Senior Citizen Birthmother

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Senior Citizen Birthmother might seem like a contradiction in terms, but as the linked article points out, women who lost children during the Baby Scoop Era from 1945-1975 are now senior citizens.

I am senior citizen. I am a birthmother. But I am a birthmother, reunited with her child.

I imagine this meeting will probably draw mostly birthmothers (and maybe some birthfathers) who are not reunited.

Senior Citizen Birthmother!  At this weird intersection of respect and disdain, is a parking lot paved with grief. Imagine it. You gave your child up for adoption 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 (!) years ago, and all these years later you are stalled. Still carrying this grief. Lost. Lost to this baby that hasn’t been a baby for decades, and that “baby” is lost to you.

I think this is a new perspective from which to frame the question for young women who are considering relinquishing children today. Forty years from now, do you think you will still long for your child? How about in 50 years? In 60 years? 70? How do you imagine this might impact your life?

3 thoughts on “Senior Citizen Birthmother

  1. Constance West

    I am a birth mother from that era. I surrendered my daughter January 1967 under extreme duress. I have always regretted this decision and never had any other children. My first marriage, and only marriage, which is a happy one, didn’t take place until I was aged 64. Severe trust issues, among other issues, the usual: self esteem, grief and loss, guilt, shame etc. My daughter found me four years ago, but has given minimum effort towards the relationship. I am ecstatic that she is well adjusted, happy and healthy, so anything beyond that is pure gravy. I continue to communicate in a non-intrusive manner with her and plan to continue doing so. In fairness, she is ultra busy, a full time job and five kids to boot. People do not understand what those times were like. I have yet to meet anyone who even has heard of the BSE, not that you go around asking. To this day it is very difficult to talk about, and I rarely share this information with others. I just don’t need the judgement or the pity. I am happier now than I have ever been actually, and my husband is very very loving.

    Reply
  2. Mary Jeffery

    I am also a senior citizen birth mother……who forfeited her precious son 50 years ago. At that point in my 19 year old life…. I fractured and evidently turned into a reasonable facsimile of myself. All these years I have been acting like a proper woman but have just recognized my own charade this past year when my son contacted me!
    It is overwhelming to admit what really happened once I finally allowed myself to think all about what actually transpired. To begin to understand that my lifelong lack of trust and vigilant behavior were likely initiated by a family and Institutions that counseled me to go against my human nature to care for my innocent child. Covering the shame and loss all these years has been an unacknowledged burden that crushed authentic joy and and kept my true thoughts and feelings locked up tight. Still, nobody wants to wallow in the grief that these new insights bring forth….but restoring my true self at this advanced age of seventy is not an easy trick. My whole life has seemed so serious all these years, guarding my terrible secret. I am trying to get used to this old woman(me) who has just been given a sort of “birth” to my lost 50 year old baby who now calls me “Mom”.
    My 48 year old daughter sums it up best by declaring it a “brutiful”?experience….both brutal and beautiful. How I wish I could meet with Constance and other BSE senior mothers, who have experienced this still misunderstood trauma, and hold their hands.

    Reply
  3. Mary Jeffery

    I am also a senior citizen birth mother……who forfeited her precious son 50 years ago. At that point in my 19 year old life…. I fractured and evidently turned into a reasonable facsimile of myself. All these years I have been acting like a proper woman but have just recognized my own charade this past year when my son contacted me!
    It has been overwhelming to admit what really happened once I finally allowed myself to think all about what actually transpired. To begin to understand that my lifelong lack of trust and vigilant behavior were likely initiated by a family and Institutions that counseled me to go against my human nature to care for my innocent child. Covering the shame and loss all these years has been an unacknowledged burden that crushed authentic joy and and kept my true thoughts and feelings locked up tight. Still, nobody wants to wallow in the grief that these new insights bring forth….but restoring my true self at this advanced age of seventy is not an easy trick. My whole life has seemed so serious all these years, guarding my terrible secret. I am trying to get used to this old woman(me) who has just been given a sort of “birth” to my lost 50 year old baby who now calls me “Mom”.
    My 48 year old daughter sums it up best by declaring it a “brutiful” experience….both brutal and beautiful. How I wish I could meet with Constance, Denise and other BSE senior mothers, who have experienced this still misunderstood trauma, and hold their hands.

    Reply

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