In Reponse… An Open Letter

Dear …

I have long harbored the secret hope that once you had transitioned to motherhood and experienced the first few very difficult week’s of motherhood, that you would soften the stance towards me that you chose to take and that perhaps, with time, in some way, we could rekindle the very special friendship we once shared. You were my very best BFF, I love/d you deeply and have missed you terribly in the past year. I see now that I was wrong.

Instead of softening your stance, I see you are still choosing to judge my handling of our fairly unique situation, one which, despite now being a mother, you still know nothing about.

Yes, I agree with you, nothing can ever prepare you for motherhood. That the transition, for anyone, regardless of how their baby comes to them, is a difficult one. What you have neglected to remember is my circumstance is very different for yours. And it is a circumstance which only those of us on the chosen path to adoption can know or understand. It was not your reality to even try and understand it. How could you? It’s beyond the realm of your reality, of your situation.

While early motherhood is the shock to anyone’s system, regardless of how they got there, most women, their partners, their families and their friends have 9 months to get used to the idea. Most couples have 9 months to fantasize and think about how it will be. Most couples have 9 months to pick names, plan, prepare and dream about what lies ahead. I had 6 days. I certainly acknowledge that the 9 months is not always easy or that I had it harder than some, I do know that what I experienced was very different. Period.

After your son was born, you were free to love him and bond with him and share him with the world. I did not have that luxury. My reality was very different to yours, my reality is a reality that you, quite clearly, cannot understand. I lived for 60 days with the overwhelming fear that at any time, my baby, who I loved instantly and deeply, could be taken from me. One phone call was all it would take for my world to come crashing down around me. I lived with the reality of losing my precious child in the first 60 days of her life. I lived with the reality of how should I, God forbid, receive that fateful phone call, I would rent a removal truck, pack up all her precious belongings to send with her, should we be forced to return her to her BBM. I lived with the reality of my planned suicide should that happen. I knew I could not lose her, I knew I loved her too much for that to happen, I knew that should that happen I’d have two choices:

  1. End my life
  2. Land up in a padded cell wrapped in a straight jacked

You did not have to contemplate those things so your experience of early motherhood was/is very different to mine.

I lived on tenterhooks after our 60 days ended, waiting for our adoption to be approved by the department of social services and for it to be declared in the high courts. Your reality is that from the time your child was born, he was yours and you were free to love him and bond with him from the instant her took his first breath.

My reality was very different to yours, whether you’d like to admit that or not. It saddens me that you even try to compare them. You need to compare apples with apples, not apples with oranges, which is exactly how extremely different our journey’s to motherhood were/are.

You speak of how you had to stop giving to others in order to take care of yourself first. It saddens me that you allow yourself that liberty but could not allow me the same. That you could not see that that was exactly what I was trying to do for myself and my new family, in the first few months after Ava’s birth.

The simple fact of the matter is that, it is not a requirement for you to understand where I was coming from. It was a requirement of you, as my friend, to give me the space to do what I needed to do to get through the difficult transition.

We are all different, we all cope with situations differently. There was a lot of other “stuff” going on that also lead to the demise of our friendship. “Stuff” I tried to show you was hurting me, I tried in numerous different ways to show you, but you had your own stuff to deal with. I wanted to let it all go, to pack our friendship away, in a little box, to be revisited one day, when the time was right. I had said to you at the time, that there were plenty of area’s where we both fell short, because of poor timing and our differing circumstances at the time, both of us dealing with difficult situations.

This is the very last time that I will be discussing this topic. I have moved on, it is water under the bridge, granted, very painful water, but water under the bridge, none the less and it’s time to move forward.

All the very best to you and your family.

Edited to add: *waves* to all the OPM ladies clicking through from the posting about FC Girls… I’m flattered you’re still so obsessed with me!

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  • Reply Jenny

    Popping in to lend you support. Sometimes people disappoint us immeasurably but it’s their lesson they are learning, innocent bystanders like you are just the catalyst. Never judge is my motto these days. Never. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not know if your baby will be your baby for all that time.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm
  • Reply Terri

    Wow…. a very hard letter to write Sharon. But I applaud you for doing it. A broken friendship is devastating, (have been thro a similar thing ) and we grieve for what is lost…. but Im sure the letter will be a good closure for you….. friendships like that you dont want anyway !! ((((hugs)))) to you and your precious little family xxx

    August 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    Our children will arrive in our lives in very different and special ways. Each person will deal with it in their own individual way. Noone has the right to judge unless you have been in the exact same situation. And there is a huge difference between becoming a mother through pregnancy vs adoption. And there are certainly extra pressures when it comes to adoption. But that is just in my opinion. I’ll have a better idea when I experience it myself.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Angela

    There’s a saying or a poem that goes along the lines of friends coming into your life for a reason,
    a season or a lifetime. That’s how I look at things like this. Good for you closing that chapter and
    moving forward.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    Love the edit *waves*

    August 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm
  • Reply St. Elsewhere

    Just don’t know what to say.

    I know both of you online, and I wish things were different.

    Even though your paths have taken a different direction, I bid both of you well. Just a lot of love and light to both the families.

    August 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Sue Stuart

    I’m so sorry that this friendship had to end. IF continues to be a b*tch long after we’re out of the trenches.

    August 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm
  • Reply jonivdw

    Well said Shaz!!! In my response to her blog I explained to her that no person’s experience can be the same, it’s impossible we are all unique with very unique situations and circumstances. I coped but it took me a couple of weeks to reach a stage where I felt I could cope my sister wasn’t able to cope from day 1 after the birth of my niece due to her traumatic birthing experience! We are all different! My reality is very different from Jaco’s reality of the first few weeks!

    Motherhood is sooo differently experienced and I think we need to respect that it’s not the same for everyone! Not everyone is able to cope, not everyone has a resilient baby, not everyone is in the right space, not everyone has 9 months to prepare themselves physically or mentally,not everyone has the best support system…. there are just too many variables for us to compare our experiences or hold it against someone cause they didn’t cope like we would’ve expected them to!

    I think all we can do is be sympathetic and rather be supportive of someone experiencing it harder than we did and if we can’t be sympathetic to extract ourselves carefully and move on!!!

    I’m sorry you lost your friendship but maybe it’s for the best! Motherhood is not a competition as some seem to see it!! You need to do what’s good for you and Ava!

    August 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply Beth

    Sharon, you’re a brave, strong woman, I admire you very much. We all have our crosses to bear, and no-one should judge another. Sorry you’re going through this.

    August 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Marcia (123 blog)

    of course now I’m dying to know what happened!

    I’m terrible!

    This was probably very difficult to write but also very necessary.

    PS it was good to see you and Ava on Saturday

    August 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm
  • Reply Gwen

    When two friends both feel that they deserve an apology, there are only two ways out. The first is that the friendship ends. Sometimes for the best. The other is that each unconditionally forgives the other, without having received that apology and without necessarily being able to understand the other’s point of view. Understanding might come later, but forgiveness has to come first. Not everyone is worth doing this for – if they are prepared to do the same for you, then perhaps they are worth it.

    I also just want to mention that not every mother who gives birth to her own child can necessarily be assured that it won’t be taken from her, either before or after the birth.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Gwen, I do agree, not every mother giving birth can be assured her child won’t be taken from her, but the person in question here, has not had to contemplate the loss of her child so she really does not have leg to stand on when judging how I handled my situation. Our situations are on the opposite end of the spectrum and should not be compared in any way.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:55 am
  • Reply MommyInWaiting

    Sharon, We all have very different experiences of motherhood and I have yet to experience it. But I think freindship is friendship and we do the best we can under all circumstances to be there for the friends that really matter. In our dark hour and theirs. I too lost a friend who’s transition to motherhood I never understood (an possibly never will). Being left at the sidelines given zero support in my darkest hour when as I saw it (and this was just my perspective) she had received her blessing and was living the dream we all dreamt about. I will never understand.

    I have to agree whole heartedly with Gwen either you forgive each other and move forward or you say goodbye. With my friendship I chose to forgive and put the ball in her court, and I will never understand how she never took the step and we could never repair the damage.

    August 30, 2011 at 7:07 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Juanita, always remember, you don’t know what is going on behind closed doors, so while it may seem that someone else is “living the dream” you don’t really know all the in’s and out’s of their situation and should not try to understand it, accepting that if they are a true friend, they’re doing the very best they can with what they have at the time and allowing them the space to do what they need to do will make you a very treasured friend.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:57 am
  • Reply Elize

    Sharon, I know firsthand that you’ve never said a negative word towards S and that you have loved her and missed her this last year. I was surprised how mean spirited she was towards you. I can only assume that you loved her more than she loved you, and surely you’re better off without her. You have always tried very hard to be there for everyone (including me) while you were in your 60 days waiting period. You are strong and brave and most of all, you have integrity and love which few people seem to really have. Love you!

    August 30, 2011 at 7:20 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks my friend. I think the important issue here is what the expectation of support was. I couldn’t, with a tiny baby be “coming over with a bottle of wine” but phone calls happened and, although some may have short memories, when I was asked by one involved, to meet for breakfast to give tips and advise on adoption, I was there, I was there each time someone reached out to me, the issue for me is that I was literally shut out from the time Ava arrived. Of course it seemed I wasn’t supportive but that was mostly because I was no longer included in anything. I guess the key here is that the expectation of the type of support I could offer had to change when I became a mother to a tiny new born baby.

      August 30, 2011 at 9:15 am
  • Reply Bratty

    Dear Sharon…I was very saddened by this post. I am not a IRL friends with either of you…but I do know that your friendship was strong. It saddens me because what was meant to be the biggest blessing in your life also caused the breakup of a friendship. Sad as it may be, sometimes we have to acknowledge that some people come into our lifes for a period….once the “mission” is accomplished, it is time to move on. Your email was very touching and honest..I admire that. Wishing you all the best on your path of healing

    August 30, 2011 at 7:51 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Friendship should not be about hard work and expectations too soon. I have been hurt by friendships at school and shortly thereafter, which made me cautious going forward. Yes, I have lost friendships along the way which broke my heart and left me with sleepless nights. But I had my own stresses to deal with and personally felt that the pressure from a friend was not wanted at the time when I was battling myself. I am sad to have lost touch, but it is what it is now. Letting it go, without having said what I really would have liked to have said has been the hardest part.

    I have always joked that men surely do this friendship/support thing better than we do! They don’t see each other for days / weeks / years and are able to pick it up from where they left off. Don’t feel rejected or left out or hurt by the fact that there was not contact. And if they offend each other, it is resolved within minutes over a beer or even a tequila! 🙂 How easy that must be for them. Girls on the other hand, we tend to pick things apart (in my case, for months!!) and over analyse and make assumptions… This is the only (ONLY!) time I wish we had it as easy as boys do!!

    I found this quote yesterday: “Love me or hate me, both are in my favor.. If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart.. If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind” (Shakespeare).

    August 30, 2011 at 9:33 am
  • Reply Nisey

    I’m sorry that it turns out to be the two of you who are at odds with each other. I read yesterdays post feeling sad for both parties because obviously they have lost something special and a lot of history.

    Worse still that it is you two.

    I respect both of you immensely and it is very sad that a common ground can’t be found.

    The only absolute truth I’ve learnt whist parenting is that there is no right or wrong way to do anything and that we all do the best we can with the information we have at that moment. I hope that you are both able to find peace and love in your new lives.

    Much love to you both.

    August 30, 2011 at 10:42 am
  • Reply Mash

    I wasn’t going to comment on either post, but decided now to put the same comment on both posts… In our Landmark Advanced course, the leader told us something fascinating. He has done the forum in prisons, with huge groups of prisoners. And do you know, that not one single person he ever worked with in the prison system believes that they deserve to be there? Including a guy who was driving with a friend, disagreed with him, put a gun to his head and shot him. He feels that he was right, and therefore ended up in prison because of a misunderstanding, and not for a murder. And that’s how it is with all human beings, all of the time, without exception. We feel that our decision/thought process/concepts about a situation are the right ones, and other people are mistaken. And so it is that friendships/marriages/communities/fair democracies end. Because nobody is prepared to drop their stance and accept that we as friends/partners/a nation have created the situation we are in! You are both special to me and I won’t take sides. There’s a breakthrough for you both to be had… and the possibility of taking the friendship to a whole new level.

    August 30, 2011 at 11:51 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks for your comments Mash. I think I need to clarify, this is not a question of who is right or wrong, just different expectations. I’ve always said that my transition to motherhood was as hard for me as it was for my family & friends as neither of us had time to adjust to my new normal. What I had hoped was that at some point we could let bygones be bygones and move forward. I’m guessing from the judgy way the post in question was written that that won’t be happening and that deeply saddens me.

      And while I hear what you are saying re. The Landmark Forum, I think its important to note that some people do have the humility and self awareness to acknowledge when they may have been a little harsh and apologize for that.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:57 am
  • Reply Julia

    I felt incredibly sad reading this post. So sorry that you have lost your dear friend. *hugs*

    September 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm
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