Disclaimer: If you are a birthmother who had severe or impelling reasons to give up your baby or child for adoption, knew it was the right thing for you and best for your child, this site is for you. But if you feel judgmental or shaming toward those of us who have no regrets, please do not post here. Thanks.
Some recently have told me that surely I do have regrets? Yes, I have regrets. I regret that as a new baby my daughter looked exactly like the birthfather, who was a pathological liar and a petty criminal. I regret that I have bipolar disorder which means that the US government deems me unfit to hold “meaningful employment.” If I cannot hold meaningful employment, then doesn’t this imply that I would also be unfit to have the hardest of all jobs — that of raising a child? I would say Yes to that. I regret that my birthdaughter broke the law, accessed the county archives and “found” me despite the fact that a court order was required to break the close adoption records. I regret the way she called me in the middle of the night to mysteriously announce herself. I regret that I feared for my livelihood if it became known in my conservative community that I was a birthmother in the early 1960s. I regret that the birth daughter, now an adult, is herself a liar — she lies about little things that don’t even matter.
But what I do not regret is giving her a chance for a good home, which she did have and which I could never have provided her.
You can go to Page 2 to see a great article (with link) about the culture and attitudes in the United States in the 1960s that forced many of us to give up our babies.
Here is my story. I look forward to hearing from women who feel no regrets.
My Adoption story
I have started this new blog because the other birth mothers I have read about online have pined for their children to find them, and have many regrets or resentments over their choice of (or being pressured into) the adoption alternative.
Abortions were illegal in 1964 in the United States. Friends went to Mexico on risky trips to abortionists who were recommended via “the grapevine.” We understood that many Mexico abortions resulted in bleeding to death, or losing the ability to ever have children.
“Abortion” was a dirty word, and many people did not even know that that was.
Pregnancy out of wedlock was a scandal, and people lost their jobs, their professional licenses, or otherwise had their lives damaged or ruined.
Physical punishment was considered the best – or one of the only ways – to raise a child.
I gave up my newborn daughter in 1964. I was a very immature 22 years of age. In those days, it was generally believed that “nice girls” didn’t have sex. I only had sex three times, and the third time (second boy) got me pregnant. For my first encounter, which was in Chicago, I went to Planned Parenthood and got “the Pill.” So of course I didn’t get pregnant then. Then I moved to a very small city in California, where I taught elementary school. I was extremely sexual and frustrated, and had looked forward to being on my own adult so I could have good sex. More than anything I wanted to get married and have great sex.
A colleague teacher friend wanted me to meet her son, so I believed him to be of good character. I was fearful of going to the local Planned Parenthood, because if my principal found out, I would have lost my license to teach. So I bought an over-the-counter vaginal cream which said on the package that it was for birth control/spermicide. I had no idea how to use it, later learning that I needed a diaphragm with the spermicide cream. So of course, it didn’t work.
I was taught in my home upbringing in Texas that one needed to be personally introduced to a boy before dating him, because that would make sure he was of good character. It turned out that this boy was probably not 19 as he stated, but 17, but I’m not sure. He was a petty thief and a compulsive liar. He borrowed money from me, which he refused to repay when I broke up with him. I was seeing a psychiatrist during this time, for severe depression. I had terrible mood swings, and did not know until many decades later that I had manic-depression, aka bipolar disorder. I would come home from work, grab a quick dinner, and cry myself to sleep about 6:30 every night. I tried to adopt a kitten, but gave it back when I found I could not take care of it properly — it was “too demanding” of me since I was extremely busy with my job and my mood swings. (I now have two cats, and we are all doing fine. I take medication, and have done so for 20 years now. I have no children, by choice.)
To make a long story short, I knew that I would not make a good mother. I had no support group of friends or family. My own parents were emotionally and physically abusive. They were supportive of my decision to release my baby for adoption, however; but they wanted to raise her and I didn’t want my baby to raised the way I was. The only way they (and I) knew to “control” a child was to “spank,” and I did not want to do that.
I released my baby through county children’s services. I went into a Salvation Army home for unwed mothers, which was a very good experience. I loved it. I loved the arts and crafts, the kind workers, the other pregnant girls and women, and the wonderful nurses on the day I delivered. I had done the exercises I found in a book by Dr. Grantley Dick-Reed called “Childbirth Without Pain.” I walked a mile every day, and even played volleyball the day before my delivery. Because of being in good physical condition, eating well, and not drinking alcohol or smoking, the birth was not traumatic, but the labor was long.
I went into a severe post partum depression — so bad that I cried and sobbed constantly, so was not allowed to sleep in the dormitory with the other girls/women who had had their deliveries. I was assigned to a room by myself, which was what I wanted anyway, since I felt ashamed that I cried so hard.
I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I would give up my baby. I have never regretted it.