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?