WHO IS MY MOTHER?
Birth Mothers: Surrogate Mothers: Relinquishing Mothers: Adoptive Mothers: Who do you think has a legal right to own a child?
The child is a person in its own right. It cannot be owned. It can only be cared for, loved, cultured and socialised. But it will never belong to another person. A child has a consciousness from its ancestral history when it is born, and it is pre-wired to bond with its mother after birth. Birth brings a physical separation, but not a psychic separation. It takes at least another nine months before the child begins to see itself as a separate person. We know that human babies separated from their mothers at birth suffer enormous loss and grief, and this sits in their subconscious mind ready to disorganise their lives at some time in the future. We know that baby animals separated from their mothers at birth are difficult to raise and often die; we can often see signs of a disordered personality in the animal. Psychotherapists who work with human adoptees refer to a ‘primal wound’, or attachment disorders.
I am adopted. I have had many surrogate mothers. But the mother who carried me in her belly for the most significant part of my development is the woman who has influenced my life more than any other. The rest of my development occurred on top of a separation trauma. Other adoptive and surrogate mothers invested a lot of time and energy and money into my life; it could be said, much more than my birth mother. But even a good building on shaky foundations will always shake.
In my mother’s belly I developed my tastes in food, my hearing for her language, friends and her environment, and through the amniotic fluid I was surrounded in the smells she smelt. The first hormone soup I was exposed to was provided by her reactions to her environment. If only the people around her had surrounded her with love and comfort, I might not have been exposed to her stress hormones, and been born an adrenaline junkie. A birth mother is never a surrogate; she is foundational. The rest of the mothers are surrogates, regardless of where the DNA comes from. Ancestral connections matter; genetic connections matter; it is our connection with a distant past that lives in us, but medical research in epigenetics has already shown that genetic coding can be changed by environment. We have no idea of the issues that might be faced by children born through surrogate arrangements with a mixture of genetic material which may or may not be related to the mother growing the embryo.
You cannot rent a womb in the way you can rent a room. You cannot clean up the mess, walk out and close the door and expect your bond to be refunded. The bond in the womb sets up a lifetime relationship in the baby’s rapidly developing brain. Separation at birth breaks a bond that can never be replicated. It is foundational and building a stable life depends on it, in the way a building depends on its own stable foundation.