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. :)