Next month, is May, or better known to me as The Month. May is the month that I reserve for my many uncried tears. It’s the month that I allow myself to fall apart. During this month, I am overly sensitive, and I tend to get angry too quickly. It’s the month where I can feel it coming before Christmas ends, and the snow melts.
It’s the month in which The Kiddo was born.
It’s Mother’s Day, and Birthmother’s Day (a day which both annoys me, and frustrates me, yet I often find myself participating).
It’s MY month. It’s the month I reserve for quiet reminders, and for tears that have sat in my heart for the past year. It’s the month where I just remove all barriers and allow myself to officially feel everything that surrounds me in this adoption. I started doing this the year I broke down in a Toys R Us; I was in the store to grab a present for someone else, and I thought, “I should be buying presents for him“. The tears came fast, my hand went up over my mouth, as if I was shocked. My eyes met The Ex who grabbed my hand, and rushed me out of the store where I proceeded to wail for the better part of an hour. He’d seen this deep haunting cry before; he’d been there when I had come home from the hospital.
After that ordeal, I decided that I needed stronger barricades during the year. I needed to allow myself to feel, but I needed to put limits on when, and where. For one month, May, I would allow myself to let it go, I would let the walls come down for a brief moment. Usually, I avoid areas that will trigger me. I avoid situations that I know will trigger me, but in the comfort of my home, I let myself go as deep into those waters as I feel necessary. Which means, occasionally, I drown as the pain envelopes me. Sometimes, I float. But always, I allow myself to tread into this water, just to remember.
April serves as the month in which my body attempts to go back in time. I’m more tired in April. I retreat inwardly, appearing sad, when I am really not, entirely. I have flashbacks of that month, and my body tenses knowing what is coming. April is a time for preparing for the flash flood of emotions that will come shortly. I know it’s coming; my heart, my soul and my whole body knows. So we get the artillery ready.
This morning, I caught myself staring out the window remembering another morning, nine years ago, when I was racing to get to work, cursing all of my jackets that were now too small around the hips. I refused to buy another coat because I simply didn’t want a reminder, later on, that I had needed one large enough to cover my stomach. The plan was to hide any reminders of my pregnancy after I came home from the hospital. The maternity clothes. The pictures. The journals. Anything. I was going into the mode where I was preparing for the end; I knew what was coming. My emotional self became very exhausted from the facade I was required to present on a daily basis. In order to self-protect, I retreated within myself and shut the rest of the world out. Quite simply, they didn’t understand nor do I think I wanted them to.
Earlier that month, I had moved out from the house I had lived in with roommates who had become close friends and confidants. I had made the decision to move into a house all on my own. It was big and empty. I was alone almost always, and it gave me the opportunity to do what I needed to do: to write, to talk, to think, and to sleep. I wanted silence. I wanted time to be free from the noise, noise that had followed me since the moment I uttered the words, “I’m pregnant”. I wanted to be free from all of that, and I wanted to be with just me.
During days like today, when the rain would fall, if I didn’t have to work, I would stay in my PJ’s all day. I would shuffle to the kitchen, and eat my bowl of cereal (usually some ridiculously sugar coated concoction- I craved them desperately) as I watched outside the kitchen window. In the silence, I would imagine the moment I would eventually hand The Kiddo over to his adoptive parents. I would use this as a guage to see how well the walls I was building were working; if I was tearing up, I needed more walls. If I could imagine it with none, I was nearing the status of perfect birthmother. Generally, I ended up chastising myself and spent the morning envisioning myself building more walls around my heart.
I ached to never feel another bit of anything.
As the days wore on, my boredom continually peaked. I would spend evenings on the phone with friends, the only piece of technology that I would comfortably use to the outside world. I would write in my journal sporadically throughout the day. Often I would find myself standing at my closet organizing and reorganizing the contents. Neurotically, in an effort to keep my hands and mind busy, I would sort the clothing by color, type and age. I would read, I would blast music. And then, when I was too exhausted from being awake, or if my thoughts became too intense, I would sleep.
Oh, I slept, a lot. Sometimes, I would sleep for 12 hours. Sometimes, I would wake up, eat, and go back to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. My room, and empty house became a cave. There were times when I would wake up, and have to turn the radio on just to see what day and time it was. Part of me was hoping I would wake up from one of my deeper slumbers and I would no longer be pregnant.
I sunk into a very deep, lonely depression.
By the time May entered, I ended up moving out of the big, empty, lonely house. Partially out of the request of the agency worker who was having a harder time reaching me. I was touched that she was worried about me, but now I wondered if they were concerned that I had too much time alone to reconsider, and then retract my promise to relinquish. What they didn’t know, is that they had covered themselves so well, by this point, I had no idea I could still step back and make that choice. I was no longer aware that my voice was even relevant. To me, I was doing what made the most sense: I was mourning my baby before I even got to see him; something that should have never happened.
It’s amazing how I remember these two months more vividly then any other. The smells, the weather, the sounds, all of it serving as a reminder of the months where I began to shut down emotionally, enter into the “fog” mainly for self preservation, and prepared for what was to come. A fog that I entered and refused to come out of for years. It kept me safe, and warm, numb to the reality of what I was really facing then and now.
No one told me that I would remember things this intensely. No one told me that 9 years out, I would feel that depression lurking back in April, and peak at the end of May. No one told me I would get mad for no reason during these months, and break down in tears over feeling helpless, or manipulated.
Every year, it’s been the same, and I’ve given up hope that it will change. Now, I embrace these feelings and moments. Ironically, I believe the 17 year old girl within needs to feel these things. She needs to have her moment to finally touch these emotions, instead of worrying about being tough. Together, her and I, we embrace the memories of the past and mourn together. This is the way of things now; I expect that these things will come, and am always pleasantly surprised when I am able to keep myself busy enough not to notice the turning of the seasons.
The turning into the season of my adoption.