In 1972...

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.


  1. I can only imagine what you went through and still do. You were brave though, I think, because you knew where you were in life and what you could and couldn't give. Shame is cruel and as a woman my heart breaks for you. You did what many woman have considered and did what was best at that time.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We hope you find some peace with your choice some day.

  3. I appreciate your bravery and frank nature. It seems quite obvious to me that you love your daughter very much. I would imagine your daughter would be able to tell the same were you ever to meet her.

  4. I was born
    BEFORE Roe v. Wade...
    on Feb 17, 1970
    to a young woman of about 18.
    She gave me up for reasons unknown to me. I was fostered. Almost a year later, on Feb 11, 1971, I was formally adopted by my foster parents. They changed my name, and loved me as their own.
    I think of this, of her, so many times every year, yet have never had the courage to seek her out - to violate the spirit of the laws as they were in NJ in 1970 and which to this day protect her identity from my as-yet unprying eyes.
    I have a master's degree, and am applying to medical school presently.
    But were I to seek her, I would do so to deliver one simple message:
    Ms "Williamson"?, "Mother"? :
    Thank you. You made the right choice, and gave me a life you could not otherwise have afforded me. Whether your motives were noble or selfish is now immaterial. Do not regret, do not lament, you need not explain, and above all do NOT be sorry. You have one life - I hope you lived it. I have, and I'm doing OK...
    - J Jane

  5. You're stronger than I was at that age. I also knew myself well enough to know that I had no interest in or aptitude for being a single parent.

    I also knew myself well enough to know that I'd never be able to hand a pup that I'd just spent 9 months bonding with to a total stranger, never to be seen again. I am waaaay too mushy and melodramatic for that.

    As a result, I aborted. I rarely look back. Sometimes, I wonder if the not-looking-back part is indicative of weakness or strength.

    Two different women, two different solutions. You took the path I didn't, and I can't begin to understand the results. All I can do is say . . .

    "You're not a bad person for adopting-out your child."