Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Never Good Enough

You know some thing I am starting to hate? That line, “My baby deserves so much more than I can give him/her.” I can understand that line and the thinking that goes along with it. I understand that when you are young/uneducated/unmarried/poor/in an abusive situation/etc, you want your child to have better than you can give them. It’s natural to desire the best in everything for your child.
This line of thinking is often one of the leading forces behind a woman (and man) surrendering their child for adoption. We tell ourselves (and are told by others) that we are not good enough, that the life we can give them isn’t good enough. After relinquishing, people try to comfort us by saying things like, “He has a better life now. You did what was right. He has everything he could ever want or need.” And eventually we try to comfort ourselves with the same words, telling ourselves over and over that we did the “right” thing until we start believing it.
You don’t realize it right away, but those “comforting” words really screw you up psychologically. They sow the seeds of worthlessness deep into your soul, so that when you do have children that you parent, you struggle with the belief that you are not good enough for them. For the 3-4 weeks I parented William, I struggled constantly with feelings that I wasn’t enough. When ever I took him out in public, I had the fear that everyone around me was judging me. I felt like everyone was thinking the same thing, “That girl has no idea what she is doing. She is a horrible mother. She doesn’t even deserve the title of Mother.” Of course I know that none of those things are true. I knew very well what I was doing, and I handled the demands of parenting like a pro. I wasn’t a horrible mother at all. Even though I knew all of this, I still struggled with feelings of worthlessness. For so long I had not been “enough” for my children, how could I possibly be enough now?
Even now I struggle with these feelings. I know for a fact that if I wanted to go pick up William and take him some where by myself, I could. Yet I am terrified that if I do, something will happen that I can not handle on my own. I know this is ludicrous, because I know exactly what I am doing. I have a sh*t ton of experience with children. In addition to parenting William on my own, there’s baby sitting my 9 month old niece, volunteering with a preschool, countless baby sitting jobs, working in the church nursery, working in a day camp for young children, and being the sole caretaker of my foster nephew when he was 1-2 years old. I am completely comfortable in caring for children. Yet when it comes to Robbie and William, my own flesh and blood, I fear that I am not capable enough to care for them.
How screwed up is that? 


Amanda said...

My mom said the same thing about not feeling like she was enough.

It made me sad because I don't want her to see herself that way.

Anonymous said...

I regularly will use the line "he deserves more than I could give him" but it's not that I wasn't enough. It's not that you weren't enough. It's the raising a child truly takes a village, it takes a support system, whether that is a spouse or at least someone willing to be a Dad, maybe an extended family, maybe a buttload of money where you can pay for nannies to serve as your extended network. For me and many other bmoms its not that we weren't enough, most of us were perfectly capable of caring and loving our child, but it's that our support system wasn't enough, it didn't provide the support we needed to give our children the life we wanted for them. I try to remember that I did what I did so he would have an amazing life but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have been (and still won't be) an amazing Mom. As will you.

MamaFoster said...

that is interesting and I can see how you would feel like that. it isn't true...I think that you are as capable of taking care of a child as I am.

I have to agree with the comment above, with out the help I have around me I don't know how I would do this.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Racilous- I completely agree. I use that line myself quite often, because my boys DO deserve more. It's the truth, but it still sucks, and it can leave you feeling like you will never be enough because you weren't enough when your child was born. And yes, you WILL be a GREAT mother one day!

@All- Yes, it does take a lot of support. After single parenting for a month, I know it would have been hard, but I also know I could have done it. If only I'd had the financial resources..

Heather Jean said...

In my personal opinion I placed Liam because he NEEDED more than I could give him. My step-sister has five children, four of them she has custody of. She is one of those people who keeps having kids and letting the Government (ie; Welfare, Medicaid, and Foodstamps) pay for her and her children. What she is teaching them is that self satisfaction and instant gratification are more important than anything else. My financial situation just wasn't right for me to raise two children. As far as feeling inadequate goes that just comes with being a new parent. I had my first son at 18 and parented him. I constantly felt like the world was judging me and some people did. Eventually you just learn that you can do it and are doing it so let them judge. Some reason people associate age with wisdom or the right to parent. Liam's parents constantly ask me for advice even though they are 10 years older than me. They ask because they know I have been through it and have seen how smart, healthy and happy my first son is. Don't worry one day you will be an excellent mother because you already know how to put your children's needs and wants above you own. So many people in this world never have figured that out so you are ahead of the curve. :D


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