Last night Walter read my blog posting from yesterday and we landed up having an extended discussion about how best to handle these types of potentially damaging statements going forward. Ava is at the age now where she really does understand most of what is being said around her. So we really do need to give this some serious thought.
Marcia sent me a rather thought provoking email in response to yesterday’s posting, here is a piece of it:
I totally agree – that’s why your response in front of Ava is what is going to count in terms of how she takes it. Don’t let them catch you unaware, that’s when she’s going to sense that something upsetting is going on. If you have a few standard, calm responses ready, it’s going to bounce off her like you’re talking about the weather. Children pick up on emotions far quicker than they pick up on the words being said! And when she’s sees you dealing with it in a calm, matter of fact way, that’s how she’ll deal with it when she’s faced with questions later on in life when you aren’t with her.
I couldn’t agree more with what Marcia said above. The problem is that I hadn’t even thought ahead to the day when Ava would be able to understand what is being said in front of her. Or perhaps I thought that people would be a little more cautious about what they said in front of her as she matured and grew up. But it would seem I may have been a little short sighted in that regard.
The incident on Monday left me so dumb founded and so caught off guard that I couldn’t respond appropriately and I’ve been berating myself since then. I feel that I didn’t just fail Ava but I failed our BBM too. I let somebody go, unchecked, thinking that Ava’s BBM was some kind of uncaring monster who, without a second thought, handed her baby over to a stranger and skipped off, carefree, into the sunset and that simply is the furthest thing from the truth.
I know that she agonized over this decision for months. I know that she worked hand in hand with our SW’s for months leading up to Ava’s placement, to exhaust every possible avenue, to be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt that giving Ava up was in her (Ava’s) best interests. I know for a fact, that as part of the counseling process with our SW’s, they help the BBM’s ensure that there is no way humanly possible that they can keep their baby’s. If part of the reason for the placement is financial, they will go with the BBM’s on a “shopping” expedition. Where they will price every item a baby could need in a month, then they work together to formulate a budget for the BBM’s to see if there is now way possible for her to keep her unborn child, of course, this only applies when the reason’s are financial. I know that our BBM was extensively counseled, both in the months leading up to Ava’s placement and in the months following her birth. I know that our BBM agonized over who to place her with. I know that she was afraid of meeting us for fear that we would reject her and her unborn child. I know that she laid her soul bare and laid all her cards on the table, ensuring that our SW’s had made us aware of every detail that had led up to Ava’s placement. She did this in the interest of her child. Not for herself and not for Walter and I. She did this out of a deep lover for her unborn baby.
So to say that I feel I have failed her by allowing even one ignoramus to think that she was some uncaring monster to “gave her child away” is an understatement. I am wracked by guilt because of this.
And I’m wracked by guilt for my child as well. That anyone would think to devalue her in this way is simply unacceptable for me. She’s so perfect. So beautiful. So special. So innocent in all of this.
And for that reason, Walter and I have started talking seriously about how we will handle these situations going forward. I never want to be caught off guard like that ever again.