Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Beware of Mother's Day"

Trauma Tuesday, a regular feature at Adoption Under One Roof, reminds us to Beware of Mother's Day, which might be a triggering event for adopted and/or fostered children:
If you are parenting a foster or adopted child, be wary of the approach of Mother’s Day. While Mother’s Day is celebrated by millions of people, it is time of sadness and mourning for those of us who were betrayed by our mothers. In some cases (like mine), the mother was the abuser. In other cases, the mother was neglectful (such as being too strung out on drugs to care for the child) or an accomplice (such as turning a blind eye while her boyfriend rapes the child). If your foster or adopted child has baggage from the actions or inactions of his or her birth mother, then Mother’s Day is likely to be triggering for your child.
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The approach of Mother’s Day can trigger all sorts of feelings inside of the foster or adopted child that she does not even recognize. She might just feel “out of sorts” but have no idea why. She might find herself sleeping all the time or unable to sleep at night. She might cry a lot, be irritable, or just feel numb. All of these reactions are normal
Even without abuse and neglect, even with infant adoption, there is the trauma of that loss of first mothers.  My kids' first mothers are particularly on their minds right now, even (or especially) as they are busily making me Mother's Day presents at school.  Zoe has been weepy for the past few days, and tells me she wants to "bust out crying" about her birth mother this week (I reminded her it was ok to cry, but she says she doesn't want to cry at school in front of people who don't know about her birth mother).  I think this is an especially important time to be checking in with our kids to see how they are processing birth mother issues and letting them know we are there any time they need to talk.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thank you for thinking your children's birth mothers. I think you are setting a wonderful example for them. I wish there were more adoptive parents like you. I know I am the last person my son's adoptive mother thinks about on any day, let alone Mother's Day. She is too busy only thinking of herself and always has...

Diane said...

Malinda- Thanks for the reminder. Staying aware of possible triggers is so important.