I put a short video of Kit nomming on my arm up on Facebook; Ruth commented, saying that Cricket wanted to know why Kit was chewing on my arm. I answered, he asked another couple of questions, I answered, I sent a text with more information, and Ruth texted me a couple of times about Kit’s resemblance to and differences from Cricket. It’s nice that when Ruth or Cricket feels like reaching out, that’s easy to do, and we’re easy to get ahold of. I am trying not to focus on my resentment of the fact that that accessibility only flows one way.

Today is Joey’s evaluation by a speech therapist; I’m somewhat anxious, but glad that it’s finally happening. The idea that Kit or Joey might be behind Cricket in any way makes me incredibly defensive; that is, of course, unfair to all three kids, and I manage to (I think) to keep it behind my eyes and on the blog. The ugly fact of the matter is that Cricket’s moms have more money than we do, and Cricket has had some experiences as a result (such as a great deal of travel) that Joey and Kit haven’t. Ruth has seemed delighted that Kit and Cricket seem to look more alike and be on more similar developmental paths (when either of them is compared with Joey, I mean)—I have tended to find those similarities stressful. Not Kit himself: the kid is a joy, sweet and brave and capable. But Ruth’s being pleased apparently pinged something inside of me.

Other women have written more and more eloquently about the need for birth/first/natural parents to be out about their status—as the years go by, I am more and more closeted, to the point that none of the people in town who aren’t my immediate family know about Cricket. I’m not ambivalent about that decision, but I keep making it, so clearly I would rather not tell anyone that I placed. But when I think about it, either option is lousy. Either I tell, and it’s an endless series of small injuries—I am volunteering painful information and signing myself up for conversations that I don’t want to have, as well as (I’m certain) alienating a number of people—or I don’t tell, and there’s this possible burst of pain and disclosure like a piñata when Cricket is actively a part of my life and I need to pave the way for his meeting the people I know and going to the places I go. I am certain that the need will not arise in this town; odds are good that it won’t be an issue in the Midwest town we’re traveling to, either. I have no birthparent pride; I have birthparent shame and bitterness and regret. I don’t talk about it in my real life, I don’t want to talk about, and I don’t see a need to talk about it, except in some vague raising awareness kind of way that I am frankly not interested in.

But the door is always open to my being outed—Ruth chatted away on my Facebook page about how much Kit looks like Cricket, and most of my Facebook friends, if they saw that, must have wondered who Cricket is and why he looks like my son. I could ask Ruth not to do that; I am not going to. Did I stare at her first comment and think about the moms I’ve been getting to know in town seeing that? I did. And then I answered her and decided to just let whatever happened happen. No one has yet asked me.

5 thoughts on “Discreet

  1. Not to make matters worse… but you also run the risk of Joey or Kit “outing” you at some point by answering that they have another brother, or mentioning Cricket. I can understand both sides of how painful it must be for you – to be out, or to have it come out on it’s own.


  2. I’m excited about the speech eval because we’ve had such great therapists (speech, OT, and now about to be psych) and they’ve been such a help. I hope you get what you and Joey need.

    To the facebook point, I don’t think anyone reads anything into facebook comments. Every time I say anything about the girls’ hair, I get a comment from the mom of one of my grade-school classmates about her biracial granddaughter’s hair. (And as an aside, there are several people I’m sick of hearing from about their biracial grandchildren’s hair. I wonder if that’s a thing?) ANYWAY, I’ve definitely commented on second cousin’s photos that “Oooh, doesn’t he look like Michael when he was little?” and I doubt any of their friends batted an eye about who was this weird person commenting and how did we know this Michael? Facebook is just like that and everyone who uses it knows that, and I’d be much more inclined to be thrilled about the idea that Cricket is asking about his brothers and curious about them and that Ruth is identifying them to him as his brothers, helping him see their similarities and differences! That’s awesome news!

  3. Glad about the evaluation. It helped me (with PT) to remember that earlier was better. It sounds about the “outing” question like you’re figuring it out as you go, which is all that any of us can ever do. xo

  4. Thanks for the link, but I am definitely not the poster child about being “out” as a first mom. In fact I have failed miserably in certain ways, and my “out”ness in other ways is pretty much just my attempt to make up for my failures.

    That being said, I think both of us face this looming future time where boundaries are a little out of control, our openness means at a point in the not too distant future our kids will be driving the boat on this, both with our not parented kids and your parented kids. To in any way silence them sends them a message I personally don’t want to send, but to give them the ability to find their own voice in all this means they can pull us out of the closet at any point. For me M&P definitely know ways I’m comfortable and ways I’m not (we are not friends on facebook and they would never post pictures of me there for instance), and they follow that, but we all are aware that when J gets older it will be out of our hands and I know I will need to be prepared for that. My only truly steadfast rule of whether to divulge or not is that I will never tell J that he can’t talk about me, or needs to be in any way hide who I am for my sake (if he does it because he isn’t comfortable that’s fine with me).

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with only selectively telling people about your first mother status. It is usually an awkward conversation and although the 20th person I told was a hell of a lot easier than the 2nd or 3rd, it still comes with frustrating questions or difficult follow-up and I don’t imagine it will ever get to be an easy thing. Honestly nothing about being a first mother is ever easy. If not divulging to random people makes it easier for you, I say feel no guilt over it. Although having more first mothers “out” I believe makes it easier for people to see beyond stereotypes, I don’t think we all have to divulge solely for that purpose.

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