It’s been 23 years since I had to say goodbye to you. I tried not to get to know you as you grew inside my 15 year old belly. In desperate times I even tried to imagine that you weren’t there, and that if I wished hard enough it would be true. The truth was I was 9 months pregnant and I had hidden that fact from everyone until 3 weeks prior. I know what you are thinking….how is it possible to hide a pregnancy for over 8 months? Looking back, I’m not sure how I pulled it off. It was the 90’s and baggy flannel was kind of the style. I managed to wear the same jeans throughout which caused me to carry you very high and I played sports. Softball, cheer-leading and even marching band. I know, crazy.
I wish I would have been stronger and trusted my parents enough to tell them earlier on. My decision would have been the same, but the months of trying to conceal what I was dealing with can take a tole on a kid. I was always the good kid, never in trouble and not the one that ends up pregnant at 15 years old. The thought of disappointing my parents was almost more than I could bare. The people pleaser in me has been around since birth. Ugh. When I told them, after the shock wore off and I finally convinced my Mom how far along I was, they were amazing. They hugged me and told me it was going to be okay. My Dad didn’t yell like I expected. Trust me, you should have been there the time I brought a C home in in math in 7th grade. All they did was love me like I needed to be loved.
I had a plan. Yes, even at 15 I had a plan, and there was probably a to-do list. I was just a kid and I knew I could not be the kind of Mother that you needed, and definitely not the Mother that you deserved. I wanted the world for you and I didn’t have it to give. My Mom was so disappointed and I think up until the day you were born, she thought I would change my mind. It wasn’t a selfless decision, and in a lot of ways I have always felt very selfish. I wanted to go to college and have a career. How in the world could I do that in a cornfield town with a toddler? I wanted out of my hometown. I wanted to travel and have experiences and make something of myself. I wanted to be someone you would be proud of one day.
The day you were born is still a blur to me. I don’t remember the contractions, or the epidural (though my Mom said that it was the easiest labor she had ever seen). I don’t remember pushing, but I remember that first cry. I remember thanking God that you were okay. I remember when the nurse placed you in my arms for the few minutes I got to hold you. You were perfect. I knew at that moment I had to say goodbye because you were not mine to keep and that memory was what I would have to hold onto forever. There hasn’t been a day that has passed in 23 years where you haven’t crossed my mind. I want you to know you were loved from the day I realized your were there and you are loved now. Happy Birthday sweet girl.