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.

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5 responses to “The Beauty of Juno

  1. Tomtom saw this movie. He said that it was stupid and stereotyped teenagers.

    Which I would probably say too. The snippets I saw struck me as neither intelligent nor quirky, I suppose I am too steeped in intelligent and quirky teens myself.

    I read some of the comments, although the website was hard to get into, I left the comment.
    .

    from jja, in Oakland, that is where my ISP is out of, I couldn’t bring myself to argue or put my 2 cents in with people who see me as a wonderful “gift” gah, to give to infertile people.

    It is so disheartening to me, to read about myself as wonderfully commidified gift. It is so Rumplestiltskin of them. As far as it being just a movie, it is. They are just movies, they are just jokes, they aren’t really meant. It is no big deal, but you know, after a life time it builds up. A lifetime of being other exhausts.

    At least Tomtom didn’t pay to see a movie that makes fun of the most painful experience of my life, the gift that keeps on giving, adoption is kind of like herpes.

    It is kind of like making a cutsey movie about the funny side of racism as far as I am concerned.

  2. 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.

    Yeah, huh? Gosh, this post made me cry. Hugs to you Justice from one “unworthy’ mother to another. Much love.

  3. This was a beautifully written post. I haven’t seen the movie, although a part of me wants to.

    Before I read blogs written by birthmoms, I thought I “knew” that all adoptees were just unwanted mistakes. That if my mom had just wanted me a little, if she’d just tried a LITTLE, she could’ve kept me.

    I am so grateful that my views about adoption are no longer one sided.

    Please write some more!

  4. I just couldn’t bring myself to see it, especially after accidentally reading a spoiler that made it clear the ending would piss me off. Maybe someday I will, but I’m not sure.

  5. I refuse to see it and I’m not ashamed of that, either. PTSD comes with triggers, and I see no reason to trigger myself. I had a visceral, physical reaction to the last domestic infant adoption television special I watched (a year ago?), and I know this would cause the same kind of reaction. No reason to put myself through that. I lived through placement day once: I refuse to live it over and over again.

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