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.

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