"If you don't want your baby, we'll try to find a home for it." Said the woman on the phone.
That was the point where I lost control. Looking for adoption agencies in the phone was hard. Actually talking to the agencies was even harder. For days, the phone book had sat open on the kitchen table, right underneath the avocado colored phone we had picked up at a thrift store. Every time mom went into the kitchen she said, "Just call Catholic Charities. They'll give him a good Catholic home."
After a week or so, it became an incessant nagging from her. "Did you call yet?" "Just call!" "Pick up the phone and dial, it's not hard!"
She had no idea. This wasn't like going to the St. Vincent De Paul Society for a little extra food. This was asking for the biggest handout in the world. This was asking someone to love my child for the rest of their lives, to provide for him, teach him right from wrong, and give him a better life. Mom had no idea how hard it was for me to just pick up the phone.
I had gotten pregnant on the 4th of July, having sex on the floor, surrounded by moving boxes. We were moving from the old neighborhood to a new one. I was looking toward a new direction in my life. I had a job, a car, and a guy I was going to marry someday. I was just waiting on the engagement ring. And while I was waiting, we had a lot of sex.
When August rolled around, and I hadn't gotten my period, I began to worry that something was wrong. I thought I might have cancer or something. My friends all said, "You're pregnant." but I thought, "No, it's cancer. I can't be pregnant. I'd know if I were pregnant."
When I realized my boyfriend was an overcontrolling jerk who belittled everything I said, and dumped him; I thought, "See. It's cancer. I'm removing the dead weight from my life before I get treatment."
When my belly started to swell, I thought, "The cancer is growing, I should really go to the doctor."
When 3 months had passed without a period, I decided to visit Planned Parenthood. Just to rule out pregnancy, before I paid a real doctor to treat the cancer I was so sure I had.
It wasn't until I was sitting in the waiting room, that I allowed myself to see that I was pregnant. When the test came back positive, I was overjoyed. I was having a baby! I had wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember, and now it was happening! Sure, I'd only get one semester of college before his birth. Ok, I'd have to go on welfare for a little while, until I could work again. Yeah, it might be 5 or more years before I could go back to school; and I wouldn't be moving out of mom's house for a while yet. But all of that was bearable, because I was going to be a mom!
For the next two months, I planned every little bit of my child's life. I put money away for the birth. I priced toys and clothes, and figured out exactly how much I would need to earn to care for my son. The impending welfare stint sucked, but it was the only way to truly provide for him and still get my college education. And then I had a dream.
For those of you who don't know me, I'll explain. I've always had prophetic dreams. Not very often, but frequently enough that I've learned to pay attention. That night I dreamed I was searching for my son's real parents. When I woke up in the morning, I told my mom, "I'm giving him up for adoption."
I was happy. I was at peace, and I was so full of love that morning. I knew his parents were out there, and it was my job to find them. Mom was incredibly supportive. She was looking forward to having a grandson, and she understood that it was my choice. So she did what any loving mom would do. She stood by me, and supported me, and never said a word about the loss she would feel. She was there when I awoke, crying in the middle of the night, because I missed my baby. She was there when my friends didn't know how to look at me anymore. And she was there when the telemarketers would call with their offers of free baby pictures and coupons for formula.
I stopped answering the phone when mom was home. She would pick up for me, and I'd hear her side of the conversation. "Hello?"..."No, this is her mother"..."The baby died. Please don't call here again."
I always wanted to cry out, "He's not dead! I gave him up for adoption and I'M PROUD OF IT!" Yet I knew mom was right. That little white lie was easier than dealing with their curiosity. Before I quit answering the phone, one telemarketer had actually tried to enroll me in a conversation about it. "Really?" she said, "Was it hard?"
I'm not a fragile person, but those first few months, I broke down all the time. I cried on my family, I cried when strangers looked at my recovering belly and asked, "Oh! Are you pregnant?" and I cried when I was alone. Hell, I'm crying right now, just writing about it. Sometimes it still hurts, but it's a strange kind of hurt. When I think of my son, I feel complete; whole. I had 6 months to love him as he grew in my womb. I had 2 days to hold him in the hospital. I have the rest of my life to know he is loved by the best people in the world. The people who are his real family.
How can I be sad about that?