Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weighed, Measured and Found Wanting

"You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting." A Knight's Tale

This statement has stuck in my mind on many occasions. I realize that to a normal person hearing this may just bring to mind the movie reference, or a picture of Heath Ledger in Medieval garb (insert wolf-whistle here). For me it perfectly describes my own thought processes around the choice to place. Being "found wanting" for me has a double-meaning. Yes, I was lacking in knowledge, skill, maturity, financial security, etc.. but I also felt a desperate need (a want if you will) to give my child these things. As much as the statement seems to imply my lack of readiness, it also (IMHO) describes my desire for better opportunities for my son. He was the one person I could not live without, but also the only person who I was willing to give everything for.

I will not say the decision was an easy one, that would be an outrageous lie. I was dead-set to be the perfect mother for my son. I figured that where there was enough love it wouldnt matter how much money we had. I still believe that children born into poverty can become amazing individuals, and I do believe that love is a major need for all children. I also do not believe that my son would have ended up starving or unclothed with me. I know we would have had a community of family behind us. At first I was convinced that J. and I would get married, get jobs and have other children eventually. My little family would be perfect and all would be well with the world.

Unfortunately life is not the fairy tale I thought it would be and just because I had the capacity to be a mother did not mean I knew what was ahead for me. The first major turning point was the day I found out about J.'s infidelity. It was the first time I had been betrayed in that way and I had no idea how to deal with it. I never thought I would be one of those girls who clung to a boy to fulfill my life, and I knew that by forgiving him I was doing just that. I thought if I let go of him my dreams of family would be shattered. I couldnt deal with that. So I held on tight and tried to ignore the late nights, the lies and the mistrust. After a while it became habit, and even blatantly catching him didnt jolt me out of the illusion that he would change.

Then came the day when it was no longer just me being effected. One night J. was gone without a trace, I had no way to reach him and no idea where he could be. My heart pounded hard, and I may have been hyperventilating, I know I was crying. Every possible scenario ran through my brain, was he dead, stranded, lost, or was something more devious going on? I tried to sleep but couldnt relax, tried to watch a movie but couldnt focus. Early the next morning, after sleeping shortly, I woke up because the baby was doing cartwheels. I felt my stomach move furiously. Then stop completely. I was scared already, but tried to calm down and relax. I had pain in my stomach but thought it may have been from all that kicking. After almost 2 hours of no movement at all I told my mom we needed to head to the office of my CNM. We had called her at home and she encouraged me to come in right away, we were there less than 10 minutes after the office opened. Machines were strapped to me and my CNM checked my cervix. After about half an hour the baby started to move again and my CNM informed me I was having regular contractions. I was less than 7 months pregnant, but the stress was causing me to go into pre-term labor. I had already started effacing, and had to be given something to stop the contractions. I would be on bedrest for the remaining weeks of pregnancy, and would have to have periodic ultrasounds and visits with a specialist.

I went home with orders to rest and relax, and shortly after arriving home finally heard from J. He had been staying the night at a "friend's" who was female, but he claimed there was nothing going on and I was "being paranoid". I told him about the morning's excitement, and that I could no longer go to school. I think the fact that he was not there during this crisis finally drove home that the change I wanted would never be possible. I cried, and sat on my bed and tried to find the strength to call him back and say we were through. I felt weak and foolish, but I couldnt do it. So I talked to the baby, asked him what he wanted me to do.

I believed in God for alot of my life, but I also have a stubborn side that really needed freedom. Growing up in a religion with rules about pretty much everything, and being shunned by many after becoming pregnant, had given me a reason to step back from God for a while. For the first time in years I felt something I couldnt explain. I heard every piece of advice from every person who had asked if I considered adoption. My sister, my parents, friends, peers, and a counsellor/caseworker my parents had me going to. For the first time the idea took form in my head, and I didnt shove it to one side as usual. I thought about what life would bring in the next few years for me and my baby boy. Thought about separate houses, and parents fighting and coming to hate eachother. I thought about the strain on my own parents' finances, and how I would have to work and most likely quit school. I knew in my heart that J. and I would never make it together, we would tear eachother apart. Picturing my baby boy watching as his mother was disrespected over and over until she finally broke down and gave up on that future. Knowing the example his father would be, and the amount of time I would be away from him. It was like my life flashed before my eyes, and I knew that I couldnt bare all the dissapointment it would bring.

So, just for a moment, I tried on the choice. I would place him with parents who would love him just as I did, who would be together always and respect eachother. A father who knew that being a man was about the respect you can give others, and a mother who would have the heart and the experience to teach him about life. They would have fun vacations and holidays filled with laughter. Maybe I would be in their lives or maybe they wouldnt want that. It was like I could see their faces already, and I knew right then that this was not just something I was thinking about doing, but something I must do. It felt right even while my heart broke. I knew that if I chose his well-being over my own emotional needs I would never regret it. I WANTED these things for him. I had weighed and measured myself, and found myself wanting more for this child who I loved.

No comments: