judging my mothers, both of them, and wanting exactly what they couldnt give me. I could have blood or I could have a bed, but not both. Eyes, nose, breast, throat or food, clothing and shelter, but not both.

When I become a mother, I open myself up to a kind of love I have never experienced, never given or gotten.  Since I havent ever received love from my biological mother or even really laid eyes on her, will my love for my kid be different from other mothers’ love? To what am I naive? If I have a daughter and I love her, will it feel the way it mightve felt to love my mother? And what, oh what, about a son?

I do know how it felt to love my dad. It was heartache and devotion. It was oneness and comfort. How I endlessly, tenderly fingered his weaknesses looking at him, how my sense of unconditional affiliation never wavered. I was indomitably, irrevocably attached to him and his brown hair, his skin tanned red and fuzzy blue tattoos. And then I couldnt be anymore because he was dead.

I was listening to the radio the other day and a woman was talking about a famous parrot. She said they put the parrot in front of a mirror and he said, because he could talk, he said, “Who is that?” and the researchers said, “Thats you,” and he knew he was him. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s the way I heard it.

When I got that picture of my mother holding me, I had a similar feeling. Like a bird, like some kind of very smart, pea-brained bird, sandwiched between not one, but two, mirrors. A picture of myself in my mind’s eye and the picture of my mother, each were mirrors and there were a thousand of us, over and over. If she had been in front of me, if her eyes, nose, breast and throat had been right in front of me, I might’ve gotten dizzy and had to sit down. I imagine that becoming a mother will feel like that.

Tonight, I am not savoring the final moments of being free-wheeling, of our awesome childlessness. I’m not trying to brace against the moment at which I have a child and will therefore teeter on the edge of not having a child for as long as we both shall live. I’m not writing to rev myself up, or cast doubt, to list my symptoms or debate about whether or not I am actually pregnant.

I am writing as someone who hasn’t begun to know what love is. At least, I hope that is who I am — compared to who I will be.