Begin at the Beginning

begin at the beginning

My earliest memory has been grafted on to my mind like a branch on to a tree. There is no way I could remember my first moments of life, nor the day, thirteen days later when I was adopted. And yet, the story of those events play in my mind like a black and white news reel before a feature film.

The primal wound, the psychologists call it. The deep fissure of abandonment, not felt consciously but deep down in my psyche. A mother who doesn’t bond with her baby, because she doesn’t want to or she is not allowed.

Barely sixteen years old, Julie probably never looked into my blue grey eyes or smelled the top of my head. The nurses would have taken me away and left her with an empty womb and aching breasts.

I sometimes think her wound cut deeper than mine. I wonder if she still thinks about me, still loves me in some hidden dark compartment of her heart. Her wound must be a tender place, stinging if touched too firmly, weeping for years and never healing over.

My birth mother, Julie, left me behind in a hospital overlooking the beach at Opunake, without a name or a family history. Even now, I don’t know who my birth father is. “Details not supplied” it says on my birth certificate.

Has being adopted affected my life? Do I notice my primal wound?

Perhaps before when I worried about being good enough to deserve love, when I settled for predictable rather than risky romance, when I stayed within the hard-drawn lines of normal.

But now it no longer matters. I have the angels of my birth family watching over me as well as those of my chosen family. I belong to more than a biological gene pool — I belong to the rich tapestry of the entire human family.

I am here, I exist, I live and breathe to be exactly the way I was made. Love abides no matter what I do or don’t do, I simply have to be the way I was created — loving, kind, and gloriously flawed.

My wound, if it existed at all, has healed, leaving a tiny scar that reminds me that the past is a story that can always be re-written by living magnificently right here and now.

begin at the beginning T

What is your earliest memory?

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

6 thoughts on “Begin at the Beginning

  1. Well this may sound strange but I actually physically remember being in my mother’s tummy and seeing a bright light, I believe was the Sun. My mother says it’s possible. To me I remember it like it was yesterday.

  2. Gosh Katie. The Primal Wound and it’s companion book Coming Home to Self are on my bedside table. As a mother of two children we adopted as infants (they are now 11 and 14), I read from one of them every night. I broke into tears after the second paragraph of The Primal Wound. Finally so much of what I was experiencing with my children made sense. Painful sense, yes but so much better for me to understand and to help them start to understand their rage and insecurities and to hopefully make peace with their start in life and have a healthy adulthood. Like I do tell them, we all have battles to face and this is their’s. And we as their parents are committed to helping them find their authentic self as much as we can.

    As far as my first memory, I often thought this couldn’t be real but I’ve asked my mother about it and she confirms where I was, where my father was and where she was as I remembered it. I was in front of the television and remember my mother screaming at my dad and it was when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. I was born in July 1963 and that was in November 1963. So who’s to know??

    1. You sound like AMA.ZING parents. I think adopted kids also get the best when they have loving supportive families.

      And that memory – wow – pretty impressive.

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