It's a tricky labyrinth because for those of us who gave up children, the pregnancy--there's no way around it--was a "mistake." The pregnancy was a "problem." It was a life--our lives--that were being turned upside down by an unplanned, and yes, unwanted pregnancy. Those of you who have read Birthmark
But once you don't have the abortion, once you go go through the months of having your body and mind turn to a child, your child, everything changes. The "problem" became "him." (I thought I was having a boy up until the moment she was born.) And no matter what I felt before, my feelings turned to love and an aching desire to keep my baby, even though that seemed impossible at the time. So what was once a mistake becomes a child, your child, who you love more than you ever thought possible.
My husband, who was his mother's second child, was born at a time when the family was in financial difficulty, and he once heard that he wasn't particularly wanted...when his mother got pregnant. But that didn't alter one whit the love he felt from his mother; in fact, he turned out to be closer to her than his older brother.
So adoptees, though the word "mistake" is hard to hear, know that it doesn't refer to you as the baby or the person you became. My mistake turned into my daughter Jane and though she had a difficult life, I was always glad to be a part of it when she let me. --lorraine
And here's a comment from Linda:
I keep reminding myself that no one pointed a gun to my head, no one forced to to choose adoption (though therapy decades later told me "of course being a student at a Catholic women's college influenced my decision." My parents would have supported an abortion, in fact, my father sent me money for that purpose and I banked it. A single pregnant woman will believe anything, and I believed the sperm donor.
I know a couple of women who have expressed regret over their choosing abortion, but most, as Lorraine has often told me, can live with their choice without much remorse. I always said if I had to do it again I would still choose adoption, but my position changed post-reunion. I don't know what I'd choose (to raise my child or abort) but I'm 99 percent certain I wouldn't choose adoption.
I was 19 and believed the social worker and the whole "my child will have a better life with a loving couple" myth--marriage wasn't even on my radar. I wanted a brilliant career with a home on both coasts. Sarah Kershaw's article in today's (Thursday 9/4) NY Times more eloquently expresses my sentiments I posted yesterday in response to your blog:
Sociologists say that what drives the failure of teenage marriages — and some also say the postwar young marriage boom may have contributed to the divorce explosion of the 1970s — is the complex condition of being an unformed adult.
“They may not know quite what they want in a lifetime partner,” Dr. Popenoe said. “They still often have years of education to complete, as well as getting settled in the work world, and those two things may change their outlook on life considerably.”
And from Jane:
Giving up a baby is totally different from an abortion or a miscarriage. It causes extreme depression and obsessive thinking, not just an occasional sigh. I thought reunion would resolve some of these feelings -- it has helped but there is still pain.
I cringe every time I see bumper stickers that say "adoption, not abortion."
Lorraine again: Yes, it is sad when people who want to have children can't have them, but that doesn't entitle them to somebody else's baby.