Home alone last night, I decided I was brave enough to watch I’m Having Their Baby for the first time. I’ll confess right now that I switched off before the end and just couldn’t face the adoptions. I found it one of the saddest shows I’ve ever seen and that’s without any of the adoption issues for adoptees. I’m not going to touch those, they deserve a post by themselves.
Any woman, any couple however temporary, can find themselves in situations which are difficult, unpredictable and have far reaching consequences. Most women have been there or know someone who has – the broken condom, the man who won’t wear one, the pit of despair after a broken relationship which leads us into trouble and so on. What I found heartbreaking about this program was the lack or loss of self-esteem in the mothers, which made them so vulnerable to the men they were or had been in a relationship with and to the manipulations of others. They did things which no woman who has her self-respect would do. They appeared to wander through life lost, in a haze of unawareness, drugged by the adoption industry operatives, manipulated and skilfully manoeuvred into making the lucrative decision – the one which was ‘right’ for them, but especially for the baby!!
One of the most telling moments came for one mother, when tears appeared over the chosing of the adopters. The mother was quickly handed the tissue box by the adoption ‘counselor’. As any counsellor or people professional will tell you, such a gesture is a signal to pack away the emotions, stop the tears and regain control. Once done, she was then able to pick which adopters she liked the look of and take their book home for further absorption. Just like taking a dress home on approval or any other piece of merchandise. It was so clearly a transaction, a financial deal being made, signed and sealed, preferably before delivery. Having that commercialisation so thrust in the face, the talk about having a better life, going back to school and those hopes for the future all involving money and nothing really to do with love, caring, loyalty, family unity felt so empty, so devoid of depth, real feeling, understanding or actual hope of realisation. The fight against the instincts was constant and kept emerging, popping out at unexpected moments, to be subdued again and again. Those actions have a cost, as so many mothers of loss tell us. It is a tragedy happening over and over, if the figures are to be believed, 140,000 times every year in America.
Women who are in charge of their lives ensure they don’t get pregnant when they don’t mean to and sometimes can’t when they do mean to. Being in charge means not having relationships with dickheads who won’t wear condoms, ensuring that there is always protection from unwanted pregnancies and making sure something is done quickly if there is a ‘mistake’. Knowing what to do isn’t rocket science and if it was, it would mean the urgent necessity for more and better education to keep women safe, more availability of contraception and much more preparation by mothers of their children as they grow up, boys as well as girls.
Last month, Oxygen Media released the results of a study it commissioned about motherhood and adoption. The study found that 82% of those questioned define a “mother” as the “woman who raised you.” That’s only natural, but this show presents the inherent pain involved in giving up a child. These stories can’t not be compelling drama, and they’re bound to keep I’m Having Their Baby going strong for years to come.<\'I\'m Having Their Baby\' Is Back for Season 2 – iVillage.
It seems we love ‘inherent pain’, can’t get enough of the drama of other people’s loss and find this new genre compelling – Schadenfreude brought to our own homes, ambulance chasing without leaving the house. The adoption ‘arm’ of this genre is not new, is very pre-loved and appeared in fiction in many forms, ‘Little Orphan Annie’ being just one. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_orphans_and_foundlings)
I believe one of our fellow adoptees has made a study of orphans in literature, but have no references to offer. You’ll note how Orphan Annie has ‘the mask of adoption’ – the blank face and expressionless eyes as does the dog she rescued and adopted! It’s all been going on longer than we have and appears set to continue and be so firmly entrenched that it now appears as ‘entertainment’ for the masses – a bit like the Romans and the Parthenon.