A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Toughest Award I've Received Yet


My sweet and special sister of a friend, Sheilagh at Sixty Is Good, listed on my blogroll, passed this adorable award on to me today.  I read the rules of receiving this award and was immediately brought to tears.  I copied them from her blog to paste them here:

The Rules for Eligibility are:


1. Answer the question,

"If you had one chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

2. Pass on to six people and inform them of the award.


Oh my goodness.  There's so, so much I would change if I had the chance.  I did so many things wrong in so many ways.  I've done a lot right....but the things I've done wrong can really be haunting.  My mind was flooded with a plethora of things that I would change if I had the chance to go back, but it really only took a second to know which one I would choose. 

The one thing at the top of the list that I would have done differently is keep Brittany, instead of giving her up for adoption.  I was so naive growing up.  So ignorant...maybe shielded...to the ways of the world.  I was 18 years old when I got pregnant with Brittany.  I was just out of high school and working 20 hours a week at a yogurt shop making $4.25/hr.  My math skills were telling me I didn't have the financial ability to raise her.  I regretted getting pregnant so young...but it wasn't that I hated the baby.  I didn't.  I just didn't think I could do it on my own.....I didn't think I could afford to....and it felt so unfair in my mind to do that to a child.

I truthfully didn't know what welfare was.  I had heard the word tossed around in political discussions...but knew nothing of actually obtaining it for myself....I didn't know about things like W.I.C. and other things offered to raise a child in poverty.  The only thing I had to compare Brittany's raising to in my mind, was my own raising.  I had 2 loving parents...still married to this day...and both of them always worked.  We weren't rich, but we had plenty of money to meet all of our needs...my sisters and I were involved in extracurricular sports, and dance classes, etc.....things that take money.  That was my "normal".  I didn't have any money....so I didn't see how I could give Brittany a "normal" life.  In my mind, it was just an impossibility.

My first thought was abortion.  I had the appt. set and the money to do it.  I was scared out of my mind and I didn't want to go through with the pregnancy....even to adopt her out.  I just wanted the "problem" to go away.   My mom, my best friend Pam, and my cousin Veronnica all talked me out of that decision.    I thank God for them.  They knew me better than I knew myself, and they knew that I'd never be able to live with that decision in the days, weeks and years to come.  They were so right. 

Going through that pregnancy for all those months....dealing with everything that it entailed...breakdowns in family relationships, constant sickness from morning sickness to toxemia that put me on bed rest flat on my back from Month 6 onward....feeling the baby move and kick inside me...fighting with all of my might the bond that was being created between me and my child....because I knew she wasn't going to be mine in the end.  It was a living Hell. 

After the birth and the adoption were over with....I spent a lot of time praying for peace.  I felt like a monster for giving her away....who gives away their own flesh and blood?  I do.  Because I couldn't see any other way in my young, naive 18 year old mind.  As I aged, I learned.  I found out that I could have made it on government assistance.  I could have even gotten government assistance to go to school....and I'm betting I could have worked out the babysitting with my sisters and mom to get an education and do right by Brittany.  I learned a lot.....and I regretted a lot. 

I lost something that day...I was going to say a little piece of me died, but really, it was a big piece.  There is a void in my heart that will never be filled....something that will never be right..never be whole or complete.

I'm one of the lucky ones though.  I have the good fortune of  knowing where Brittany is and that she's doing okay.  I know that she doesn't hate me...and that she understands my situation back then as best she can.  We exchange a few words about once a month over Facebook.  I try not to intrude on her life...and she hasn't asked to meet me in person.  But she's always cordial and polite....and she knows I'm here.   But if there were only one thing that I could change in life....that would be it.  I would have kept my baby girl.

And there are other things that I learned as I aged.  There are plenty of people out there that can't have children....and sometimes people in bad situations like I was are their only hope.  My young mistake was someone else's miracle.  So although I thought of myself as a monster for a while....I eventually matured enough to leave that kind of thinking behind, and appreciate my hand in having another couple's dream come true....the blessing of a child. 

I'll complete the rest of the requirements and pass this award on to 6 others in my post tomorrow.  :)

21 comments:

  1. Wow!!! What an endearing post...and obviously one of the many reasons you were bestowed this award! Congrats on the award--well deserved...and answering the question...well, it's left me speechless!!! What a truly special and remarkable person you are!!!!

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  2. I just wanted to drop in and give you some perspective from the other side of what happened. My husband and I have been trying for 8 years to get pregnant with no success. I have PCOS and a variety of other woman issues. In 2007 we signed with an adoption agency who promised us great things and never delivered. They were actually liars, and the whole ordeal was so heartbreaking that I needed a break and we haven't even talked about it since. I do know the struggle that women who can't have babies go through and I can ASSURE you without a doubt in my mind that "monster" is NEVER a word that the couple who was blessed with Brittany would use to describe you. To them, you are an angel on earth. I know that doesn't help take the pain away from you missing Brittany, and I'm not sure if that can be taken away, but pleased don't ever think of yourself as a monster. You did the best that you could and in doing so you made the dreams of another couple come true. =)

    Just some ramblings.

    <3 Katie

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  3. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here, Tammy. It has to be a painful piece of your life, but you did the best you could at the time with the welfare of your child always placed first. Remarkably courageous. I pray for you to find peace with this, and that as the years go by, Brittany wants to have a relationship with you. It must help to know that this is all in God's hands.

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  4. Big hugs! That had to be so hard to just write that all out. I have to agree with those above. You are not a monster.

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  5. *big hug* Glad you know she's ok.

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  6. Wow Wow Wow Tammy!

    What a heart wrenching post... I can give you another perspective too. You did the right thing IMHO and you are NOT a monster.

    I don't know if you have been reading my blog at all but I am adopted and just found my biological family that had been looking for me for 35 years. My bio mother is dead but if she were alive I would tell her she did the right thing by me and I am not angry, sad or upset that she gave me up. She was not at a financial or mentally stable time in her life back then.

    My A-parents could not have children and it was a blessing for them to bring home a healthy baby boy and girl. Brittany was a blessing to her A-parents too.

    BIG hugs to you!!!

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  7. You asked, "Who gives up their own flesh and blood?" The answer is: someone who has more love than selfishness.

    It seems to you now like you could have managed. Now it seems like it wuold have been best for your heart. But, would it have been? Really? Now, you're an adult with adult skills and an adult's experience. You didn't have that stuff at 18.

    You gave your baby life and a home that had two parents and did not depend on government assistance. It was probably not a perfict home--and it was not your home--but it was an act of selflessness. You carried a baby, allowed her to live, did what was best for her. Not for your heart, but for her.

    I do realize that there were "selfish" aspects to that decision, but I challenge you to consider those aspects as facing the reality an 18 year old had and making wise decisions.

    I do see that you have been able to appreciate your gift to the parents by providing them a miracle. That miracle was at great cost to you. Your current pain is proof that your love was greater than any other motivation. It may not have felt like that then, but the proof is here now.

    Appreciate that 18 year old's courage and honor and sacrifice. She did what was right and good--at great cost.

    Deb

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  8. Wow, Tammy ... I don't know how to respond, especially since I haven't walked in your shoes. I do know that as a mother that you do have to make some tough decisions and yours was probably one of the toughest. Also as a mother I know that all is well when we know our children are doing okay. I know you find solace in that. I think we have all grown closer to each other by your post today. Thank you for sharing this difficult time of your life.

    ~Sheilah

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  9. You did what you had to do at the time, knowing what you knew then. Though I can relate to that void of which you speak. :-(

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  10. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of your heart. You gave your daughter the most wonderful gift of life, and you made your decision based on your love for her and your desire that she have the best possible life. What a blessing for you to know that she's doing well. Thanks again for sharing. ;-)

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  11. Thank you for so bravely sharing this difficult decision.

    "Monster" is the last word I would use to describe you.

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  12. Gosh Tammy, your post has brought tears to my eyes. How courageous of you to share this personal story with us. Its wonderful that you are able to know Brittany and see how her life has turned out. It is never too late to begin a relationships with someone in your life. I had my daughter when I was 18 too. I understand how overwhelming it is when you are just a child yourself. Don't ever beat yourself up for making the decision that was in your daughter's best interest.

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  13. You are amazing. You have shared something very private and in doing so I'm sure touched a lot of people. As an adoptive mom, I know first hand what an angel you are.

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  14. Thank you for sharing your story, Tammy. I have a friend that the absolutely same thing happened to in high school. She now knows her son and her granddaughter. She made the right decision at the time.

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  15. I think you are special. :0)
    You did what you had to do with the knowledge you had.
    It takes a mighty big person to put someone else before themselves.
    THX for sharing Tammy. (((hugs))))

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  16. Doesn't it speak volumes that she doesn't desire to see you? It should tell you that you made the right decision. It tells me she is very happy with her life. You should be so proud of yourself. You provided her with a wonderful life. Thanks for sharing your touching story.

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  17. We we have a lot in common... I had my oldest at 18 and was alone with no support as well

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  18. Nah, you're not a monster. Not in the slightest. What you did was not selfish or uncaring, it was just responsible, pragmatic, and what you thought was best at the time. "Monster's" a word that would be a lot better suited to me for what I did with my daughter. Lucky for me I don't care a lot about what other people think. And it was really hard at first, but eventually the pain went away and I was good again. :) I just hope that I don't regret what I did when I'm a lot older. I don't think I will, but I guess I won't know for a while. It's good that you know Brittany and are sure that she's doing well and has a loving family. Also remember that what you did blessed the family that got to raise her so much. Not a lot of people can say that they gave that great of a gift to someone, but you did. :)

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  19. I have two adopted daughters who I love with all my heart. I cannot tell you how much your gift meant to people like my family and me. I understand your pain and your regrets. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank-you for sharing your pain with us. Michele at http://ruminationsasiuncoverthewomanwithin.blogspot.com/

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  20. WOW is all I can say about all of that. You are so brave to have shared this story. *hug*

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  21. Thank you for sharing this post with everyone. Like many of your other commenters, I adopted a son after facing infertility. I admire birthfamilies so much. Your decision will be with you forever, which is why you feel that there is such a missing piece of your heart. But please, please, please remember that you are so unselfish and also so compassionate to others that you have forever changed the lives of many people in such amazing ways.

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