I wrote to my daughter’s mother today to tell her Happy Mother’s Day. Yes, you heard me correctly. I have a daughter, but I am not her mother. It pained me for years to say this, but it is the truth.
You see, I got pregnant and had a baby at 16. I wasn’t equipped to be a mom. I considered abortion, but by the time my mind really allowed me to realize I was pregnant, it was too late, and I don’t think I could’ve gone through with it anyway. So I did what numerous teen girls have done before me, and I put her up for adoption.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
I felt like a piece of my soul had been torn out of my very being. I felt incomplete most days, because I knew she was out there but she wasn’t a part of my life.
Some days I wanted to die it hurt so bad. Other days I thought her being gone was like a death, but worse because I didn’t know where she was or what was happening in her life.
I wanted to be a part of her life, but knew that I had to wait. I had to wait until she was at least 18 to start looking for her.
It didn’t take 18 years. Around her 10th birthday, her mother contacted me and she and I started a regular correspondence. She would send pictures and letters occasionally, and I would send gifts to my daughter. Her mother and I developed a friendship, born out of heartbreak – hers for not being able to conceive, and mine for giving away my child. Her mother was very appreciative of my sacrifice and knew what I had done hadn’t been easy.
When my daughter was 24 I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to extend a hand in case she was interested in getting to know each other, or I wanted to find some closure so I wasn’t sitting around wondering for the rest of my life.
I wrote my daughter a letter, telling her that if she was interested, I would like to get to know her, and if not, I understood and wouldn’t contact her again.
About a week later, I received a Facebook friend request from her and was elated! She and I began corresponding and getting to know each other. She wanted to know about my son, her half-brother, and was interested in some family medical history also.
We arranged to meet. She was so much like me it was scary. Nature wins out over nurture obviously.
I found out she was getting married within a few months, and she invited me, and my family to the wedding. It was bittersweet. I had to leave the venue and go outside to get a grip on my emotions.
It’s the oddest feeling to share DNA with someone, yet be on the periphery of their life.
I would say my daughter and I became friends of sorts. She came and stayed with me a couple of times, and my son and I would visit her.
Even though I knew that I wasn’t her mother–I wasn’t the woman who had raised her, who comforted her when she cried, who reveled in her achievements, who waited up to make sure she came home safely–I was the woman who had given birth to her. I was the one who carried her in me for 9 months. I was the one who held her, and fed her, and changed her diaper for 4 days before she left the hospital to go be with her new family.
Because of that, I wanted her to just one time, acknowledge to me that I had done those things. That I mattered because I gave her life. That I mattered because I let her go to parents who adored her and gave her an amazing life.
The last time I saw her she acknowledged me, but not like I had hoped.
“I wish you’d never had me!”
“Why didn’t you just abort me?”
“I wished I’d never met you!”
“I hate you and you’ve ruined my life twice!”
She walked away and never looked back. She and I have no contact now.
I won’t reach out again.
You might think that’s selfish, or immature. You can think what you like. You don’t know my heart or the hell I went through for years while missing my daughter.
Children break our hearts. Maybe your child broke your heart today, as my son did, with no “Happy Mother’s Day” utterance, no “You’re the greatest mom and I love you”.
He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be a parent and have a piece of your soul walking around in this world–knowing that as much as you love them, they are their own beings, and they will think, and do, exactly as they please regardless.
Maybe he will understand one day if he has children of his own.
Maybe my daughter will understand one day if she has children of her own.
Maybe, just maybe, she will be able to forgive a 16 year old girl, who was scared shitless, and felt like she had no other options.
But maybe she won’t. And that’s okay. Because I love her anyway. And I love my son too.
And because I love them, I forgive them.
We’re moms, we’re dads, we’re parents. It’s what we do.