My most cherished position in life has always been motherhood. Once I became a mother, I prayed for wisdom, especially with regards to making the best decisions for my children. Never did I imagine soon after giving birth to my second daughter that I’d be faced with the toughest decision of my life thus far. My baby girl was only a few weeks old when I experienced one of the most tragic events of my life. I ran to my mother’s house for help and to my surprise, she slammed the door in my face. Alone and afraid to leave my apartment for days, I sank into a deep paralyzing depression. Unable to move from my couch, I sat watching my two year old desperately trying to care for her baby sister. Making bottles along with changing her diaper leaving trails of formula and poop, yet doing the very best she could. Then one night I looked over at them both as tears streamed down my face thinking this was not fair to either of them. I needed to do something.
One particular evening ended in tragedy when my neighbor, who was also the property manager of my complex was shot in the head just outside our doorway. I knew anytime I saw the bald man with the blood-shot eyes who was always drenched in sweat and wreaked of alcohol, there would be trouble. I ran to my neighbor’s aid, but instantly knew there was nothing I could do to save him. The bullet fom the .22 caliber handgun had caused extensive damage. I held his head with my right hand as he gasped for air, while holding his hand with my left. Looking towards his front door, witnessing fear in the eyes of his wife and children, I asked him to squeeze my hand if he could hear me. Although he was breathing uncontrollably, there was no response which I secretly suspected there wouldn’t be due to a large portion of his brain literally spilling into my hand as he took his final breath.
I knew exactly who this bald sweaty individual was. We’d had several encounter’s since I’d moved to the area. At every oppertunity he’d harass me in an attempt at trying to convince me to go out with him. I also knew what kind of gun he carried since he’d pulled it on me before so I didn’t hesitate when police asked for witness statements. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before notes of bomb threats were being left at my door. Attempts were made to run my daughter and I down with their cars while walking in the neighborhood. Threatening phone calls and then one day while outside on my lunch break, the brother of the suspect put a gun in my back warning me that I better not testify. Obviously there’s much more to this entire experience. Being alone and afraid, not knowing who to turn to or who I could trust spiraled me into a depression. Eventually the D.A. on the case made sure we were safe. The trial went on for seven years causing us to basically go into hiding, changing our lives dramatically. I didn’t realize I was experiencing depression. I simply thought I was being a bad mother and had done something wrong knowing that my infant daughter deserved the attention I was unable to force myself to give her, ultimately resulting in putting her up for adoption. A decision I truely felt was the best for her at that time.
My baby girl is twenty-nine now and after all these years I still question weather or not I made the right decision eventhough she has told me she understands. Never really having anyone to talk to about it, I simply kept everything inside and would keep a journal of my thoughts in hopes of one day giving it to her. There were times I was so angry and blamed my mother, asking myself why didn’t she ever once ask was I sure of my decision or even at least try to talk me out of it. I realize my choice wasn’t her fault, I only wanted some form of support. Then there were times in later years where my eldest daughter and I struggled. I’d question if I should’ve given her up as well so that she may have a better life. Their dad was away in the Navy and had no idea what I’d been through. Although we were never an actual couple, we were fairly close until he began struggling with his own depression. I often wondered what he would think or feel about a decision “I” had made without consulting him first. In 1997 I had a son. I only ever wanted a boy beacause I “thought” a boy would be easier to raise. As happy as I was to finally have my son, I was also overwhelmed with guilt. How dare I have another kid after giving one up. One thing I was sure about was not having anymore children so I took the necessary precautions to ensure I wouldn’t.
For quite some time when people would ask how many kids I have, my answer was two, until my first born grew older and asked why I never count her sister. It sounds silly now, but I didn’t believe I had the right to since legally she belonged to another family. There was also the issue of an explanation expected of where the third child was if/when I did count her. Besides, when people would ask, regardless of the circumstances that led to my decision, I soon began to feel there is no reason worthy of such a difficult decision as giving up my child. Young and ignorant, all I knew to do was pray for forgiveness. I had to forgive myself, I prayed that my two children with me would forgive me for seperating them from their sister. I also prayed that my baby girl would one day forgive me while knowing in her heart, I love her and did what I believe was best at the time. Eventually, I was able to finally forgive myself. There have been several accounts in my life where I had to let go and forgive, lifting such a heavy burden. My hope is that my baby girl will be able to forgive me, not for me but for her. I don’t want her to carry that extra weight on her heart. Mark 11:25 says, “if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you…”.
Note: (not sure why the option for caption didn’t appear this time) The above image is a an article from People Magazine (Pg.36 1/1/93) of my baby girl and my great aunt (sister of my mother’s mom who I never met due to her early death, also the reason my mother went to live with my great aunt as a child), as guest at Clinton’s inauguration. She was his nanny, the role of many black women in the south. Her influence on his up-bringing was apparently significant in his life because they stayed in contact. He’d visit on occassion for some of his favorite meals she cooked for him growing up, even attending her funeral from what I’ve been told. This article was sent to me anonymously although I have a good idea of who it was. When I finally got the courage to inquire about it, years later, I found out that my mother actually went to school with former President Bill Clinton and sometimes played together. For my mother, ignorance is bliss. When I asked why she never mentioned that she knew Clinton, she responded very non-chalant that it was no big deal, he was just another kid that was around, yet describing his personality and character vividly in such a positive light. One of many reasons I became motivated in learning my family history and tracing my ancestors, we simply never know what beautiful truths will be discovered.