I was deeply in love with the father of my baby. It was in 1970 when things "were different".

I was deeply in love with the father of my baby. It was in 1970 when things "were different". For various reasons, we were not able to marry or he be with me, although he wanted the baby. We lived in different countries. I knew I could not bring a baby up on my own. I had no-where to live except with my parents and my father was an alcoholic who ran a pub! I was brought up in a sound middle class family where an unmarried mother in the family was unthinkable. I arranged to have her adopted. When she was born, she was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I adored her and for ten days in the hospital I pretended that we would be going home together. I looked after her and nurtured her like any real mother. On the day the social worker came to take her for adoption and I was to leave hospital, I dressed her in a new set of clothes and kissed her goodbye, completely grief-stricken - desperately hoping that I would be able to get her back before legal papers were signed. It was not to be. She was adopted by a lovely couple and had a wonderful upbringing. There was never a birthday went by when I didn't think of her. I married but never had another child. Her natural father died a few years ago so I decided to let her know in case she wanted to find him and also, at last, to leave her details about me and the circumstances of her adoption. Also, I had always hoped we would be reconciled in later life and that she would forgive me for giving her up. After a few false starts, I eventually received the tragic news that she had died aged 22. My chance of making it up to her would never come now and I shall be forever ridden with guilt that I didn't leave her details on a file earlier. I have met her adoptive parents who are very nice but have obviously been affected by her death and have other family problems now. I have been to her grave and read the letter to her that I should have sent at the beginning. I am in therapy now, trying to cope with the "second loss" of my child and the guilt feelings that go with it. Do think carefully before adoption. It can be a joy for a childless couple but heartbreak for the natural mother. Editor’s note: Thank you so much for sharing your story…It must have been devastating to hear of your daughter’s death at so young an age, especially when you still had hopes of a relationship with her. Choosing adoption always involves loss and pain, but going through that loss and pain has to be supported by a heart-felt conviction that adoption is the best thing for your baby. It’s something that is done freely and sacrificially, without coercion or pressure, for the benefit of your child. It sounds very much as if you felt you had no choice about the outcome of your pregnancy. You felt you didn’t have permission to do what you really wanted to do and therefore felt you couldn’t keep your baby. This time is very much about grief, loss, anger and guilt for you, but these are not insurmountable. Over time, in therapy, you will be able to work through these emotions, tackle the issues of accountability and false guilt, discover forgiveness and let go. It takes courage to do what you are doing, but there is hope for you. We’ll be thinking of you.
This story was sent in on 08/03/2008

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