¶ … Mother Who Never Was
The story being covered in this report was written by Lisa Buchanan and is entitled The Mother Who Never Was. The story centers on a woman who became pregnant and gave her child up for adoption at the age of eighteen. The actual narration and depiction of the story zeros in on the feelings, thoughts, actions and experiences she is going through nowadays given that the time that has passed since that fateful day. To be sure, Anna's motherly pangs and thoughts are still present even though she is not raising her birth daughter. However, the situation is obviously a lot more complex and involves a lot more people than just her and her daughter. Indeed, while the main character is the birth mother of child, Anna gave her up for adoption and she still greatly regrets that decision.
It becomes quite obvious from the onset of the story that the biological mother, that being Anna, is experiencing a great amount of regret and other heavy thoughts as it relates to having to give up her daughter for adoption. The genesis of the negative feelings has two main facets. The first facet is that Kathleen is her daughter but yet she has no contact or experiences with her, let alone one as close a mother and daughter. Second, there is the detail that Anna is not able to conceive another child and thus this adds to her regret of giving up Kathleen. Thus, unless she does adoption or something else along those lines, she herself will not be having her own child. Rather than focus on those sorts of possibilities, it is clear she is focusing on the birth daughter she does have. For example, she answers the phone by saying "hello, Kathleen" even though she has no idea who is actually on the other end of the phone call. It turns out to be her husband and he tries to tell her softly but firmly that she needs to "let it go" (Buchanan).
As becomes clear throughout the story, she is having an extremely hard time doing that. Further, she asserts (and is almost certainly correct) that her husband Ross, even though he is "patient and loving," cannot feel what she feels and thus does not feel her pain and regret (Buchanan). She concedes that Ross is patient and loving but all of his assurance and advice due little to quell the chaos that rages inside of her. Her fixation and focus on what has come to pass is extremely detailed and specific. She pines about what could have been if she had the money to raise the child, if she knew at the time this would be her only chance at biological motherhood and so forth. Regretfully, the social worker who handled her adoption case assured her she would have the option and ability to have children...
While that may be the case for the vast majority of women (younger women like Anna at the time in particular), this was tragically not the case for Anna. Indeed, it turns out that the social worker is wrong and Anna is now relegated to a mostly private hell where she does not speak of Kathleen all that much but yet she thinks about her every day (Buchanan).
Like many people in Anna's position, she tries to move on or at least distract herself by engaging in hobbies. The passion that Anna tries to engage in to pass the time and numb the regret she feels is gardening. Even so, her thoughts edging towards that of her daughter seems to be a never-ending theme that occurs in this story. For example, when she reads news stories about teenagers, no matter how sordid, her thoughts always come back to her daughter. One example cited in the book is Anna's perusal of a story about a "suicide pact" among some teenagers in New Jersey. In a bit of a disconcerting thought, Anna imagines how her daughter or her adoptive parents being some victim mentioned in the paper would be "comforting." That disturbing line of thought culminates with the phrase "or because the fantasy is something and the void is nothing" (Buchanan).
As the narrative goes on, there is a recitation of an instance where Anna was actually able to see the daughter when she was having dinner with her family. Anna recognized the adoptive mother and vice versa, but they were the only two people in the room that knew the gravity of those two women (not to mention Kathleen) being in the same place. Indeed, the adoptive mother's reaction was quite instant and quite major. As described by Anna, she went "white and damp, and her mouth fell open" (Buchanan). Anna reacted noticeably reacted as well and quickly exited the restaurant. As she fled and went home, her mind cycled through the ideas that…
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