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BLC “birth announcements” and a reply to antiprincess

Many of the folks who have seen my little Blog here in these few hours after its “birth” have come across via two main links. Both Marley Greiner, author of The Daily Bastardette and Antiprincess, author of I Shame the Matriarchy have kindly (and unexpectedly!) blogged little “birth announcements”;

Here on the Daily Bastardette

and here over on I Shame the Matriarchy.

I felt Antiprincess’ (antiprincess’?) blog deserved a response post, so even though it’s posted over in her comments, I thought I’d repost it here as it reflects much of my thinking and is somewhat of a response to someone well versed in repro related issues, but new to the maze that adoptionland can be. I urge you to read her post in its entirety prior to reading my response below.

And again, thanks to you both.

Baby Love Child’s comment-
Well, for starters, let me first take a moment to thank antiprincess for blogging the existence of my little corner of the Bastard blogosphere, it was unexpected, and very kind. I appreciate the visitors coming across to my little blog as a result of it.

Naturally, I have a lot to say both about antiprincess’ original post and about comments left here as well.

But I’ll begin with antiprincess’ own post. I think it’s actually pretty interesting that you’ve taken the ‘listen and think first’ stance, as the hardest words for most Americans to say seem to be “I don’t know”. In an age when everyone seems to think they know something about everything, to even begin by saying, “I don’t know, but I’m listening” is a rare trait indeed.

Thank you for that. It’s rare that anyone listens directly to those directly affected. It’s all too easy to label us “adopted children” and thus disregard our authentic voices and autonomous decision making, but that’s not what you did. (I’m working on a language post about Bastards and the other terminology used to both describe us and dismiss us, even as we speak. And naturally, as usual, yes, I have a lot to say.)

But going back to your post, without quoting you at length, allow me to provide an alternate ‘root’ to that “voice”. You identify it as a “Myth-of-Patriarchy voice”, but I tend to disagree.

The “Myth-of-Patriarchy voice as Rickie Solinger has pointed out so clearly in her books, particularly “Wake Up Little Suzie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade” varies greatly from where any given pregnant womyn sits.

For some, the “Voices of others” (as I’ll relabel it, among other things, it may just as easily be an attitude conveyed by other womyn in a womyn’s life) may say the pregnancy is ‘wrong/bad’ etc, but for others, the “Voices of others” can be just as strongly insisting they bear to term against their will.

We live in the American hypernatalist culture, wherein birth is often (not always) highly valued, and regarded as “good”, particularly for (many) white womyn. The inverse is of course also societally reinforced, that abortion, is often viewed as “bad” (something I have argued against over and over, this being my opus, if you REALLY feel you must.)

In short whether the “Voice” screams “get rid of it” or “you must bear to term” is not universal, if anything, it varies greatly on one’s social status. It can be dependent upon age, on race, on relationships.

The real trick is to get beyond the internalized “Voices of others” and back to authentic and autonomist voice, of each womyn herself- which I think is exactly where antiprincess ended up.

Now our own authentic voices may also say, “I want to continue this pregnancy regardless of what the “Voices of others” scream at me, OR it may (just as validly) say, in the face of my own poverty, my own situation, my own family, birth for me, would be wrong.

The problem comes in when a womyn’s authentic internal voice comes headlong into an impasse with an external situation- a desperate desire to give birth, but the realization that there are simply no resources for her to draw upon to do so. Thus due to external realities womyn feel forced into outcomes, birth or abortion (as adoption is not a reproductive decision, but a “parenting/custody” decision- when consent is taken into account, it sometimes isn’t) that they felt were in violation of their own internal voices.

This is then complicated by the fact that our own internal voices can also change through time, rewrite our own histories after the fact to line up with outcomes, etc. Desires change from day to day, hour to hour.

Add in the ongoing pressures of cultural expectations, such that womyn are not viewed as fully human if they do not participate in the act of motherhood at some point during their reproductive lifespan, and lots of internal authentic voices get overridden. The consequences of a living a lifetime childfree are seen as mine fields of potential regret.

Couple this mother = ‘normal’ human womyn /vs./ childfree = freak underlying sentiment coupled with the mass infertility many couples are facing and the pressure to get *a* child, *any* child and pressures toward particular outcomes become great.

As for parenthood and punishment, shame and ‘erasing the stigmas’ of ‘unwed motherhood’ through the ‘rite’ of adoption, there’s a book in there somewhere. But yes, many still continue to view motherhood as a punishment for sexual activity, just as they simultaneously embrace adoption and the womyn as parent, never to see their offspring as a ‘flip side of the coin’ punishment. (All dependent upon the usual sets of factors such as race/age/etc.)

Without creating an even longer post, let me just briefly add how much I appreciated antiprincess’ paragraph about how many of us Bastards are indeed adults and that the “Bureaucracy Gods” (love the term!) absolutely hold power and potential threat over our lives.

The mere act of blogging about the current state of adoption could potentially be enough to encourage someone at vital statistics to ‘misplace’ any records pertaining to me in the circular file.

But to paraphrase, well behaved Bastards rarely get their records.

4 Responses to “BLC “birth announcements” and a reply to antiprincess”

  1. antiprincess Says:

    the “Myth of Patriarchy Voice” is I guess, a reference to this post here but that’s not really on point.

    and yeah, I get this: In short whether the “Voice” screams “get rid of it” or “you must bear to term” is not universal, if anything, it varies greatly on one’s social status. It can be dependent upon age, on race, on relationships.

    yeah. don’t think for a minute that I am blind to my White Grownup Married Able-bodied Pregnant Lady Privilege. I think I posted on that recently.

    but why is that Voice even audible anyway? the real radical solution, maybe, is to create conditions wherein that Voice is reduced to a memory of a whisper.

    I am learning a lot from your work here. I appreciate it tremendously.

  2. Baby Love Child Says:

    Ah, thanks for the link, always good to know how others are using language (as I mentioned, that’s going to be one of the first orders of business around here… eventually.)

    I saw your earlier posts about your own recognition of where privilege does (and doesn’t) intersect with your own life. Again, another rare thing for an American to even begin to contemplate.

    Just to be clear, I was absolutely not trying to throw your own access to (some forms of) privilege back in your face. I was only pointing out how the many forms of lack of access can affect the internalized voices different womyn hear, particularly at different points in their own lives.

    So why are the two sets of Voices- the Voices of Others and personal Authentic Voice even audible?

    I don’t have the quotations at my fingertips, but let me try to summarize a particular example;

    At the conference we were just at, in the session titled “Adoptee Access to Records, History and Searches: Adopted People and the “Right to Know””, Fred Greenman (Click on the link, look at his bio) spoke of how, as he faced surrendering his parental rights as part of his daughter’s adoption process it was a positively “infantalizing” experience. How there he was, a lawyer, well educated, etc and yet the entire experience ‘reduced’ him to little more than a state of feeling helplessness.

    The internalized societal voices are huge. And self doubt and loss of control can be paralyzing in relation to these custody and child rearing decisions. Again, this is but one of MANY possible examples.

    I agree with you, the Radical (to the root) solution would be to build a society in which authentic voices of the individuals involved were the only consideration, that structures would be built so as to take resource allocation out of the decision making equation. And yes, these desires, to see finances etc taken out of the process were given voice.

    Unfortunately, things are rarely so simple as ‘well that’s the way it SHOULD be!’ as we are both well aware.

    Speaking as a Radical Feminist, myself, this is one of the many places I feel we unfortunately were prevented from getting to- deep resource provision for either reproductive decision, abortion or birth. Nor were we fully able to push either fully into the realm of autonomous, womyn-centered decision making. But again, that’s another massive post in the making.

    Most of all, though, I deeply appreciate your last sentence, it’s very unusual for a writer to see such, doubly so at this VERY early on in the writing. Thank you.

  3. antiprincess Says:

    Unfortunately, things are rarely so simple as ‘well that’s the way it SHOULD be!’ as we are both well aware.

    and what do we do with the reality on the ground until the revolution comes?

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    Arguably, this little teeny tiny little blogette is a micro slight start. Getting people who are completely unaware to even begin to realize these issues exist is a “baby-step” in the right direction.

    But a more concrete, if incredibly difficult step? While I usually despise “someone should” statements, I also understand the importance of avoiding burnout so as to be doing this work for another ten years, so, in the spirit of ‘delegating’ the work, since no one person can do it all, yeah, it’d be really GREAT if there were *feminist* and *explicitly individual respecting*/*autonomist* supportive support networks that potential parents could turn to, in addition to more work towards making abortion (more) accessible.

    SOMEONE SHOULD go make that their life’s work. Both ends of that. (Much more of their life’s work than I can, anyway.)

    So reality? Yeah, start with the (not so) simple things, like transportation, finances, health care access, childcare, etc. All of these facets apply to BOTH abortion access and work with potential parents/ eventual parents.

    There have been a lot of piecemeal efforts, and projects crop up and then go under again. The real problem is most of these problems are not something a small group of individuals are going to be able to make a huge dent in. A lot of this takes societal will and resource allocation, and as things stand now, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    We’ve already seen that domestically, as birth control (that would be filed under ‘health care access) became increasingly available, domestic adoption fell off. With the rising costs of birth control and new forms of inaccessibility (such as the pharmacists’ ability to refuse to dispense) expect the situation to enter a new stage.

    Anyone who really wants some serious ‘what to dos’, I got a million of ’em.

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