Guilt

I fell in love with Ponce the moment I heard about him. Seeing him for the first time was icing on the cake. There is not a doubt in my mind that from the moment I held him for the first time I would have traded my life so that he would never experience a single troubled thought. HOWEVER … I would say that it has taken me about nine months to be certain that I could not love him more. I can’t even write that without worrying that someone reading this will misunderstand me.

I have spent nine months trying to explain this to myself. Maybe it’s just the way I am. Maybe no matter how my child came to me I would have been one of those mothers who doesn’t bond immediately. I think of bonding in degrees, as a spectrum. I bonded with Ponce right away, but it wasn’t until very recently that I KNEW  that I felt what I SHOULD be feeling: That I missed him when I put him to bed at night (rather than being happy with him during the day, but looking forward to bedtime for some alone time); that when I woke up before him on a Saturday morning I didn’t have a fleeting moment of “dread” if he woke up before I finished my tea … I felt a lot of guilt for these feelings.

I don’t know that there was a specific incident that caused me to finally feel the feelings I knew I “should” be feeling … but getting there has allowed me a lot of time to ponder “guilt.” I think that it may be just my nature to bond slowly, over time. I fell in love with my husband slowly. I fell in love with my dog slowly. I’m not sure I’m fully bonded to my own parents, but that also is growing and becoming more evident over time. But part of my also wonders if Ponce’s adoption is part of the reason for my slow bonding.

I feel a lot of GUILT around Ponce’s adoption. Everything from feeling guilty that we added to our family before other couples who are just as amazing (maybe more amazing) than we are. That Ponce’s first mom lied about his existence, taking away an opportunity for her parents to raise Ponce (and they are amazing, and deserving). That Ponce’s birth dad never knew about Ponce until he was in our care. That every night when I kiss Ponce goodnight, there are at least three other people who wish they were the ones kissing him goodnight. I feel guilt about being given this incredible, awesome gift, and opportunity to love and raise Ponce, and yet knowing that it took me almost nine months to FEEL like a mom should feel (head over heels, crazy in love with her child) … there is just so much guilt and for whatever reason, I seem to be extra susceptible to feeling it.

I know that Ponce’s birth family would never want me to feel any of this. Let alone know that it may have had an effect on my ability to fully bond with Ponce right away. See, if I let myself I could let this circle of guilt perpetuate itself ad nauseam … and what good is that? For anybody?

I know that I could spend my brain energy elsewhere. And for Valentine’s day I am giving myself that gift. Ponce’s first mother chose to relinquish him. Nobody in her life pushed her to do this. Ponce had been in care for two months before we ever got the call about him. WE were not involved in his birth mother’s decisions to lie to her family or lie about his birth father. We do not own any of that guilt. The only guilt we could own is of not allowing Ponce’s birth family into his life … and considering his birth grandparents just spent an evening in our home babysitting him … I think we’re on the right track with that one.

We are fantastic parents. And Ponce is happy and thriving. I am ridding myself of guilt I do not own.

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8 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Parenting

8 responses to “Guilt

  1. Trish

    Hello and welcome to adoption blogland. I came here via Lia. I know about this guilt…all of it. At this point I am certain that my DDs biofather does not know she exists, he thinks bmom had an abortion. I have so much guilt around it all, though none of the choices I feel guilt over were mine.
    My DD came home at 2 months old, as it seems did your Ponce. Bom did not want to parent. She had every opportunity to do so, and having parented 3 she knew what that meant.
    I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    • Thank you for the warm welcome. I had no idea anyone was reading. Trish, our stories do sound very similar. Do you know who your daughter’s birth father is? What a terrible situation for everyone involved. I’m not sure where you’re writing from, but in my situation, the courts sent social services back twice to try to locate my son’s birth father. Ads were posted in every newspaper in the country!! The judge wanted to be VERY sure that he consented. Unfortunately, those efforts could not account for our son’s birth mother not having provided honest information about his name to begin with. It’s hard to write “unfortunately” because, obviously, had they located him we would not be parenting Ponce. The “luck” factor in our situation (good luck for us, bad for our son’s birth father) is a theme I just can’t get away from, and one that plays a big role in that guilt cycle.

      • Trish

        I live in a putative father’s registry state; once 30 day pass after birth and an unwed father has not registered as putative father or filed a petition in court, he has no rights. Sad, but true. I had no say in the fact that bmom refused to name him. She was 40 when she delivered and has yet to tell anyone, even her other grown chikdren, that she had this child. Bio father already had no rights when we learned of DD. She wil be 3 in April, and I recently begged her bmom to tell me who biofather is. It took some quoting of adult adoptees and fear of possible future medical concerns, but she finally just recently told me his name after I promised I would do noting to disrupt her life right now. Having been an advocate for teen/young father’s rights for many years (even did my grad thesis on it), it plays a huge role in my guilt cycle too.
        I love her bmom so much, but I do not agree with some of her choices. In the long run, they will affect our DD very much- like not having a relationship with her paternal side at all, and no contact with anyone except bmom on the maternal side, especially her sisters. Sigh…. I have done and will continue to do all I can to be a voice for DD, to get every piece of information I can, to fight to keep this adoption open with bmom until she can decide for herself what relationship she wants.

  2. OMG! This is so great. I am riddled with guilt as well. I live in this bubble created by me I think where I am sure that my son’s birthmom regrets placing him with us despite all evidence to the contrary. It just makes me sad that she had to do it and it makes me sad that I feel so burdened by it. My son is 18-months old, and I feel like I maaaaaaaybe just be starting to perhaps, maaaaaaybe, see that in a year or so, I may feel that I … well deserve is the wrong word, perhaps AM his mom.

    BTW – I get your point about fate. I don’t say it that often but it is worth noting that his birthmom did get pregnant and did find us. They have indicated that meeting us was destiny… a coping mechanism perhaps…

    • Isn’t it amazing how much guilt we can create for ourselves? I’m so prone to it in everyday life that I should hardly be surprised. I’m working on it! I hear you totally and completely about the “… am his mom.” Ponce’s birth grand parents often say things like “Ponce is where he should be: with his parents.” in emails etc. I have never mentioned my fears/guilt to them, I wonder if they know/suspect, or if they just want to make sure that I don’t doubt their support in the adoption. Either way, they’re pretty awesome to write/think it and I love them for it.

  3. PS I’m so glad you found me and I found you. I can’t wait to explore your blog further.

  4. Pingback: I may be back … | hold on to your Ponce

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