In 1972 I gave birth to a baby girl. I don’t know her name, I never gave her one. Instead, I gave her to waiting nurses and signed forms that told an adoption agency that they could have her. You may think that my reason for doing this were noble. You would be wrong.
When I hear of mothers giving their children up for adoption I always feel this stabbing in my gut. Most of these women hand over their tiny bundles to complete strangers because they are too young, too poor, too damaged to raise a child and they know it. What they’re doing is a gift to their child. It their final gift to the little life they brought into world. I envy them and the knowledge that they carry with them deep in their hearts. I gave you up because I love you so much.
In 1972 I had a daughter and when her screaming little form came bursting into this world all I could think was how glad I was it was over. All I wanted to do was sign those forms and get out of that hospital and meet my friends to go out on the town. You see, I was 24 years old and I lived to party. I wasn’t an addict, just very selfish. The thought of raising a child as an unmarried woman even in those days didn’t give me pause but the crimp in my lifestyle did. I thought I was a very smart and forward thinking woman. I thought I was ahead of my time. So, I took one fleeting glance at my bawling baby girl and signed those papers.
When I left the hospital I went home to my chic apartment and slept. I slept for days, then more days, more days still. I couldn’t seem to get out of bed. Instead of partying I just…slept. Visions of that scrunched up little face, my face, went around and around in my head.
Here’s the part where I would love to say I called the agency and demanded my daughter back. I would like to tell you we were reunited and I gave her a name, the name I’ve been carrying around in my heart all these years. I cannot. I did not.
I went back to my life. I worked and partied. I was a modern woman and I told myself I would live without regrets…Regrets are funny things. They want you even if you don’t want them and oh, how I regret. If I could turn back the clock and do it over, well, you know the story now don’t you?
I never had any other children. I couldn’t bring myself to look at another little face, my face, and know that somewhere out there was the sweet little girl who should have been mine. I often wonder if she’s tried to contact me. As much as I would love to see her and smell and hold her for the first time in our lives I dread it. What could I possibly say to her? How could I explain why I did what I did? I can’t, there is no explanation.
In 1972 I gave birth to a baby girl. I don’t know her name, I never gave her a name. When I think of her, I call her Elaine, my mother’s name.
I’m so sorry.