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Birth Mother's Tribute
(Remember us on May 13th!)
Breaking the Silence ~ by Mary Jean Marsh

On the Eve of Mother's Day The Birth Mothers have gathered together We who lost our children gather to honor one another and to remember the hard path of this journey. To those who raise praises of our unselfishness, and sing the virtues of adoption -- We say "Be still and listen."

We ask you to remember what was done to us in the name of what's Best. We are the mothers for whom there was no welcome from our families and communities. We are the mothers who were expelled from our schools and fired from our jobs. Who were sent away to strangers or distant relatives -- hidden from view in our parent's house, and locked up in "Homes" for the crime of becoming mothers.

We are the mothers who were signed into maternity wards under false names, Who labored alone, who were drugged for our deliveries -- We were not permitted to see or to hold our newborn child because our being was shameful.

We are the mothers who youth or poverty whose fear and shame forced our decision. Who signed papers falsely explained to us or were handed a pen within hours of our child's birth. We are the family that was dismembered to make another family possible. We were told our children were better off with strangers and would not notice our absence. Our childless counselors and the celibate priests, and those married with children said, "Go on with your life." "You will have other children." And turning away they spoke only of the joy of those who received our children as though it was now the only story.

They left us sealed records and searing memories. We lived in silence, and pain so terrible it stole our voices. We lived in silence so insufferable it has cracked of its own weight. Now we find one another, we find our children, we find ourselves. No longer will we be spoken for by those who led us to the wilderness and left us there.

The silence breaks and slowly the world changes. If things are different now for the new mothers who join our number -- It is because of what the older sisters suffered, and the ways it marked and haunted their lives, and the lives of their children.

Losing a child is still a wilderness, and each mother makes the journey alone.

Today we honor this journey in one another. We reclaim our joy in the birth of our children. We honor our love and our connection to them, which ink and paper do not sever. We name ourselves Mothers -- Mothers of sons and daughters Mothers of mothers and fathers. This day we tell our stories without shame. We honor one another and we honor ourselves, saying, "Blessed be the BirthMothers! Blessed Be!"

by Mary Jean Marsh

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