Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Story. 22 Years In the Making


I don't even know how to begin this. I am a birth mom. One of the things I was told after I had my baby girl was that I shouldn't say that I gave up my baby for adoption but that I placed my baby for adoption. That made me mad. Still does I guess since this is how I'm starting my story. I can remember looking at the person(s) who would correct me and think, “Does it make you feel better by asking me to be politically correct? Does it make it less painful for you? You who has not 'given up' a baby? Because guess what? I gave up my baby. My baby I carried and loved for nine months and held in my arms for three days. I gave up my baby because I love her so much”! Yes, I gave up the experience of raising that little girl. Not because I gave up........ anyone who knows me knows I am a fighter. So I fought. I fought for my daughter and gave her up for adoption. I know what I said may not make any sense to anyone else, but when you're in the middle of things that cause deep and lasting emotion, things don't make sense. They don't have to. “Greater love hath no man than he give up his life for another........” it doesn't say, Greater love hath no man than he place his life for another....... The day I said goodbye to my baby girl, the experience was akin to a death. The grief process is similar.

Do I ever regret my decision? Absolutely not! 

I made some mistakes. Big mistakes. I was not raised in the manner that I was behaving and knew that I needed to fix and change some things. This wasn't me. This wasn't who I was or what I stood for. I was graduating from high school and had just been accepted to the college of my choice where I would major in dance. One of my older sisters was visiting with her three small children and my eighteenth birthday was coming up. Also coming up, was what should have been my period. Only, it didn't. I didn't know what to do. I went to the local K-Mart and bought a pregnancy test lying and saying I was picking it up for my visiting sister. I remember going upstairs to our bathroom and knowing. I didn't want to take the test but needed to confirm what I already felt. With door locked, crumbled in fetal position on the bathroom floor I cried. My life was over. My father was Bishop of our church congregation. I wasn't raised this way. This was a huge sin that I'd committed. I was lonely, terrified, and didn't know what to do.  How would my parents react?

I don't remember how many days I carried around this knowledge by myself. I do remember that it was a few days before I had the courage to talk to my sister who was visiting. I told her. She was beautiful. She never judged me. She loved me. She held me. She gave me courage to tell my parents. I called my mom up to her bedroom and asked her if any of her kids made a major mistake, like getting pregnant, would she kick them out. Funny now looking back in a sort of twisted way. What kind of a question is that if not blurting out what is really going on?! And then, I told her. My mother being who she is, was very matter of fact. Let's get this confirmed by a doctor before we proceed any further. Which we did. It was now time to tell my Dad. We drove to his church office and he and I sat down at his desk. I handed him a piece of paper with a date on it. He asked me what it was. My due date. 

I can't even begin to imagine what my father was feeling and going through at that time. All I know is how he reacted to me. Love. What went on behind closed doors, how he and my mom handled things when I wasn't there to hear or witness I've no idea. I just know that my dad wrapped me in his arms right then. Love.

My older sister and her three little ones needed to head back to their home in another state and it was decided that I would go and live with her and her family for the first three months of my pregnancy. We all handle grief and pain differently. My mother was mad. She was angry. We needed some space. And that is okay!! It was talked about sending me to a home for pregnant teenagers for the duration but my father wouldn't hear of it. So, I went and lived with my sister.

Looking back, my sister was an absolute angel. I spent the first three months throwing up and heaving the very air I breathed along with any food that would pass through my lips. I can remember laying by the toilet wondering how In the world a baby could survive this when I couldn't keep any food or water down. My sister's husband was working full time plus going to school in the evenings so not only was she taking care of her three little ones by herself but me as well. I remember her asking me if I'd watch her baby for her in the mornings while she took the other two to their swimming lessons. She had to sit on bleachers and her baby was in the crawling stage and didn't want to sit still. She left her baby with me a few times. I would lay on the couch and then fall asleep only to wake up when she'd get home and the baby would have made a complete mess out of everything. She never got after me or complained. She took her baby with her after that. Another time, it was late in the evening and after a bath and shaving my legs, I noticed I'd left a lovely ring around the tub. I was so tired and planned on scrubbing the tub the next morning. The next day, I found the tub all scrubbed. Again, never a complaint. Never made me feel bad for being a burden. Never griped about having to drive me an hour in both directions to therapy weekly dragging three little ones with. Love.

After the first trimester I came back home to live. Sundays. I hated Sundays. Sundays were the day of the week that was pure hell for me. The place where I should have felt safe and refuge. Instead, I was met with judgment, gossip, and cold shoulders. Not everyone was this way, but there were many.  My Dad was called to another position in our church so we had a new Bishop and he would often call me into his office and tell me that he knew what the answer was but needed to ask to be sure, I was accused of going to various parties and behaving in disgusting manners with all sorts and was this true. Oh yeah baby!! Me and my big fat baby belly going to parties and doing vile things! Every young man's dream right?! I would sit there with my jaw on the floor astounded that the very people I was passing in the halls at church were making these things up and passing them around! Crucify me! Did someone sew a scarlet letter on my dress without me knowing? Every Sunday I went to church. I didn't miss a one. Not because I wanted to be there. I hated church. I went, often alone, because I knew that that was where I was supposed to be. I went because I love my Father in Heaven. So I endured.  I carried that pain for a very long time.  Years.  The betrayal.  Thankfully now, there is forgiveness and those feelings are gone.

Seven months I flipped back and forth between keeping my baby and giving her up. One can not describe the agony of this process.  Maybe somebody else can, but I can't.   I would kneel by my bed and ask for guidance. What should I do? I wanted my baby. I didn't want to give up my baby. What should I do? I knew the answer deep down but I didn't want to face it. I didn't want to be the bigger person. I wanted only to think of me and keep my baby. My parents told me they would support what ever decision I made. They would sacrifice and help me raise my baby. But I knew. I knew that my baby needed a good solid home with a mommy and a daddy and this baby wasn't mine to keep. Oh the agony of coming to that final decision but oh the peace I felt from the Lord when I did! 

People would ask me if I was ready to have that baby!! I would tell them, no! While 'that baby' (I didn't know the gender) was still inside of me, that baby was mine! I could feel her, I could sing to her, I could hold her. 

The day of delivery arrived. I was induced and had an amazing delivery. My parents were there and soon after other members of my family who had also been a huge support came to the hospital to see and hold their new niece. She was beautiful!! Perfect! My oldest sister who I had spent a lot of time with during my pregnancy and had become a second mother figure to me brought my baby and I matching gold rings. Love. One of my favorite photos I have from the hospital is of my brother holding my baby. Love. 

Three days in the hospital with my baby and now, time to say good bye, time for me to leave, and go home. I know that it took angels helping me to walk to the door and place my baby in a complete strangers arms and walk away. I felt wrapped in a numb cocoon. Numb. Numb all the way home. Hymns went through my mind over and over as I lay in the back seat with my head on my mom's lap. She said she could feel that I was being protected and that I was being held by other beings. 
The days that followed were heaven and hell. My brother coming and asking my parents if he and his wife could raise my baby until I was able. Heaven. Me having to say no. Hell. Me feeling closer to our Savior Jesus Christ, literally engulfed in His arms. Heaven. My body knowing it had just had a baby and going through the pain and discomfort and not having a baby in my arms. Hell. My heart having a huge hole torn out of it. Hell. Deciding I can't go on and feeling myself slip away....... my mom sensing what is happening and grabbing me and holding me and crying and yelling at me to hold on and don't I dare let go.....to hold on.... Hell. Me signing the papers finalizing everything. Hell. The feeling after, the peace and comfort and love I felt from the Savior knowing I'd made the right decision. Heaven.

Obviously, there is a lot that is left out. Like, how I actually thought that if I didn't act pregnant no one would know that I was!  Can anyone say huge billboard called my baby belly??  Or the time that my mom tried teaching me how to crochet a blanket for my baby and me all thumbs frustrated giving up, so she made the blanket for me and sent it with her grand daughter?  Or the time that someone (my Dad never told me who it was) came up to my Dad and told him, good job making your daughter give up her baby!  I don't think my Dad ever in his life had to restrain himself more than he did at that moment for decking the person that said that.  He'd just watched his daughter and went through nine months of hell with me through this experience.  It wasn't just me that gave up a baby.  My parents gave up a grand daughter.  It affected them too!  And my siblings, and my family now who have a sister somewhere in the world they may or may not meet in this life time and my sweet husband who feels because he married me, she is his daughter too.  It is a story that is nine months plus 22 years this February in the making!  It is my story, and my daughters story that has far reaching effects.   Where ever she is. I am a birth mom. Do I ever regret my decision? Absolutely not! Love.

Disclaimer: I realize that the decision I made to give up my baby for adoption is not the one and only correct decision. While it was right for me, others it is right for them to keep theirs. This is just my story, and the decision that was right for me, and my baby. 












15 comments:

  1. Oh, sweet Rachel, I can't even imagine, but I love you even more fiercely for the love you gave and showed your first baby girl.

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    1. Thank you Donna. I love you just as fiercely back! :D

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  2. First of all... {{HUG!!}}
    Such a powerful and beautifully shared story, Rachel. I can't imagine the heartache and pain you had to endure during that time. What a blessing you are to so many around you and what a blessing you are to the beautiful daughter you gave up. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you for the {{HUG!!}} I felt it. :) Thankfully, I didn't have to carry these things alone. None of us do.

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  3. You. Are. Awesome! What courage you have in you Rachel. I'm so glad that you were able to share this and be an inspiration to any young girls out there who may find themselves in an unplanned position. Where you are now in your life bears testament to your courage and faith, love to you and ALL your family xxxx

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    1. Thank you Julie!! There is so much more that could be written but where do you start and where do you end? It's a story that continues to write itself over time. That is how life is and it is what it is....... I've no greater courage than you! I am blessed with an amazing family. I have incredible parents.

      Thank you for your sweet kind words....... I so value our friendship and love that we've found each other across the ocean! Life is amazing!! XXXXXXXXX

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  4. Rachel, I'm a mom who is on the receiving end of your giving. To you, and to all women who have given up in order that another might have, I offer my thanks. It is inadequate. But what words are adequate? I am giving my all to raise my girls with as much love and as much faith as I have, and when I don't have enough, I beg God for more. I'm sorry there are unkind people. I'm thankful there are people like you.

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    1. It's as you say Anaise. What words are adequate for either side? I do know this though. If my daughter went to a mommy who is anything like you, she is blessed indeed! Truly.

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    2. And Anaise, I also know........... you may feel like you don't have enough..... but you do. You are more than enough!!

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  5. You are a woman who epitomizes love, courage, and grace. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. Ack! Stop! You grew up with me. You know what I'm really like. :D

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  6. Can I just tell you that you're an inspiration for so many people? Thank you for publicly sharing something that is so personal and shows vulnerability. I admire you for that. You teach me tons, even if you aren't intending too. I am always amazed at your conviction to the gospel and sharing it. You're pretty amazing. Love you Mom!

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    1. Oh Darren sweetie!! Thank you so much for writing your thoughts. I think much the same about you! You keep truckin' with so many obstacles in your way. I love you!! We'll keep on keepin'. Ever onward and upward. :D

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  7. I came here earlier, didn't have time to respond properly at the time, and dashed off to work. You've been on my mind since. The thing is that now that I have the time to respond, I don't know what to say, aside from "ditto" to all of the above. Have you heard the quote (gah, I don't know who to attribute it to) that goes something along the lines of "A birth mother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart." It makes me think of what you're saying here. Yes, love. It shines through your story. Through your life. And it's not a pain-free, straight forward emotion. Its complexity is at least in part where it's depth comes from. And to love deeply is to know heaven.

    All of your babies are so deeply blessed.

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    1. Ack Wabi! How do I respond to that?! To love deeply is to know heaven. I love that. I'm sitting here thinking about that and it is so true. I think of all that I love and I can't imagine heaven without all of you!!! YOU!!! Deeply bless me!

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