The Pregnant Child

She managed to hide her pregnancy from her parents that summer—she left town to live with a friend and worked a summer job.

She wasn’t a bad kid. She was seventeen, an all-American girl, pretty, the daughter of a Baptist pastor.

She got pregnant.

It happened so fast that it confused her. She thought she was in love. She wanted to marry him. She envisioned a small house, a decent neighborhood, shutters, hanging ferns, and a swing set in the backyard.

He told her he wanted to to have the pregnancy “taken care of.”

It broke her heart. She wanted to keep it. He pleaded with her to end it. She refused. He pushed.

He drove her to the clinic in a bad part of town. They sat in the car. She cried.

“I can’t do it,” she said.

“You HAVE to do it,” he said.

And so it went.

A big argument erupted. She jumped out of his car. He sped off.

She never told a soul about the baby.

In fact, she even managed to hide her pregnancy from her parents that summer—she left town to live with a friend and worked a summer job.

She went into labor one July night. She remembers it like yesterday. She drove herself to the hospital.

It was a boy.

“Soon as I had him,” she said. “I wanted so bad to touch his face. That was an instinct, I think.”

But she wouldn’t. She told nurses to take him away, or else she’d never say goodbye.

She called an adoption agency. She signed papers. They took the baby. She left the hospital the same way she came. Alone.

It was the hardest thing she ever did.

She grew up. She went to college, she pleased her parents. She got married to a man who loved her. She had three kids. She drove an SUV. She lived her life.

And it was a good life, she should’ve been happy.

But.

“I always hated myself,” she said. “I mean, how can anyone give up a baby?”

She’s spent her life wondering. She wondered what color of hair he had, and what his parents named him. What kinds of foods he liked. And which sports.

“Sometimes,” she said. “I’d just pray God would let me feel some sorta connection with him, wherever he was in the world, but it never never worked.”

At age fifty, she told her parents about her pregnancy.

Fifty. It was long overdue. It didn’t go over well. Her mother was in shock. Her father left the room. She walked away liberated.

“Was like a huge weight lifted,” she tells me.

Two years later, more weight lifting. She got a phone call. A private investigator. A man who asked questions on behalf of someone looking for his birthmother.

After the conversation, she cried until she was out of tears.

Five days later, she drove to the airport. She wore nice clothes. She walked through double doors and hiked to an airline gate with her husband.

They waited. She watched passengers deboard. She saw him.

She covered her mouth. She ran. She threw arms around a six-foot-four stranger and told him she was sorry.

“There’s not a day that goes by…” she started to say.

But that was all she could get out.

Then she touched his face.

43 comments

  1. Bobbie - August 9, 2017 12:40 pm

    Pure joy!

    Reply
  2. Joanne Branson - August 9, 2017 12:41 pm

    Look forward to reading something from you every day

    Reply
  3. Donna Holifield - August 9, 2017 12:43 pm

    Beautiful!

    Reply
  4. Cathi Russell - August 9, 2017 12:43 pm

    Brave, brave woman/child. She did the best she could do for her child and I’m so very happy for her conclusion.

    Reply
  5. Jan Hammac - August 9, 2017 12:46 pm

    Beautiful. As an adoptive Mother I can fully relate to this love story. She made the right decision during a bad situation. Thank you (and her) for sharing.

    Reply
  6. Janis - August 9, 2017 1:19 pm

    What an amazing woman. It is really unfortunate that the Love of God preached by her father did not extend to his own daughter. But having said that, God’s Love was not limited nor constricted by her earthly father; and she overcame the challenges of the path laid out before her. Both of my brothers adopted, and I am forever grateful to their Mothers who chose to give up their infant son and daughter.

    Reply
  7. Darlene Rhodus - August 9, 2017 1:19 pm

    Another beautifully told story. Which I am sure is true for many of that generation.

    Reply
  8. John Hill - August 9, 2017 1:20 pm

    You know how to make a sixty-four year old man cry. Wonderful story. Sadly, however, too many mothers and their children don’t find each other.

    Reply
  9. Dora - August 9, 2017 1:21 pm

    This had to be the hardest thing she had ever done. I’m proud of her and so glad that she finally got to meet him. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  10. JANE L HUMPHREY - August 9, 2017 1:41 pm

    Beautiful story….brought tears to my eyes.

    Reply
  11. Frank - August 9, 2017 1:45 pm

    She is so blessed.

    My high school friend and later sister-in-law also gave up a child out of love. Her daughter had a happy, perfect childhood, always knowing she was adopted. As an adult, with her parents blessings, she went looking for her birth mother. Unfortunately, that search came to fruition a few brief months after her birth mother had passed.

    Even when I was young, before being a parent and understanding what being a parent means, I always thought her decision to have that baby and then give it up was one of the bravest, most unselfish things I’d ever witnessed.

    Reply
  12. Susan in Georgia - August 9, 2017 1:46 pm

    Omigoodness, tears burst out of my eyes snd I put my hand to my heart as I read the part about seeing her son and touching his face.. Praise God her choice was to give him life instead of the alternative.

    Reply
  13. William kapas - August 9, 2017 2:18 pm

    I was allso blessed to have been adopted the story really touch my heart. I was fortunate because I met my birth mother much earlier in my life and was able to have a relationship with both parents. Was a blessing for both and myself . all my adopted mother wanted was for me to have a good life and to respect her as my adopted mother.

    Reply
  14. Gregory L Dixon - August 9, 2017 2:19 pm

    Splendid essay.

    Reply
  15. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - August 9, 2017 2:54 pm

    Beautiful story! Thank God she didn’t succumb to pressure from her worthless boyfriend. I can imagine the hell she lived through knowing she’d had a child somewhere out there! How can a women tear a living child from her womb and simply discard it? I’m so happy it ended this way and her son and she were reunited!!

    Reply
  16. Linda acres - August 9, 2017 3:00 pm

    I wish this story could be printed in every newspaper in the world for every mother who gave up a child.

    Beautiful story telling, as ever. Thanks Sean x

    Reply
  17. everett prewitt - August 9, 2017 3:13 pm

    Beautiful

    Reply
  18. Pat - August 9, 2017 3:18 pm

    As a former labor and delivery nurse, I had patients that gave up their babies for adoption…I never judged them (not that I should) because I knew that they were going to make someone VERY happy!
    It does bother me though that after 50 years she told her parents and she felt liberated but what about her parents who were in the latter years of their lives. I feel for them.

    Reply
  19. Sandra Marrar - August 9, 2017 3:18 pm

    Another beautiful, touching story that made me cry.

    Reply
  20. Steve still - August 9, 2017 3:25 pm

    You have written perhaps the perfect line. “She walked away liberated.”
    Battery acid strong.

    Reply
  21. Jack Quanstrum - August 9, 2017 3:34 pm

    What a wonderful, absolutely beautiful story. Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  22. Wendy - August 9, 2017 3:36 pm

    Even though it took decades, how blessed she was to have met her son! Thank you, Sean, for the happy ending!

    Reply
  23. Traci - August 9, 2017 3:40 pm

    LOVE.

    Reply
  24. Bobby Hamil - August 9, 2017 4:41 pm

    Could not get through it before the tears welled up.

    Reply
  25. Debbie Galladora - August 9, 2017 4:58 pm

    wow…

    Reply
  26. Ruth Killough - August 9, 2017 5:46 pm

    Beautiful story… makes me want to read more about it!!

    Reply
  27. Gwen McGill - August 9, 2017 5:54 pm

    I am the daughter of a Baptist preacher. All I could do is rebel and run away from home. Thankfully, I have been happily married 43 years now and have learned with the help of a good counselor that our God is a lot more loving and forgiving and accepting than I was taught as a child. I love that the precious girl found or was found by her son! This post and all of your posts touch me deeply. Especially the one about Southern women. Made me cry so hard in the car the other day when I was listening to it again. Made me miss my momma who died a year ago.

    Gwen

    Reply
  28. Janet Mary Lee - August 9, 2017 7:42 pm

    One of your best Sean… as I think thru the tears. ….

    Reply
  29. Marty from Alabama - August 9, 2017 9:20 pm

    She finally had closure. God bless her.

    Reply
  30. Eddie Lanham - August 9, 2017 10:02 pm

    Many years past and she suffered. Meeting her boy, I am sure made her eyes leak, but now her soul is free of guilt.
    Faulkner’s famous axiom about history: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    Reply
  31. Teresa McClellan - August 9, 2017 10:17 pm

    Oh, I love this!

    Reply
  32. Mary Crenshaw - August 10, 2017 1:19 am

    Oh my gosh, i cried. As a mother, i can imagine her pain and her sense of loss, but i can’t really know it because I’ve never been put in such a hard sad situation. But the unbelievable joy and happiness she had when she saw his face, that i can feel. My son is a 20 yr veteran of the US Army. I know the feeling when he went to war in the desert, twice, and when he came home, the fullness of my heart was almost unbearable. God blesses in so many way.

    Reply
  33. Ruth Story - August 10, 2017 1:28 am

    Thank you for your beautiful writing. I so enjoyed this.

    Reply
  34. Norma - August 10, 2017 4:53 am

    Thank you for this essay. It didn’t happen to me, but I know someone who did have this experience.

    Reply
  35. ricardo gonzalez - August 10, 2017 1:57 pm

    my mother tried to abort me….failed….several times…failed…she did not have the money nor the time…she had three kids by then and she felt too old to have another kid….I was born premature…i could fit into a shoebox…the women in the family took time to hold me over a charcoal stove in the middle of their aprons…to keep me warm…
    I am now seventy five years old and happy…life has all kinds of things in store for us…and I was to learn to be a survivor…did…I am glad some women keep their babies and some fail to abort…ric

    Reply
  36. Donna Burson - August 10, 2017 7:35 pm

    Lovely…

    Reply
  37. Lucretia - August 18, 2017 1:25 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for being a true voice of the yet to be born children.

    Reply
  38. katyferry - August 19, 2017 10:20 pm

    Your writing is just beautiful. I’m from South Alabama too, and I live in Madrid. Your writing brings me back to home every damn time.

    Reply
  39. Shelby Blackerby - September 26, 2017 2:46 pm

    I’m glad she chose not to abort the baby. As sad as you feel for this girl, she made some couple happy to have a son. I have a grandson who was adopted as an infant and he is the joy of our life and his adopted parents life.

    Reply
  40. Maria Flynn - September 26, 2017 6:25 pm

    I love your story, but I also wonder what the ratio is of happily adopted infants to those that eventually end up in the foster care system. My mother raised four foster girls after we were grown, and she made herself available in emergency situations. Somewhere between 40 and 50 children passed through her life. It’s a miracle to me when our unwanted children grow up well and healthy.

    Reply
  41. Les Ennis - September 26, 2017 8:48 pm

    Damn. Just Damn Sean. I grew up and still live in Trussville. Can’t wait to bump into you some time.

    Reply
  42. lookingforhogeye - September 27, 2017 1:19 am

    I love this. It is the very best of bittersweet, life’s most original flavor. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  43. Nancy Miles - September 28, 2017 1:50 pm

    Oh my ❤️. I cried when I read this – for my older sister who, at 17 gave up a child. I cried for the relationship she never really got to have with him because by the time he found her she had a brain tumor and was not the same person he could have known. I cried for our family, who missed out on watching a pretty incredible guy grow up. I love your writing and the voice you give to people. Thank you.

    Reply

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