Wednesday, April 01, 2009

On being an April fool

This day holds some significance for me.

I had never been much of a one for practical jokes, anyway, since their point seems to be the humiliation of another person. But on this day 25 years ago, I was the butt of a sick joke I played on myself when I brought into the world a little girl I wasn't going to be able to keep. I became a mother, but not a Mom.

I had wracked my brains for ways to overcome the inevitable. To no avail. I had tried to get some of my children's stories published, having entertained the notion that I could be a work-from-home author. I discovered that it isn't quite as simple as that. So, with a heavy heart, I had come to accept my fate.

There are three options facing any girl (or woman) who becomes pregnant. You can have an abortion, you can raise the child yourself, or you can give the child up for adoption. None of them is easy. All three have long-term consequences.

I know a woman of nearly 60 who had an abortion 40 years ago. She still grieves the loss of her child and wonders what might have been. I know another woman of over 80, who had an abortion 60 years ago, and she still tries to justify it to herself, devouring pro-choice material as if her life depended on it. The unemotional medical terms used don't change the fact that there was going to be a child and now there isn't any more.

I have been a Mom myself for over 17 years, now, and that isn't easy either. Raising kids is hard work... especially if you do it right. I don't always do it right, but I try. And even with a supportive husband, it's a tough job. How single parents (like my own Mom) cope, I can't begin to imagine!

I still maintain to this day, that giving up my daughter was one of the hardest, if not the hardest thing I have ever done. Because there had been no death, there was no closure. I finally met my daughter when she was 22, and was at last able to put the grief to rest and have peace. She is a beautiful, confident, accomplished woman.

I made my decision based on what I thought would be best for my baby. I decided - long before she was born - that her welfare had to come first, since she was the only innocent party in the saga of (what was then) my messed up life. I carried the consequences of that choice alone. That, too, was a choice I made. Although I did not keep her a secret, I also did not burden those around me with my pain.

I have made some pretty rotten choices in my life, but looking back, I can honestly say that I believe that every single choice I made with regard to her was the right one. If I had known beforehand how tough it was going to be, I don't think I would have had the courage to do it, but, when I see the wonderful human being who is the culmination of all those choices, I don't regret a single one of them.

Happy birthday, gorgeous.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We cannot stand in the same river twice and one should not look back and regret, we have to live by our choices. Like the river which takes bends and twists, life's journey is also a miracle unresolved, till it reaches its destination. We are what we are and should continue to remain as loving as ever towards each other and in the end this life is all about LOVE. I have no regrets about my abortion 18 yrs ago. I remain very concerned about the power of the anti-choice lobby and for me abortion is a sacred choice...a foetus is a presentient being not a child.

Karyn Romeis said...

@anonymous That is a very neat argument... which entirely misses the point of this post.