THOUGHTS WHILE WAITING FOR THE BIRTH OF MY GRANDBABY
I’m sitting here on pins and needles, waiting for the phone to ring. Our son and daughter in law are expecting a baby boy and if he doesn’t show himself today, then they will induce labor early tomorrow morning. So he’s on his way!
Interspersed with my elated state are the feelings I am having while reading a new book called “The Girls Who Went Away” by Ann Fessler. It’s a really good book so far and when I finish it, I’ll write a proper review.
In the meantime, I can’t help but compare the happiness of having a baby now with how our mothers felt back then. What should have been a joyous occasion was turned into a shameful, disgraceful and gut wrenching experience for both mother and child.
One paragraph from Rickie Solinger’s book, WAKE UP LITTLE SUZIE, c1992, p.151, is imprinted on my brain forever. It’s so close to home for me. It was taken from a report by the Child Welfare League, 1939.
“The Doctor is sometimes less worried about the survival of the unmarried patient’s baby. Contrast the feeling of relief throughout the hospital when an illegitimate child is stillborn with the sorrow manifested when a much desired baby is lost. As [the social worker] points out, ‘Our culture is actually hostile to the illegitimate child whom it sees ... as a burden and as a menace to the monogamous family.’”
This kind of says it all when talking about not being wanted - BY SOCIETY!
Now I move on to a most joyful event that is also burned in my memory forever - the birth of our first grandchild in 2000. We got to the hospital about 6 hours after she was born.There was our precious granddaughter Ella, lying on her mommy’s chest, nearly burrowing herself back into her mommy’s womb. Seeing that moment was an epiphany for me. Infants, NEW BORN ones, already know their mothers. It cannot be otherwise.
Yes, I understand the past. I know that in most of the last century, unwed mothers didn’t have any support from family, friends, or strangers. They didn’t have a chance! No one was on their side and so they did what they were told to do. Give away their baby. They were forced into the prevailing theory that only by giving away their baby could they have salvation. Giving away their infant was a ticket back into society.
With our adoption history that is riddled with cruelty and sadness, you would think that people today might want to make up for a past society’s wrongs. You would think that issuing birth certificates to adopted adults would be looked upon as a kindly thing to do - sort of a way to “pay back something” for the actions of another generation. Maybe a way for society to say, "Hey, we're sorry about what happened to the mothers and their children. We'd like to give them a chance to at least get to know each other now." As New Hampshire State Senator Lou D’Allesandro, himself an adoptive parent said, “It’s the right thing to do.”
But society today still believes they are right about unwed mothers. They *know* without a doubt that God’s law was broken, and they also *know* that mothers and infants must suffer for their sins. And they still believe it in the year 2006.
Isn’t this a tragedy?