A man in his fifties answered the phone, and a woman said, after formalities, “I found your name on ancestor.com. We have matching DNA.” She also said his brother had the same DNA. Since the two men had different fathers, they knew they needed to visit their mother.
Sure enough, their mother, between marriages in the late-sixties, gave birth to a baby girl. She nor her parents told one single person of the pregnancy or adoption, not even her second husband. The son receiving the initial contact took his family to meet his newly found half-sister/aunt.
It brought to mind a similar story of a friend who found herself pregnant as a freshman in college in the late fifties. Her family sent her to a home for unwed mothers where the infant daughter was adopted out. Again, she and her parents told nobody. In her mid-sixties, she received a phone call, and along with her husband and two grown daughters met the daughter/sister only she knew existed.
In both stories, family conversations centered around what she looked like, what she did for a career, did she want to be a part of the family, did she have kids, and what was next? All I could think about was the two mothers.
Both women lived in the days where guilt (I did a terrible thing) and shame (I am a terrible person) were powerful forces with unwed pregnancies. Neither felt they had a choice, within the culture, to be honest, and keep a baby when they were not married. They also lived forty to fifty years with the burden of a secret and without somebody they trusted to share the truth and not be rejected or judged.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, let us not forget the mothers who didn’t get the chance, for whatever reasons, to hug the children they birthed. I would guess their daily love, and concern for the child never faltered. I think they are champions of inner strength and I’m glad our current culture is more accepting of welcoming little miracles, even though the timing might be off.
As I remember the mothers who made the impossible choice, I am more grateful for my opportunity to raise three remarkable adults. They taught me lessons of true love, fear, trust, sacrifice, compromise, and total rewards.
To ALL mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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