For my circle of Birthmothers.


Sun overhead in my youth,
shadows cast neither east nor west,
accenting neither past nor future.
Potentials not clear; dangers not seen.

Childhood ended in motherhood,
Motherhood corrupted by relinquishment.
All light extinguished except the tiny spark
of a son once seen, given a name no one heard.

Motherhood silenced, hidden behind denial.
Whispered vow to find him in a distant future
But then, I was an invisible mother, hollow inside.
A life on hold, locked in pain.

The lock opened with tales of search,
a child located, birthmothers found.
Tips passed from one searcher to another
Illumination of a path that I had not seen.

I grasped that lamp to search for my son
With no maps, no rules, no protocol.
The search belonged to me, but I was not alone.
Along the way, beacons shone unexpectedly.

Other birthmothers on map-less journeys.
Shedding light on my path as I shed light on theirs.
They understood, they comforted, they knew.
They honor my truth, they honor my journey.

This sisterhood grew from births in shame,
Transformed in love and safety, its power heals.
Together our small lamps become torches.
Reflecting our new-found respect.

We honor our voices, and we allow our silences.
We honor our struggles, we allow our missteps.
We are learning to be as gentle with ourselves
as we are with each other.

The lights found in our circle illuminate past and future
You listened to me and I learned to hear my voice.
You trusted me and I learned to trust myself.
You gave me strength and I learned that I had strength to give.

I trusted you with the vision of my son,
that small glow that kept my spirit alive.
I could not have been more vulnerable.
But you treasured him as I did.

You honored him and never forgot him.
You trusted me with your children.
And they are a part of my world .
Those small embers are now bright fires.

The children were our guides, our source of spirit.
They taught us to acknowledge our needs.
They taught us to realize our strengths.
To seek help from those who understand, to risk, to persevere.

They taught us to handle pain and disappointment
when their lives weren’t ready for us.
They taught us to accept and love who we are
even when they couldn’t.

We talk now about our children, relinquished or not.
But also of other issues with the same voices.
We talk of grandchildren, menopause, of aging parents,
the deaths of parents, the loss of sisters and brothers.

This is a sisterhood that knows the pain in families
and still chooses to become its own family.
The search for son has been a search for self.
Both have been found. There is Light in my life.



The Scar

This was an assignment from a writers’ conference in Santa Fe a few years ago.  The instructor said to write about a scar and would you want to have it removed.

The Scar

     It should be across my chest, just below the collarbones.  An imprint of a wall I’d never seen before – hundreds of yards long, twenty feet tall and forever thick.  Cemented rocks to block my eyes, my ears from my heart … and from this newborn in my arms.  It’s preventing me from feeling love for this grandchild just as it shielded me years ago from feelings when the social worker took the signed papers and my son.  I built this barricade with river rocks of lies and jagged blocks of denial and hid it from sight.

Now that my son is back in my life and I hold his son, the infant sends the feared question through the wall at me, ‘How could you give up a child?’  And I know now.  I know I had to build the barrier.  And that knowledge causes the wall to dissolve leaving just a ragged furrow.

No, I won’t have the scar removed.  It’s too new.  I remember the weight of the wall.  I haven’t yet found the extent of its damage.