Joining the Tribe

I have recently undergone a transformation, and have been debating whether to share it here. But it has given me such new perspective on so much of my research that I’ve decided it fits here, it makes sense here, and I hope you will indulge my desire to share. I’ve joined the tribe of motherhood. My son, Dashiell, is just four-months-old now. His presence – from the moment his life took shape inside my womb, through those nine-months of constant awareness that I was carrying this little person around in me, to the moment he entered the world, and every day in between – his presence, has changed how I see everything. Relationships I’ve had a lifetime take on new light. Interactions with friends and strangers, have a different hue. My sense of self, of being in this world, has a completely new tenor. And my research, this research that is so close to my heart, now has a new lens with which to be viewed.

Every woman that I interviewed for this project is a mother. Those that kept their children, those that lost their children, those that had other children later in life, those that didn’t. They all are mothers. I am so glad I had the opportunity to interview them before my own transition into this tribe. Because I could approach the subject with wonder, with the untainted curiosity of someone from a different tribe. Details of pregnancy, of childbirth, of separation – all of these were a foreign land that I could delve into with no experience of my own to impact my perspective.

Now, I have been on this journey. A different journey, a unique journey – as we all have had. One of privilege, the privilege of choosing to get pregnant, the privilege of being ‘older’ and therefore have a better understanding of what the process looked like, and most exceptionally in this context, the privilege of keeping my child. Of holding him to my chest and watching him grow from the moment he entered this world. And that privilege, has given me a deeper understanding of the hardship of each of the women who endured an unexpected pregnancy, a (sometimes forced) confinement, the childbirth practices of the 1960s for unmarried women, and the unimaginable hurt of losing a child.  This new perspective on my research is still something I’m teasing out, exploring in the quiet moments as I look at my son and think of the many women and children impacted by the history of mother and baby homes. But for now, what I can say, is that my respect for the difficult decision each of these women made has grown deeper, my empathy for their journey has grown richer, and I wish only to continue honouring this often hidden history by revealing it to the larger public.

For the moment, I will simply introduce you to my new favorite person – Dashiell Elon Bell, born on March 19th, 2016.

Dash bw

He has reintroduced me to all of you in new and unexpected ways.

Thank you, again, for entrusting me with your stories. With your histories. With the intimate hurts and loves you have endured. I honour you.

15 thoughts on “Joining the Tribe

  1. Wishing you much happiness for the future. X
    As an adoptee (now a mother for 24 years myself) , I too agree that it is only when you experience the joy of motherhood yourself, do you realise and really appreciate what those women went through.

  2. Thank you Rose for your perspective on motherhood. Could I have your permission to copy it to our next Natural Parents Network newsletter ?

  3. Thank you Rose for your sharing and the beautiful photograph of your new son Dashiell. I give you my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation for all your work. Motherhood is a process of continual change. I spent yesterday with my son who I was forced to give up as a baby. He is now 50, and he spent the day doing garden maintenance and window cleaning for me as I am becoming increasingly disabled. I wish you well on the motherhood journey.

  4. Congratulations on the birth of your first child, something so special , childbirth so precious a beautiful emotion that no amount of money could ever buy and the feeling that will never leave you.
    I gave birth to my first child when I was 17yrs old and with the instructions of our Catholic priest and my parents I was put away with the nuns and my baby was adopted, she left my arms but never left my heart I looked for her for years and years never giving up , I managed to find her 18months ago and finally met her this year and hugged her for the first time in 46yrs the feeling was unbelievable and so precious and she will be visiting me at the end of August to meet her half brother and sister for the first time. After such heartbreak..How lucky am I.
    I love and cherish any time I spend with her and her family , also her beloved mum and dad who have welcomed me.

    • Margaret,
      This fills my heart with joy. The absolute heartbreak of losing a child, then being reunited. It is wonderful that not only has your relationship with your daughter been rekindled, but her parents have also welcomed you. Many blessings to your family.

  5. I am delighted you have a new baby Dashiell. The work you have done on this site is invaluable and has shed such insight into the times when adoptions such as mine took place in 1949.
    Love Angela

  6. Hi Rose,
    I am in the last stages of completing my BA Fine Art (Hons) and chose ‘adoption’ as the subject for my final degree show. Your website has been an invaluable part of my research, would it be possible to quote the first paragraph ‘The Mothers’ as this summarises very well what my journey on this project has been about?
    I am now 60 and was privately adopted as a baby in 1957 and became a grandmother only this week!
    My project has enabled me to gain a better perspective and a measure of closure on my past. Although I have met my birth mother and her family who live in Australia, the sense of not belonging in any particular family never goes away. Again, thank you for your work and I hope you are enjoying being a new mother.
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Jenny,
      Thank you for reaching out. Yes, feel free to quote. What a journey you have been on! I’m sure becoming a grandmother at the same time as you develop your culminating show about adoption has been emotional to say the least! Wishing you all the best.

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