Grief, shame and a beautiful daughter hidden for so long...

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My daughter was born in 1969, just after I finished high school at 18 years of age. Mired in shame and guilt I thought the only way was to give my child to 'deserving good people'. I had no counselling, felt so ashamed and could not see an alternative. Social pressure and the stigma attached to being pregnant and unmarried, was the most persuasive force which led me in the direction of adoption. That is, not so much feeling forced but not seeing any alternative as that was the way it was seen at the time: there was no consideration of, or support for the concept of keeping my child. This was intended to remain forever a secret, and was never spoken of within the family.
I felt very alone giving birth, and wept behind drawn curtains while other 'normal, good mothers' in my shared ward held and fed their babies, received visitors and gifts.
I was permitted to see my daughter in her humi-crib but was not able to hold her. She seemed an amazing miracle, so beautiful.
My recollection of signing papers is very hazy but I do recall signing.
I still have a terrible and guilt ridden recollection of my former boyfriend's mother by my bedside, begging me not to surrender my daughter. Emotionally I could not cope with that and simply put up a wall. To this day I regret that, as my daughter could have had a life with her father's family. I realise that I was behaving in the only way I could to cope, others were involved also in deciding my daughter's fate and that guilt should not be mine, but the tragedy of that still lingers.
I was compliant and did as advised: to pretend it had never happened and to 'just get on with my life.'
The grief remained hidden for over 30 years and the experience has damaged my sense of self as well as impacting my relationships and what I have done with my life.

 

Adoption has impacted my life enormously. Secrecy, loss and guilt are very damaging. Involvement with the Post Adoption Resource Centre in Sydney has aided me enormously in my journey. My adoption experience is part of me and I manage that by assisting with running a support group and speaking publicly.