I didn’t want to get pregnant. A crazy night with an emotionally physical goodbye led to what I didn’t know then would be the hardest goodbye of my life. It was the summer of my sophomore year of college at a very small private liberal arts college. I was working two jobs to pay for the next semester’s tuition. I had loans for the air I breathed and was always struggling to make ends meet. I was living for free in the basement of a friends’ parents’ house, who made me tuna fish and toast for breakfast almost daily. I would come home on my lunch break in time to watch Murder She Wrote with her 70 year old parents while they made me tuna fish sandwiches for lunch.

Between working two jobs and ending a serious relationship, I was tired. I was so tired I went down to the basement and slept for nearly 24 hours, missing two entire episodes with Angela Lansbury. I got in the shower and could swear my boobs were getting bigger. They were sore and I figured I would start my period sometime soon. A week passed and still no period. Then one day at work I threw up what felt like and entire summer’s worth of tuna fish sandwiches. I started to get worried. I drove over to his house. When I showed up he was waiting on the door step. Somehow he knew. We both knew. We silently walked the block to the grocery store and bought every pregnancy test that said “accurate reading”. We went to his house and I went in to the bathroom. I’ll never forget that night.

Not but a few weeks later I started back at school. I moved back onto campus in upper classman housing with 5 other girls. I decided not to tell anyone my secret. I would be maybe 5 months along when the semester ended and I was sure I could hide it till then. Unfortunately my body didn’t want to go along with the charade. The first week back to school I was singing in a music class and passed out and hit my head on the cement floor. When I woke up I was so scared that I had lost the baby that I cried and yelled, without thinking, that I was pregnant. Soooo out went that secret. It was utter pandemonium. It started a long saga of health problems and mid lines and no chance possible chance of anonymity.

The better known I became on campus, the lonelier I felt. All I was, was the young pregnant girl, so all I became was a young pregnant girl. In my mind, the only thing I had for sure was this baby. This baby was the solution to all of my problems.

I was nearly seven months along when I gave up the dream of us getting back together. Wasn’t this God telling us that we weren’t supposed to part? As I contemplated the life I grew up in with a struggling uneducated mother, I couldn’t help but feel I had a cruel destiny ahead. I watched families with babies every where I went and I found myself yearning. I was told she was a girl and this destiny became unbearably real. Mothers told me they would live in a box on the street before they ever gave up their child. But this box was real, and I didn’t want her to grow up in it.

I decided I would just take a look at adoption. I didn’t know much about it and after learning about the process I decided to look at profiles of hopeful parents. When I wasn’t at the hospital for my health, or at class for my financial investments, I was reading profiles of perspective adoptive families.

After a lot of thought and prayer I decided I wanted to meet one family that stood out to me among the thousands. The moment I met them I knew it was right.

The day she was born I thought my heart would explode with love. I never knew I could love someone so much and so deep. When the time came three days later for me to give her to them, I just couldn’t do it. I dragged me feet and cried and whaled. How could I do this? How could I hand my heart to someone else? It was the hardest day of my life.

She is turning six years old this week. I see her about twice a year or whenever I’m in her state or she is in mine. She calls me on my birthday and I on hers. She sometimes writes me random emails or texts me with the help of her mom. She has an older sister and a younger brother and a life that most six year olds dream about.

I don’t braid her hair or make her cookies. I don’t sing her to sleep or take her to school. But I am a mom to her nonetheless and she will always have my heart.

And as for me, I’m now married (no not to him, but he found someone else too) and as happy as ever. We haven’t started our family yet but I know when the time comes that the love is inside of me, because I am already a mom.

From Anonymous. (If you have questions for the author, she let me know I can share her email address.)

PS  — Look at these amazing birth photos (like the one above) on Missy Lang’s blog. And here’s a series by Kim Borchert on why she decided to have a homebirth.

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Note from Design Mom: throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. I just had my baby and am taking a blogging break for a week or so. I’ve received so many wonderful stories and thought it would be great to post as many as I can during this little “maternity leave.” You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here.