Read the previous part of this story: During My Unplanned Pregnancy, I Thought I Was Beyond God’s Forgiveness
There are numerous reasons a woman considers placing a child for adoption. Whether she is single or married, a teenager or not, with a good support system or not so much, the ultimate decision to abort, keep, or place is one that will haunt her for the rest of her life. For me, I was 16 years old, with a loving, supportive family and an awesome boyfriend. I was simply too young. It was 1984 and choosing to place was a forever deal—closed and sealed with no choice about who the parents would be and with no option of ever seeing your baby again. This is my story about grief and healing but most of all, about love. I dedicate this series for all birth moms, whether their adoption was closed, partial, or open, for their sacrifice and grief and loss that is so profound and so deep and complex that even their closest loved ones don’t truly understand. May you find healing and peace.
Changing yourself is hard. In fact, it is probably the hardest thing there is to do. There is a reason why there are a million ways on the market to lose weight quickly and easily. It is because we don’t want to have to put in a lot of personal effort to change. We all know, however, that in order to lose the weight and keep it off, we truly have to change our thinking, our actions, and our lifestyle.
I was ready to change my thinking, my actions, and my lifestyle. As my belly grew, my inner peace also grew as I started to forgive myself. I was coming to the understanding of how much I was loved, by both my heavenly and my earthly parents. Being the center of gossip allowed me to recognize that there were only a few people whose opinions of me really mattered. I began to cling to my family and to my renewed faith.
While all of this was wonderful, there was a very serious problem—Robert. We loved each other—truly loved each other. I couldn’t imagine being able to breathe without him, and I knew that he felt the same about me. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but I was only 16 years old. I had plans before my forever started. I needed to graduate from high school, and I wanted to go to college. Pregnancy halted my silly girl thoughts of romance and “ever after” with the reality of what adulthood really meant.
After Robert and I had told my parents that I was pregnant, their attitude toward him changed. Before they weren’t very happy about me dating him and weren’t afraid to show it. Afterwards, they worked to be accepting. The first week of May, I had a doctor’s appointment, so I wasn’t in school. As Mom and I drove by the school, I noticed Robert’s car and smiled. Mom noticed and asked what I was thinking.
“It’s Robert’s birthday.”
Mom then did something completely unexpected. Instead of taking me home, she drove to the store. She said that we needed to do something special for Robert. She asked if Robert locked his car, and I told her that he usually didn’t. Mom then bought a few balloons and had me pick out a birthday card. She then drove me back to the high school and to where Robert’s car was parked. Of course, it was one of the very few times that Robert locked his car. Mom said, “This will be better anyway.” We then tied the balloons to the antenna of his car and tucked the card under the windshield wipers. About a half hour later, school was out, and I got a phone call from Robert, who was thrilled with his surprise. I felt like it was the beginning of Robert becoming part of my family.
The next evening, I had an appointment with the bishop who led our LDS congregation. He asked me what I really wanted in my life and who I wanted to be. I kept talking about what my family expected. At the end of the appointment, the Bishop had taught me that I needed to learn, for myself, deep down, who I was and what I truly wanted, not only for this life but for my eternities. He further explained that before I could move forward, I had to know where my destination was. He emphasized his point by saying that it’s hard to buy airplane tickets for a vacation if you don’t know where you’re going.
That night, I prayed. I prayed with my whole soul. I was earnest and honest with God and myself. I wanted to discover myself and find a way to believe in me again. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I’m not sure how long I prayed, but I know it was the longest prayer that I had ever attempted. As I prayed, a feeling of warmth began to descend. A pure knowledge that I was a literal, spiritual daughter of God came to me. An overwhelming desire was placed in my heart—a desire to return to my heavenly home. In order to do that, I knew I needed to truly repent and turn away from those things that were against God’s commandments.
I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I knew that he wouldn’t understand. He wasn’t of my faith and not having sex before marriage wasn’t emphasized in his church. I knew that in order for me to find real, lasting happiness, I was going to have to do something that would break both his heart and my heart. I was going to have to let Robert go.
Read the next part of this series: An Unexpected Question: Did I Want to Live at Home During My Pregnancy?