About Me

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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Choice: Part Two

Read Part One here.

Why am I telling this story in two parts?  Because this is the part I didn't know if I could tell.

I've said before that part of the reason I placed my daughter for adoption was because I felt guilty that I could get pregnant so easily when there were women out there who desperately wanted babies but couldn't get pregnant.

But I felt guilty for another reason.  I had already had one abortion.

I was sixteen years old and on track to be valedictorian of my class.  Then, I found out that I was pregnant.

I was captain of the soccer team, a part of choir, president of the school's community service club.  I was working hard to make the best of high school so that I could hopefully go to college on a full scholarship.  I couldn't have a baby.

I had a boyfriend.  We were in agreement.  I would have an abortion.

I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant.  In fact, if anyone who knows my real identity reads this blog today, they will be the first people I know in real life to find out.  I went to court to get permission to go ahead without my parents' consent.  I got my dad to switch my bank account over to my name only so I could withdraw the $300 I needed.  I was lucky to be a good student.  My dad called me out of school whenever I wanted so it was easy to miss the days I needed.

A girl I barely knew took me to the clinic.  I was put to sleep.  After, I went back to my boyfriend's house to recover.  Life went on.

I have no regrets.  I don't feel sad about it.  I don't feel guilty.  My abortion was a million times easier to get over than the placement of my daughter.

I kept playing soccer, played the lead in the school musical, and I did graduate as valedictorian of my high school class.

I did fantasize sometimes about walking at graduation with my baby.  But I wasn't stupid.  A baby was the last thing I needed.  I'm so thankful I had that choice.

Choice: Part One

If I got pregnant today, I would have an abortion.

I don't want to be a parent.  I have never wanted to be a parent.

I have bipolar disorder.  At the time of my daughter's conception, it was undiagnosed and untreated.  I had been off and on antidepressants, but they didn't help and made me gain weight so at that time I was off.

I loved the energy, but I hated the downs.  I was suicidal and unstable.  Most Sundays were spent in fits of tears and rage.  If I was upset, I resorted to cutting.  It was my release and had been since I was twelve- before self-harm was recognized anywhere outside of a therapist's office.  It was also my little secret.  I never cut where anyone would see.  

I was 24 when I got pregnant after a week overseas. I knew I was pregnant before going to the doctor's, but I waited until a Friday when the work week was over to confirm.  I asked where I could get an abortion.  The doctor told me I still had time to decide and gave me a list of obstetricians.  I threw it in the trash.

I couldn't bring a baby into my world.  My baby's father lived overseas.  I was estranged from my family.  I would be doing it alone.  I was in no condition to parent a child.  I feared that I would be abusive.  I feared that I would resent my child.  I didn't want a lifelong commitment that I didn't feel equipped to deal with.  I didn't want to be a parent.  No one should have the right to force that on me.

But the seed had been planted that adoption was a choice. I was an adult. I didn't think that adoption would disrupt my life.

So I made careful plans. When my daughter was born, I handed her over to someone else even as every cell in my body screamed that I was a mother.  I wouldn't wish the pain of adoption on my worst enemy.  It did disrupt my life.  After my daughter's birth, I was more depressed than ever.  The pain doesn't go away.  It comes and goes unexpectedly.  A song, a word, an ignorant portrayal in a book, TV show, or movie, holidays, and of course any contact with my daughter and her family.

Adoption permeates your life.  It's not just my daughter and me who are affected.  She and I both have entire families who will forever feel the ripples of my choice.  It's forever.  And by placing my daughter for adoption, I didn't fix an unwanted pregnancy, I added a lifelong responsibility.  I changed my life forever.  No one who doesn't want to be a parent should be forced to parent.  No one who doesn't want to parent should be fed the lie that "adoption is the loving choice."  There is nothing sweet and happy about adoption.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I love my daughter.  I love her family.  I'm glad to have her in my life. I don't wish that she had never been born.   But I don't think women should be fooled by the lie that adoption is the cure-all for an unwanted pregnancy.  It is life-altering.  I wouldn't want to go through that again, but I don't wish I had parented instead.  

If I got pregnant today, I would abort.  I still have bipolar.  It's treated.  I am stable now, but a pregnancy means going off my medication or risking harm to my unborn baby.  There is no guarantee that the same medication would work after the baby's birth.  It took me years to find one that did work.  I can't go through that again.  I need my job.  I need to be able to take care of myself.  I need to do what I can to keep my marriage healthy, and if I did have that child, I would need to be stable enough to parent.  And there is still the same issue that I do not want to be a parent.  Being a parent is forever.  Being a parent involves a commitment I'm not willing to give.

Call me selfish.  Call me heartless.  Feed me with the guilt of "if my mother had aborted me."  You know what?  I don't care what someone else thinks.  It's my choice.  It's my body.  It's my life that gets changed.  It's me who has to deal with whatever the consequences are of going through a pregnancy and bringing a baby into the world.  If I don't want a baby, I shouldn't have to have one.  And if I don't want to be a parent, adoption shouldn't be the only other option.

If people really cared about reducing abortion, they would support sex education and contraception.  They would give teenagers a way to get birth control without going through their parents.  They would offer more support to women who do want to parent, but can't.  This country would offer paid maternity leave and  affordable daycare.  But the same people who cry out that abortion is murder are against all of those things.

Some people say that having a baby makes women turn anti-choice.  For me, it was the opposite.  I am more pro-choice than ever.  The decision of whether or not to continue a pregnancy should be up to the woman.  She is the person that lives it.

I support a woman's right to choose under any circumstances.

Read part two here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What I Don't Need

I don't need anyone telling me I did the best thing for my daughter, but I also don't need people telling me that clearly I could have parented.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Can Hate It, but Still Be Glad for It.

I'm feeling a bit out of sorts.

Some people I really respect are coming out against adoption.  No matter what.

I don't understand.

I don't regret my choice.

I miss my daughter.  I know my daughter misses me.  I feel bad about moving so far away that I can only see her once a year.

But I don't regret my choice.

I don't subscribe to the view that adoption is so harmful that it should no longer be allowed.

For that reason, I have been afraid to speak.

I feel like there are no more people that can acknowledge adoption loss yet still support the choice.

I find myself cringing at the new job one of my adoption mom friends got.  She's going to be helping hopeful parents create their profiles.  But I also cringe at the articles and statements other friends are making that adoption should be abolished.

I do think the system is corrupted.  I do think things need to change.  I do think some mothers would be able to parent if given more support.  But I'm still glad I had the choice.

I recognize that my daughter will have some scars related to her adoption.  I know I do.  But I don't think I should have been forced to parent.  I don't think I should have been given a choice only between abortion and parenting.

I'm pro-choice.  Had adoption not been an available option, I would have aborted.  Is that really a better solution?  Is my daughter really going to be harmed so much that she should never have been born?

Answer me that, internet.

I feel so alone.