Today I nursed my grandson

Today, April 4th 2019 is 18 years after I wrote the following and I feel that it is a significant day to post this.
Happy 18th Birthday Fraser – from my heart to yours, always.

 

Today I nursed my grandson.

Not such an unusual thing you may think.

I had flown from Sydney to Melbourne to meet him the first 24 hours after his entry into this world

As I had my private encounter with him I looked into his face & remembered a time long ago …

 

A decision made under pressure with no clear understanding of the choices I had before I made that decision – a world away from now

A world where an unmarried, pregnant, just turned 18 year old had only two choices & they both started with A

 

Having overcome the first obstacle and refused the pressure of the first A – abortion

I could see no other way, as a ‘good’ Catholic girl, than to go with the second A

Having resisted the first A there was only one option and that was the second A – adoption

I was sent away so no-one would know my shame and referred to by my middle name

I gave birth a scared 18 year old who had no idea what was going to happen to her

I had gone through the pregnancy with no idea of what was happening to my body

In hindsight I believe it was thought that if we knew nothing we would not be involved in the process and therefore have no emotional attachment to the outcome of our labour

For 36 hours I lay flat on my back on a hard labour table

With no kind word, no comforting hand to hold nor wipe my brow

Just people irritated with me for not knowing how far apart the contractions were

The pain was in my back, I had no idea what I was timing

No food, no comfort and no water until near the end they realised I was dehydrated and gave me orange juice

Then the labour got serious. Baby came out one end and the orange juice the other – all over my long hair

Still no kind word, just harshness even though I warned them I needed a bowl

By the time the baby was delivered I was too exhausted to care when they told me it was a boy

No cuddle, no look, no connection as they whisked him away

Just more indignity and pain as the doctor performed his stitching handiwork

 

Oh what a difference 30 years makes

This little darling came into a happy, expectant world

With tears streaming down his daddy’s face

No harsh, irritated voices did his mother hear as she handled her labour pains

Just comfort, encouragement and above all love

 

Today I nursed my grandson

As I gazed into his beautiful face through my tears

I realised I had no anger left in me

Just an overwhelming sadness

Sadness for what might have been

Sadness for what could have been

If only the ‘adults’ had let us make our own decisions

They thought they were doing the ‘right’ thing

They did their best given the norms of society

 

I did put my baby up for adoption

And then some act of fate intervened

Three days before the thirty days was up

I revoked my consent

All due to an article in one of those ‘silly’ women’s magazines

Something for which I will be forever grateful, no matter their critics

The article allowed me to see that other girls had done it – and so could I

 

I watched the reaction to the news of my son’s impending parenthood – the anticipation & excitement

And contrasted it to the news of his own

I thought of what could have been

I watched the excitement and generosity surrounding the latest birth

And contrasted it with the first

 

No anger left

Just sadness

No longer overwhelming

Just tears rolling down my face

No sobs, no pain, no anger, no resentment – just a small regret at what could have been

 

I look at the father of my grandson

And look at the beautiful man he has become

Someone who was able to see the birth of his son through his tears

Not tears of anger, nor tears of pain

Just tears of joy, and pride, and feelings he had no words to explain

 

Today I nursed my grandson

As I looked into his beautiful face

I remember the words a friend of mine said on hearing of his birth

“The decision you made all those years ago has resulted in this.”

What an honour it has been.

 

Today I nursed my grandson

And I thanked him for helping me to heal the wound that had festered for 30 years

 

Today I nursed my grandson

The result of a decision I made nearly thirty years ago

Today I nursed my grandson

And today I am free.

 

Today I nursed my grandson

Today I looked into the face of an angel

 

Tonight the tears I have shed have washed my soul.