Some birthmothers got pregnant during long-standing relationships with men they love. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my story, and it isn’t the story of many other women who have chosen to relinquish their babies. A lot of relinquishments, I’ve noticed, contain at least some element of shame. It’s as if we were trying to redeem ourselves by letting the baby go.
As for me, I had sex just one time with a man I didn’t know well. I hadn’t been sexually active for some time, and wasn’t at all intending to have sex with this person, so I wasn’t on birth control. We immediately regretted our intimacy. Though he is a fine person, I never expected to be tied to him for life through our mutual child. During my pregnancy, a large part of the leaning toward adoption was based on the undesirable circumstances of my pregnancy.
To start with, I couldn’t picture how I would raise this child that came from a virtual stranger; I worried that I wouldn’t love my baby since I didn’t love the father. And I feared my life becoming intertwined with that of a man I didn’t even know. I was terrified that I would be bitter if I did all the hard work of parenting and Dad swooped in for only the fun stuff. I thought that by relinquishing, I would solve all these problems and cut the ties to J.
Of course, I’m still tied to him, regardless. And surrendering merely changed one set of problems for another. Given the choice again, I would go back in time and change things.
But one-night stands are not the only shame-based situations.
In another type of scenario, some women get pregnant while having affairs. They surrender because they feel they can’t ask their husbands or partners to raise a child that isn’t theirs. This makes true openness hard, but I have seen this situation work successfully. What has to happen first is for everyone to come clean, and forgive one another. Not everyone can do this.
(continued in next post)