What is the most painful memory you have of her?

At 13, I became pregnant for the first time. After the initial shock, my parents sent me to Regina Residence (a local unwed mother’s home). My mother came to visit about 3 times; each visit left me feeling stressed and upset.

After the birth of my son (I named him Paul), my mother stopped coming to visit. I had had a C-section, and was required to stay in the hospital for a week. I had a roommate; whenever the nurses brought her baby into the room to visit, no one said anything to me, or brought Paul in.

After a couple of baby visit periods passed on that first day, I asked a candy striper why my baby wasn’t being brought into the room. She apologized, and brought him in; I held him for a few minutes.

Suddenly two nurses rushed into the room and took Paul out of my arms. One of the nurses tried to explain that Paul was going to be put up for adoption, and I was not allowed to “bond” with him. She said that it would be easier for me to sign the papers if I had not formed a maternal bond yet. I never held or saw him again.

For the next 2 days, I remained in the room where my roommate received her baby a few times per day. Eventually, the same nurse (who explained why I couldn’t see or hold Paul) came in and asked me if I wanted to switch to a private room. I agreed, and I moved to a room down the hall.

My mother came to take me home once I left the hospital. On the way home, I asked her who had decided to give Paul up for adoption.  She told me that she and my father could not afford “another mouth to feed.”

A woman arrived at our house with the adoption papers after a few months. I was told to wait in the den on the couch while the woman and my parents talked in the kitchen. While I waited, I decided that I didn’t want to sign the papers.

When they called me into the kitchen, I told them my decision. My mother said nothing while my father told me if I didn’t sign the papers, I would have to find somewhere else to live. I looked at my mother, and she said that signing the adoption papers was my only option. I refused to sign. My mother became angry and took me back into the den to “talk some sense into me.” She made it clear that she and my father were not kidding…if I didn’t sign the papers, I would have to leave right away.

I weighed my options, and couldn’t imagine how I would be able to find a place to live (while going to school, and taking care of a baby). I asked If I could have a picture of him. They agreed to give me one, and I signed the papers.

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