6.15.2012

# 38: HELLO DEREALIZATION, MY OLD FRIEND...


PAGE # 38
Friday
12/16/11
Approximately 10:50 am


The eye-color inquisition ended abruptly.  A nurse entered the room and everyone quieted.  We scattered out of the way.
"It's okay," the nurse said.  "You guys can stay in here."
I was near the window--the longest distance from the door.  Anna had moved back from Kendra's bedside, so she was still face-to-face with her daughter, just with greater space between them.  Tom was next to me, seated on a chair, holding the baby.  I'm not sure if Mike left the room immediately or shortly after Kendra started crying.  I don't remember if Johnny, the husband, was even in the room before the nurse appeared; certainly, I have no memory of his presence when Kendra began to sob.    


The nurse did something to Kendra that involved a needle--I can't recall if she took a blood sample or fussed with an IV.  She must have been removing the IV from the labor and delivery.  Kendra whimpered at first, and if she was not about to become a "birth mother," the nurse might have been thinking, what histrionics!  I assumed the nurse knew of the adoption plan, but maybe not, because she offered no comfort to Kendra as tears gave way to guttural sobs.   


Kendra's mom did not react.  Where was Kendra's dad and husband?


The nurse left quietly.  She hadn't said anything at all.


Kendra wailed and I wanted to cry too.  It was horrible.  And confusing.  I could feel my severe case of moral indignation emerge.  Why did Kendra's mom just sit there?  Was her mom thinking:  better to let her just cry it out than pretend there could be comfort?  Maybe it was selfish to approach Kendra now--an attempt to manage my own discomfort?  Was it better to give Kendra the space to grieve?


I would have exchanged all my aforementioned superpowers for total omniscience.


It didn't matter.  I could not just stand there.  I approached Kendra and asked if I could sit next to her.  She nodded and I sat on her bed.  Did I hold her hand?  Did I actually touch her?  I cannot remember if I was that bold.


I felt powerless.  I wanted to tell Kendra:
"You don't have to do this.  We can help you find a better way."
But I said no such thing.  I heeded the social worker's warning:  that this was Kendra's decision and I needed to respect her.  I worried that challenging Kendra's adoption plan might equal a criticism of her.  I did not want to be disrespectful.  I did not want to cause her additional pain.  I could not understand any of it, but I was also convinced of my own arrogance:  I asked no questions because I thought I was failing to put myself in Kendra's shoes.  If I poked doubt at her "choice," if I suggested an alternative--wouldn't I be suffocating her chances of self-actualization?  Wouldn't I be judging her at the worst and most difficult moment of her life?


Did Kendra's mother really ignore her cries?  Am I remembering it all incorrectly?  Is it possible that Kendra's mother consoled her sobbing daughter and I failed to notice?


Where did everybody go?  I feel like Kendra and I were alone together on that hospital bed.  She cried and I witnessed her pain.  But everyone else--Tom, the baby, Kendra's parents, her husband--they must have been there too.  Or at least close by.  


I just can't see them there.


I only see Kendra crying.  I hear her pain within the sound of silence.


And I wanted to cry too, 
because I felt deep sadness, 
and I didn't understand why this was happening at all, 
and I wanted to help Kendra,
and the social worker had told me I needed to be strong for Kendra, 
but I didn't feel strong at all,
and everything seemed unreal,
like I was watching things from inside a dream.
And sometimes, even now,
it feels like I am making Baby Lily up,
as if she's my invention,
and no one wants to tell me the truth:
that I am completely insane.


Was Baby Lily ever really here?  


Yes.


I have her footprints.  I have pictures.  I have her hospital ID bracelet.


Where's Baby Lily, Mommy?


I don't know.
***



For more information on derealization, click here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derealization

2 comments:

Kellie said...

Jennifer,
I'm curious about the fact that the social worker told you not to say anything about telling Kendra that she could keep the baby. I understand about respecting her decision, but I don't understand not giving her encouragement. Is this a "no-no" or something?
I know I've went out of my way to tell people to really research and consider what they were doing to themselves and their child if I know someone planning to relinquish. No one felt the need to do it for my daughter or us, and the pregnancy resource center had no ethical issues with telling her she wasn't good enough for her child. I don't understand the social workers reasoning.

Jennifer said...

Kellie--

Honestly, I struggle with understanding the SW's behavior as well. I think because I also have a social work background (although not in adoption), I blindly trusted her opinion for the most part.
I am not sure whether she is truly unethical like the attorney, or just a product of working in an already flawed and biased system.
I hope to think the latter.
Now--after having gone through this experience--I doubt I would feel intimidated to really push a woman to think through her adoption plan, etc. BUT...that is irrelevant bc I would not choose to pursue adoption again. I thought we would be doing something good--giving a needy child a home, etc. etc.--and the reality of the situation certainly did not match up with the adoption fantasy I had.
I'm not saying that all adoptions are bad--but I doubt many of them are ethical.
I am sorry for your situation.
We all learn too late. It's part of the human condition I suppose.
Thanks for reading.
Best,
Jennifer