Friday, July 24, 2009

Retroactive Abortion

I have been retroactively aborted. I think it happened 3 years ago, but it actually might have happened a lot longer ago. Retroactive abortion isn't as physically painful as actual abortion (I don't think) but it is emotionally painful.

It happens when someone chooses to excommunicate their own child which, consequently, excommunicates that child's family. Sometimes this is for the best, especially if the child is a sociopath killer. No one wants to go to a family reunion wondering if they will go home in a wooden box. But in most cases, Retroactive Abortion (RA for short) happens when a dysfunctional family decides their chosen scapegoat has exceeded their allowance for being human.

In my case, it was based on a comedy of errors and a very minor issue. Grandma got sick. Dad had to put her in a home. Grandma didn't want to go in a home. Grandma kicked up a stink and someone called Adult Protective Services to report Dad trying to starve Grandma and hold her against her will. Dad thought it was me. My mistake was in taking Grandma seriously when she said she wanted to kill herself. I called In Home Support Services (same department as APS) to get in home suicide counselling for Grandma because Dad wouldn't talk to me anymore for some unknown reason. Dad thought I was trying to get custody of my 93 year old grandma when I had 7 children and Multiple Sclerosis. (See how absolutely retarded this is all beginning to sound?) Dad had a visit from the police who advised him not to starve Grandma. Dad assumed, along with the rest of his over reactive, mentally unstable family that I had reported this.

I had NOT. Of course, in these cases, the truth is irrelevant. All that matters is if it SOUNDS plausible. The reason for this is because people who are that determined to fill the role of hero must have a villain as their antagonist. The reason this is a retroactive abortion is not because my father excommunicated me, but because my mother did so a very long time ago. I think it was because I came too soon after her second child (15 months.) That, and she was only a baby herself (18.)She has, at best, merely tolerated me, although she was always there to fulfill the role of mother when others were watching. But she never really liked or accepted who I was. I was the fat, bad complexion, ugly child. Instead of obsessing over my figure with hours of Pilates, I read books. Theology and history were my favorites. I didn't agree with everyone around me. I challenged the thought of the status quo. In a word, I didn't make her look good, and that was unforgivable.

Memories of her include the time I told her I hated her (I was about 3 or 4) and she told me she hated me too. (I have dealt with this same situation by saying the obvious, NORMAL thing, which was "Well, you can hate me all you want, but I will ALWAYS love you!") I was told I was a slut while I was still a virgin because I was reading Erich Fromm's book called "The Art of Loving" (not a porno book, a philosophical piece.) At this, I took out the book, turned to the chapter on Unconditional Maternal Love (Erich's example of the purest form of love) and read to her his definition. This type of love, loves the subject regardless of their actions or behaviors. It is the reason mothers of serial killers insist on their child's innocence. My mother couldn't understand this concept. It was foreign to her.

My mother isn't a bad person. She just doesn't understand love. Maybe due to being adopted two weeks after birth and not bonding well with her adoptive mother, maybe because she has some innate genetic predisposition to not allowing others in, she found the greatest power was in not giving approval to anyone. People pleasers like me would crave it, and keep trying. It didn't matter how much my mother belittled me, demoralized me or ignored me. I kept trying. Affection from her consisted of having her go to great lengths to pop zits on my face. Her nail marks were all over my face, and if I tried to squirm away, she would slam my head against the wall. That was the equivalent of a hug. And my father would ignore it all.

So when I was retroactively aborted, I was crushed. But my own adult children asked the obvious question, "WHY?" I can't give a good answer to that question.

I had vowed to be a different kind of mother, and I am. I adore my children. I took Erich Fromm's words to heart. I love each of my children, in their uniqueness, regardless of the appearance, weight, complexion or actions. I see each as a beautiful gift from God, each with their own unique contribution to humanity. I hug and kiss them often, just as my Grandma did to me. I encourage them to be better when they misstep, and I rejoice in their accomplishments.

My eldest is going to have her first full book published. It is coming out in the Spring of 2010. My parents won't see the irony in the subject matter. It is about surrogate motherhood. It starts off unbiased, but it brings the reader to a conclusion that most won't expect. As noble as it may seem, being a bio mom only is a selfish approach to life. The greatest gift is not in the birthing, but in the gift of the whole lifelong mothering.

So Mom, if you read this, thanks. You made me who I am, and you have now given me the freedom to be everything I and my children can be. Unwittingly, you have helped me give the one thing you could never give me yourself. You helped me give unconditional love. And the payoff has been a thousand fold.

For those of you who have been retroactively aborted, let's make a support group. We need to find each other, and be a family.

Oh wait...we already have that. It is called the Catholic Church.

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