I don't want to remember, yet I do; I'd rather be asleep --as if I've eaten something incompatible with my system. Something I can't digest --though I've had many years to get used to it.
I'm recalling --though I don't want to-- THE DAY when my deceased ex-father-in-law said I wasn't a "real mother" because I'd adopted my children, one of whom was his niece --didn't matter to him (he also didn't come to my wedding, for which I made all dresses in the wedding party except my wedding gown) .... Clearly the way he defined "what constituted "real" differed extremely from ways in which I defined "real" / "realities".... So what was the equivalent of a "real" mother?
Evidently, a child had to grow in your own womb --not sure how he felt about implanted embryos or surrogates when a womb was insubstantial or unavailable, still producing viable eggs despite a hysterectomy, for instance. And I was "real" enough, standing right in front of him on his porch, beside his son --to whom I was married --and even then we knew, although my then-spouse remained silent; we knew that it wasn't "my" fault --not that childlessness must endure "blame" --how embarrassing for my spouse at the time, to have to admit that"HE" WAS THE REASON FOR THE CHILDLESSNESS of the marriage! --yet every doctor visited always ASSUMED THAT I WAS THE REASON! --but I wasn't, having been raped when I was fifteen, and getting pregnant from that rape (I knew I could get pregnant) --didn't have that baby --just as I shouldn't have, despite those children of rape who managed to grow up without (visible) scars of their conception (and I shouldn't have had that baby.... I was much too young, and would have changed my life significantly, I imagine --can't say for sure since I didn't take that route of being a teenager (would have been 16 when that child would have been born; was craving popcorn when my pregnancy could no longer be hidden at home... never talked about this! --never said a word! --completely altered my behavior at school... I started sitting in the backs of classrooms, and said nothing! --absolutely nothing! --was pushed through corridors by movements of crowds; grades plummeted --didn't matter to me how I performed! --I recalled how I'd done nothing to try to stop this older man, deacon at my mother's church, from violating me! --he was 25, I was 15!
But there I was, standing beside the man (age 23) who met me when I was still 16, right after a third-trimester abortion in New York State, where it was legal in 1970... Of course, he's stated that he did nothing wrong, nothing for which he had no permission; I consented to everything, one way or another... developed a dependence on him, similar, perhaps, to those who begin to "love" their jailers, their captors.... Anyway, I was in another situation over which I had no control.... Even married him....
After a few years of marriage my ex-spouse was certainly aware that he was the one unable to procreate, despite what doctors seemed to think, as I was consistently the one "blamed" for the childless marriage --so we adopted children and became a family instead of a couple, first his niece (when she was seven, because her mother, [as did her mother's identical twin sister [[reminds me a bit --though an entirely different case-- of the Gibbons sisters of "Silent Twins"]] my ex-spouse's sister (as did her identical twin), lost custody of her five children for neglect), then in an attempt to appease me, a son, first baby I ever held and was allowed to bring home as my own!.... We had those two children with us when my ex-father-in-law told me that I wasn't a "real" mother..... And my ex-spouse could have said something then, but didn't to his father --who also didn't come to the wedding.... Allowed me to be the one responsible.... But by then, we knew! --after visits to so many fertility clinics --he was told that he'd unlikely (not "impossible" as he continued to mention) father a biological child... We tried in vitro fertilization three times ($10,000.00 each attempt, to no avail; just a lot of injections I had to take to ripen eggs sooner, and in a quantity large enough for harvesting. No success. I, of course, was getting older, and by then we lived in Massachusetts.... But not, according to my ex-spouse, "too old" --I could have waited; "all it took was one sperm!" he insisted, and he had at least one as I grew older and older by the minute.... But his few million sperm needed to be healthy, motile and not misshapen, needed to be active and able to penetrate the egg... They couldn't. Not even in a Pertri dish where the sperm didn't have to swim very far to get to the egg....
But how could he know this until a partner failed to conceive, failed become pregnant?
I hesitate to mention it, but that adoption of the niece was disastrous; she was seven when we adopted her --to keep her in the family; --we were asked if we would take a child, and I said the youngest, knowing the role of age of the child in which interventions are attempted; I thought that we might have a chance with only the youngest; she was seven, beyond the age when influence in our Massachusetts home, wealthy pocket some 23 miles north of Boston could exert significant changes in her and her life, after she accompanied me in my second year of graduate study to Durham New Hampshire, right after she came to live with us, and when she was eight, stole money from the teacher's purse. January.
It was winter, and NEW HAMPSHIRE SNOW fell prodigiously. Here and there were animal tracks like forks, and hoarfrost patterns on windows that my cheeks tried to pilfer, pressed against these panes. Loved the spray when wind stirred up the powdery snow, twirled it and released it so that it fell again rather lacy. I couldn't wait to make bootprints. NEW HAMPSHIRE SNOW.
Durham was a wonderful small town, and our niece (so that she'd remain in the family when her mother --whose identical twin also lost custody of her children, for similar reasons of neglect-- lost custody and the children were removed from the home) was there stealing money. I read to her daily, and she performed okay in the Oyster River Schools (other than stealing the money)... What a change this way of life was for her; I'll have to ask her how it felt to live in New Hampshire.... What did she think of the mountains? of Franconia Notch, and the Old Man of the Mountain? Did this environment have the effect on her life that I'd hoped it would? What was it like for her to live on a college campus? --to eat in the dining hall? --to watch me study and also teach? (I was a TA). She moved with us, of course to Andover Massachusetts where I worked at Phillips Academy right after grad school --that's when problems really escalated.... she discovered boys --started staying out all night with them --but couldn't take advantage of the tuition reduction! --we would only have had to pay 10% of tuition [10% of about $20,000.00] had she been able scholastically, intellectually, and emotionally to attend PA --however, having missed those first eight (including nine month of pregnancy, so roughly another year), meant that any influence of these new --and wealthy!-- in the space of PA environments didn't change her enough to allow her to take advantage of all that the northern Massachusetts setting had to offer....
She was twelve when she started running away.... and twelve when police brought her back. She began running away every weekend, and I resorted to locking the door to her room to try to keep her there, but that proved ineffective as she climbed out the window in order to run away! --initially from Andover, Massachusetts to Lawrence, Massachusetts; this occurred for years! --until she was 17, when she ran away for the last time, back to the state in which she'd lived before the attempted rescue via adoption! --I grew weary of all this running away! --quite a paper trail evolved! --a each time the police became involved, a record was kept! --I'd never been involved with the police! --they became like members of the family! --when she ran away for what was the last time, she told authorities in that mid-western state that we'd put her out, but this wasn't true, of course (she was also a pathological liar, and had been for years); by then; had to hire a lawyer in the state to which she ran, but we had extensive documentation, from the police, and this lawyer said that he's never seen documentation as extensive as what I had, so when he presented this evidence in court, the judge was impressed, and rescinded the adoption! I couldn't travel because I was pregnant --after my ex-spouse announced that if he couldn't have children, then neither could I! --I was almost thirty-seven and nearing an age when it wouldn't be optimal for my body to try to sustain a pregnancy; fertility would decline, and I also knew that I could get pregnant, so for a full year before executing my plan I prepared my body for a new life! --I was ready, no longer a teenager, and quite accomplished, having published several volumes of poetry and having won several awards, which PA didn't require, but the private high school had only minors attending, including the son of Dick Gregory (Yohance Gregory), Patrick Kennedy, younger half-brother of Sade --Soji Adu, and a Kuwaiti Princess (Sharifa Al-Homaizi) whose parents sent her to PA to escape the war in Kuwait, and the age of these minors, meant that they required 24/7 care, and the "best" housing --all provided by PA was in dormitories, so taking a dorm was advised! --if you wanted prime housing, huge houses --head "master" resided in a while mansion in the center of campus --and we slaves resided in lesser accommodations
--while I was at PA, my final year there, I had six job offers to six different universities, including the University of New Hampshire where I'd been a graduate student... This seemed extraordinary to me! One job offer came from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, an offer I accepted, after the contract was re-written to give my then spouse a job, as I refused to come unless he was also employed, so a job was "created" for him! --I spoke up, although he didn't as we stood on that porch....
I had to delay my start at the University of Michigan because I was pregnant, and there was no problem with the delay... As I said earlier, I became concerned when my then-spouse announced that if he couldn't have children, then neither could I! As I lived only about 23 miles north of Boston/Cambridge, and as I'd prepared my body for a pregnancy, I realized I was in an ideal location for a sperm donor. To appease me, my then spouse agreed that adopting another child, a baby would be fine, and made us equal, as neither one of us would be related to that infant; so that's what happened.... We adopted a baby, a healthy baby from Massachusetts, the other child that my ex-spouse's father referred to when he announced that I wasn't a "real" mother...
But I was as real as anyone!
But I did want to pass on some of the genetic bounty I'd received, in classes for the for the gifted since first grade, the enrichment program, initially, then major work for the "super-gifted" (4th grade - 12th grade; for which I had to be sent for testing by staff psychologists), --the only way to pass along these intellectual gifts was to have a biological child! --and my father was a mixed race man, mostly Cherokee (as I've been told) --I wanted to pass on that heritage also! he died in 1980, the year before I graduated first in my class and Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin! --graduated with a 4.11 GPA, lowest grade was in an English class, an "A-", so I took English to be my relative weakness; only class in which I didn't attain a ceiling; in every other class, I met expectations, so I focused in English in graduate school.... and filled the space that the "-" created with "limited fork theory"! --how I made "senses" of existences! and (ultimately) movie poams --including: Particle Popping and Digging on the Muon Blues
And I was getting older; I didn't have much time left! --I was 36, and my eggs were getting older by the minute, and I didn't want to risk having a child that suffered because of advanced maternal age... I had to act quickly, despite the edit from my ex-spouse that: "IF I CAN'T HAVE A CHILD, THEN NEITHER CAN YOU!" --I had to act or pregnancy never would have happened; would have been an extinction (there will be anyway; humans won't always be around --and the world keeps changing, pollution and so forth --human aggression, and perhaps another mass extinction via comet?--unless we destroy ourselves)
Egg quality matters!
But first, I had to be raped, and I had to have a third-trimester abortion, and I had to get married, and I had to adopt children, and I had to become pregnant by choice, going to a fertility clinic in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after being told that if my then-spouse couldn't have children, then neither could I, but I also had a need to pass on some of what I considered genetic bounty, and my father (source) was already dead! --I could only pass on some of what I'd received if I had a baby myself! --and I was ready! -- my body was optimized for pregnancy! --and most sperm donors are college students, and being near --23 miles!-- Harvard Square put me right by Harvard university and MIT! (most sperm donors are college students, so my location was ideal! --for this indiscretion, tht cgave me what I almost didn't get to have)--how ideal! --I left the clinic in Cambridge pregnant! --one visit! --I was told that a "good" sample made an enormous difference! --I was there only about a half hour; in my mind, I think that conception happened as I drove home and began a routine of talking to my baby, singing to my baby, reading everything, in multiple languages to my baby! --English, Spanish, and French! --eating mostly fish and uncooked vegetables from Bread and Circus! --playing a variety of music for my baby!
--how different this was from when I was fifteen!
Everything was fine! --pregnancy was going smoothly! --I loved every minute!
Then I started having premterm labor! (for which I was given Brethine, form of Terbutaline --so successful that my baby was born two weeks late; two nights before his birth, I ate at Legal Seafoods, Arctic char, and plenty of vegetables, large salad --undressed--so was put on complete bed rest, and a bill form the fertility clinic came to our Andover, Massachusetts home, a bill they my then spouse brought in and discovered that he wasn't the biological father of my unborn child.... All he said to me was: "Didn't I consider AIDS?" --I had more chance of contracting AIDS from him (just a bit of a philanderer) than I had from the fertility clinic, as donors are very well screened! --certified free of disease and genetic disorder! --well-scrutinized! --so my ex-spouse always knew that he wasn't the biological father, and I had the baby I wanted to have....
A tasty meal indeed!
Of course I was in love (eventually; fluctuated between love of my captor and, guess I really don't know what "true love" is like.
Maybe I'll find out now; first time that I'll really choose a man instead of a man choosing himself for me....
--I'd never been with a man --other than the rapist. Everything was new to me, especially touching. I did like that,
liked to touch my then husband and to be touched back... Took me a long time, to reach that point, but I did reach it. My ex-spouse was quite popular
when he was in the military and had at least 50 girlfriends. When I was 17, I rode up all their pictures (I wouldn't d that now
--it's just that he seemed so proud of them, but since he had me, I reasoned that he didn't need them, a childish thing to do --he was even engaged to one of them.
He seemed to prefer lighter complexioned mixed women, and women seemed to like him also... quite a bit.
That's what made it so puzzling when I found out two weeks after the wedding --we were already "legally" married, had been so for almost two months
--so technically, this was adultery; but two weeks after the wedding, I discovered he'd been having an affair for nearly two years,
with someone much more dark-complexioned than me, someone I didn't think he'd ever marry --of course not, he married me!
--someone not his type, based on appearance, just someone to f**k, and not bring home, exclusively in the dark - so they'd both blend in!
(how cruel of me to say, as if this still bothers me)
--I discovered this affair quite innocently; I'd called him to invite him home for lunch, and he wasn't there....
He'd gone to see her, meeting her --she was at the door, dressed only in birth control --that she didn't know she didn't need-- lunch of sex!
--that's also why I was inviting him home for lunch! --I ereally had prepared some food, then I was going to feed him seomthing else, even more sunstabtial
lasting on the palette...
--but I was ready when he came home with his grandfather!
--I confronted him with evidence, letters from this Island girl--her promises of undying love. That Island Girl.. That Island Girl also...
She was more than willing to offer herself exclusively for sex... What a fantastic brouhaha! --I was livid! How dare he do this! two years of this!
--Ostensibly at first to help her in school; he could never be of help to me on school; I needed no assistance with my studies!
--he was sexual tutor any years ago, but never my intellectual tutor or suitor.
--but would I accept this now? No; Hell no!
Then I asked him to leave, and he met me at the Rapid Transit station in Higbee's every day for two weeks with roses, roses!
--What exceptional roses they had to be! --olfactory stimulation persuaded me to relent....
I want that perfume now!
and then I relented, welcomed him back home, and remained married for 40 years.