The Shame

Almost 43 years ago, I was born. Born to a single unwed mother.

An illegitimate bastard child.

As was the protocol for those times, my mother was sent away to a town she had never been to, and lived with people she had never met.

And after she had given birth to me, was forced to surrender me for adoption. There was no other option.

21 years ago this week, I gave birth to my first born. I was a single unwed mother.

I was not sent away, I was pleased for this unplanned surprise.  I learned the passion a mother feels when feeling the movements of her unborn child. I felt a love for this little being I had never met that I had never experienced before and before she made her appearnace into this world, knew I would move heaven and earth for her. She was my child. I kept her. I was not forced to surrender her for adoption. I had choice.

Last night I found out that my niece is pregnant with her first child. An unplanned surprise. She is a young, single unwed mother.

And as I was told the news, I watched the reaction of my mother. I have seen it before.

Shame.

There is a shame that still lingers in the minds of a different generation.

I don’t really understand it.

If I had been MARRIED and fell pregnant at 21, it would have been celebrated. Instead, this was a travesty. Yet, looking at the older generation last night celebrating my first born’s 21st, there was no shame and only a deep, intense love and pride for this amazing young woman that I am so proud to call my daughter. This illegitimate bastard child.

My mother recounts with my love and joy the moment she saw my first born arrive. She was part of it all.

Last night, my mother finally sat down and said “I don’t know how to tell you this.” And told me my young niece is pregnant. I heard my mother share how we had to make the best of a bad situation. How it is such a nightmare.

Who says it is bad?

My niece will now be a mother. A young mother. And she will have to make the sacrifices that all us parents make when we have children. And parents everywhere, no matter what their age is, make sacrifices.

I look at my brother who raised her on his own and do not consider him a ‘bad dad’ because his daughter is pregnant.

There is not and should not be any shame.

This is new life and all new life, regardless of the circumstances, should be celebrated.

My life would have been so much different if I had not fallen pregnant at 21. But does that mean it would have been better? Or just different?

There is no shame in creating life. Yes, the circumstances might not be ideal, but new life should always be celebrated.

I guess I say this as a result of being tired of being ashamed for being born. I was put on this earth and am as valid as any other person. The circumstances of my birth should not impact on how people view me.

So I have bought wool. I am going to knit for this precious great niece/nephew who will be arriving in Jan. And I will carry no shame.

Only pride and love.

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2 Comments »

  1. river said

    I see no shame in your story. My own mother wasn’t ashamed exactly, more concerned, when my eldest daughter had two children before getting married to their father. (Both grandchildren were part of the wedding party.) She kept asking me if they’d set a wedding date, when were they getting married? I remember telling mum, it’s up to them, not me. I certainly wasn’t ashamed. Years later, reading through my family tree, I discovered that my mum herself was illegitimate, being 6 months old already when her parents wed. Ha Ha. Who really cares? The important thing is we got born!

  2. Mistress B said

    There but for the grace of God…… or rather my mother who refused to give me up for adoption even after getting kicked out of home for being pregnant.

    It’s funny though, she’s very pragmatic about illegitimate grandchildren but still doesn’t want ppl to know that I am too lol

    Yes the shame definitely needs to go.

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