It’s taken me a while to respond to two comments left by different upset readers on the Breastfeeding post. I was going to just ignore them, but this post keeps getting wide circulation on FB, so maybe it’s time to respond.
From “Hal” last August when people in a FB group discovered this post, I’ve broken the comment into 3 parts for ease of answering:
“I disagree with your presumption (people are trying to usurp another woman’s role). Most (sane) people know that is not possible to erase the fact that someone else gave birth to the baby.”
From Me: Your words tell me a lot about you when you can’t even use my actual words “You are usurping the biological mother’s role by trying to breast feed the baby you will adopt.” while trying to give me the what for, using “substituting another woman’s role”. Call her who she is Hal, the child’s mother, and then, we can talk.
And Hal, you haven’t met many older and wiser Adoptive Parents, have you? I’m going to assume (rightly or wrongly) that you are an Adoptive Parent, or want to be an Adoptive Parent seeing as you can’t even refer to the child’s mother who chose adoption – as her mother in your comment above, rather, she’s referred to by you as “another woman” – very telling, indeed.
I know that the whole concept of how adoption is structured is to remove and replace one set of parents for another set, because it starts with the “as if born to” and shows most plainly on our Amended Birth Certificate where our Natural Parent(s) are removed and the Adoptive Parent(s) are inserted as our Biological Parents. It finishes with the stripping of our names and being replaced with the names given by our now Adoptive Parents, and then, the sealing the Original Birth Certificate away.
But sure, no AP ever tries to erase our parents by birth, nor do they get upset when the child asks where their real mom is, or tells their adoptive parents they aren’t their real parents. Nor when Adoptive Parents refer to Parents by birth as Bioparent, Birthmom, Bio’s, Egg Donor, Sperm supplier, or other terms like that. For some Adoptive Parents the goal is to erase our Biological Parents, or at the very least, downgrade them to merely the suppliers of the product you want most of all.
“I think it is more about trying to build a bond for the adoptive parents with the baby.”
My guess, it’s more about the AP’s need to experience what they were denied by their body due to infertility versus creating a bond, especially if they haven’t found a level of peace with their infertility, and you’d be surprised how many don’t try to reconcile that loss before jumping on the “Adopting Bandwagon”.
But sure, lets talk about creating bonds, or attachment which is what actually happens. I was that screaming infant who’d lost everything I came into the world with. I literally screamed for hours on end when I finally came home.
You know what worked?
Holding me heart to heart rubbing my back like Dad did every night when he was done with work. Rocking me in the rocking chair till I fell asleep by Mom or Grandma. Both of those worked to soothe the wrinkles of the trauma I’d been through, but more than that, Mom and Dad being there for their children through thick and thin – for life. That’s what creates the unbreakable and unshakeable bond between parent and child; not whether you breastfed the child you adopted.
And if you can’t bond with your child, it’s up to you to seek help on how to open your heart to a child not of your genes, and to grieve the losses in your life and find a level of peace with that, preferably before you adopt but better late than never.
“I feel like In your writing I hear a lot of “me, me, me” and a lot of anger. I hope that you will be filled with peace.”
And of course, no angry comment would be complete without the angry adoptee trope thrown in, gosh darn, it’s been awhile since I heard that. Hal, I’m as old as the hills and your feeble attempts at schooling me, well, they really need some work if you were hoping to shame me, or make me feel bad for talking about a subject that really upsets me, on my own blog.
Now, while you’re busy at sharpening your word tools to respond, maybe consider that as an adoptee I see things differently than you do as an adoptive parent. That my lived experiences have shaped who I am, combined with the role models I had, i.e. mom and dad.
“When you are, if you’re able to step outside a singular view, and try to see things from a global perspective, I’m sure an adoptive parent would tell you that they had a hard time bonding initially. That initial bonding is so critical when it comes to waking up every 2 hours for months, or being patient when the baby is screaming for hours … things the adult adoptee and the biological mother are not privy to (at least not until the adult adoptee raises a child). Breastfeeding can help create a swift bond with the child which benefits the child in all aspects of their lives. The biological mother will always be the one who gave the child life, and no amount of breastfeeding will ever usurp that role. For adoptive parents to bond, and be the best most connected parents they can be- which is the hope for every biological mom- breastfeeding is a way to achieve that.“
Oh Lordy, Hal, not to go on and on, but I was that baby that literally screamed for hours and my [adoptive] family found a way to both calm me, and bond and attach with me that didn’t include breastfeeding, a bond that still exists even though they’ve both been gone for years.
I am also a mother who breastfed her son.
And Hal, there’s also something missing in your defense of Adoptive Breast Feeding; how that newborn baby may react to suddenly being taken from their Mother at birth, the only Mother they know, intimately, right down to her taste, smell, her voice that has comforted her baby for months. Why aren’t you concerned for the babe and what they need to begin life right? Did you encourage the babe’s Mother to do skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding very soon after birth as is considered best practice for both mother and child? Or were you in the room and claimed your right to “hold your baby first” or any of the other things people adopting like to do in L&D or during the hospital stay, separating the mother and child?
An implementation algorithm to improve skin-to-skin practice in the first hour after birth
Did you even bother to bring home from the hospital a blanket the Mother slept with, a recording of her talking to her babe in a stuffed toy – did you do anything to make their transition into living with strangers any easier Hal?
And Hal, maybe you should take your own advice and see outside your singular view and try talking to more than just other adoptive parents. Talk to adoptees, many adoptees, talk to parents by birth as well. Read the article linked above about best practices in L&D for both the babe and mother. Get outside of your own self-selected bubble and hear other voices, many voices, because I am not one lone voice on this belief that breastfeeding is crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed in newborn adoption, you could also just read the comments by other adoptees in the original post, adoptees that have lived longer than you btw.
You have a good day now Hal.