Monthly Archives: February 2008

The Beauty of Juno

I’m one of those ‘birthmothers’ sputtering in their response to the movie, Juno. (See http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/chi-0221junofeb21,0,207131.story {if I could only link}).

Each comment and review held my interest, as I tried to figure out how to articulate a response. I love quirky movies damn it. Why did they have to go and make a FUN movie about a teen relinquishing her baby? A movie that my younger daughter wants to see knowing it makes me squirm. It reminds me of her prefeminist teenage days when she didn’t want to be restricted by parental approval. “Oh, Mom, it’s just a moooovie.”

Yeah, it’s just a movie that reminds me of my life. Gives me the willies every time the trailers are shown, or I hear it’s been nominated for ‘best’ (give me a break) movie. UGH.

I did that. Not nearly as cocky. Not cocky at all actually. Not. at. all. Ok, I haven’t seen the movie. Maybe the poignancy of the birth– nah. I remember my firstborn’s birth very powerfully. But I also remember blacking out immediately afterward. How did that happen? Was it me or was it drugs? I don’t even remember the doctor’s name.

But the beauty of Juno is that it’s got me a-swirl in the comments and thoughts etc. Struggling to express something that is apparently repressed because I can’t form a coherent statement. I just shut up when the ads come on if anyone is around. Don’t want to look at that. But it won’t go away. It’s everywhere with rave reviews. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that it upsets me, that I’m inarticulate, that I was so deeply hurt, that I was deemed unworthy by my society.

I’m ashamed. It’s like a gong resonating with Joy telling me she was ashamed. I said, “No. You shouldn’t be ashamed. You are nothing to be ashamed of. You are gorgeous. You are wonderful. Awesome. Glorious.” No one has any right, any position from which to shame you, my daughter. There should be nothing shameful about being adopted. The shame was to be on me.

The shame of being cast out has burdened both of us. It wasn’t supposed to. I was supposed to go on, much like Juno, playing guitar and singing with my friends. Fresh start. Ha. And Joy was supposed to be the perfect healthy white baby girl of her aparents dreams.

I want to protest this stupid movie. I want to stand up and hurl my truth out to redirect attention to the long term effects of this adoption practice. But what if people recognize me? Do I really want my community to know my pain? To know I was cast out by my family? All these years later, when I’ve built a new family, with a good reputation, a caring reputation.

My parents are dead. I never told them how much it hurt. It was too horrible to explain to them. They thought they were doing the right thing and it felt SO WRONG. It felt something like my youngest brother’s congenital deformities and death; a tragedy and loss that could not be retrieved. Something locked away. Done. Just go on.

I do go on. And on into these new experiences that revive and disturb those locked away emotions. So that’s what I love about the movie, Juno. It upsets my applecart. The apples have been rolling all over the road and I’ve been trying to gather them surreptitiously, discreetly. But the horses are eating them and stepping on them. The squished apples are mixing with manure. What a mess. I’m going to eat an apple too, and keep on walking.

spirals

summer.gifSpirals go two ways. Sometimes it seems I’m repeating and repeating, doing things over again and again. It may be learning the same thing — again. The learnings go deeper. Sometimes maybe it’s just a test, to see if I’ve learned my lesson. Testing, strengthening, deepening. I was touched by Joy’s post sharing about her sweetheart’s increased acceptance of me. Her tenderness and softness of heart. I felt like I was swinging in a sweet hammock in the summertime.

Then I was stirred by reading http://motherhooddeleted.blogspot.com/  So many voices. So many opinions. I must find the courage to love who I am, love who we are, no matter what. That’s what I keep learning over and over. That’s the upward spiral. It includes learning to recognize what’s happening when I fall and to catch myself, developing my strength. Sometimes, disturbances arise and seem to grab hold of me so that I become involved and attached to them. It takes strength of purpose, as well as practice, to bring forward greater peace inside and out.

A downward spiral into emotional despair seems to circle around me frequently. It’s not me, who I am. But I seem magnetically drawn to it. It shows me my weaknesses, my fallibility. It keeps me humble. And it teaches me to observe, to listen inwardly and outwardly, to consider and to participate as fully as I can, to learn and to grow.

I’m grateful for the many bloggers that inspire me.