I was only 19 when I was manipulated into placing my first child for adoption. I faced being homeless or staying with my boyfriend, an older man who regularly beat and raped me. My family refused to help me. The only people who would convinced me I wouldn’t be a good enough mother. The adoption agency lied to me, and even withheld legal rights I have in my state. But they told me how amazing and mature I was being. They told me how I was being such a good mother by giving my son up for adoption. And I bought it all. Afterwards the social workers who called themselves my “friends” abandoned me. I went back to my abusive parents who said I could come home now that I had placed my baby.

About two years before losing my son I lost was repeatedly raped and lost my virginity. Several months later I received a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was acute at the time and my psychiatrist expected me to recover. Once I lost my son my PTSD became overwhelming and chronic. I am now 100% legally disabled by it. I am unable to consistently leave the house, much less return to work. Having been abused all my life I had always had hope for the future, for people, for myself. But once I realized people could stoop so low as to lie to a person to take their child I began to distrust everyone. What kind of people could do that? What kind of society allows that to happen?

My son is now 8 and wants a relationship with me. Unfortunately contact with my son destroys me. It triggers PTSD flares, flashbacks, nightmares, and I regress. I feel I can’t connect with my 2nd child for weeks around having contact with my son. All of a sudden I’m 19 and scared again. Afraid if I don’t please the adopting family and the adoption agency they will send me back to my abusive boyfriend.
None of this means I don’t desperately want to have a relationship with my son. I fantasize about him “coming home” and still see him as MY son. I love him so very much and that’s what makes it hurt so badly. If I didn’t care about him I wouldn’t have cared about losing him.

I think of my son him daily. And it’s not just the left over stretch marks from gaining 60 pounds that I have yet to loose or the cigarette burns and other scars left behind from his father that remind me. It’s the horrible emptiness I feel in the spot he has in my heart that tells me every day I won’t ever “get over him”. How could I? Even if I can’t have a relationship with him because of the severe psychological duress it causes me, he’s my son and I will always love him.

I had previously had an abortion and sought another when I first found out I was pregnant; but I was shamed and guilted into continuing the pregnancy. For the first 3 months I felt absolutely no connection to the growing embryo. Once I did there was no going back, and for the next 6 months I was able to find happiness and peace in being a mother. The pain of the adoption was worse than the repeated rapes and torture I endured. The wounds from losing my son have not even begun to close. And unfortunately the pain isn’t something that only I carry, my son, husband, and other child all suffer severely from the loss created in our lives from adoption. Adoption may have completed someone else’s family but it tore not just my family, but my life, apart.

I feel I should have been empowered to abort the embryo while it was barely developing. I feel all women should have access to safe and legal abortions so that they may make the decision that fits their life as soon as possible when facing an unplanned pregnancy. I feel that if a woman wants an abortion she should not be guilted so that she relents. I am prochoice because I wish I had been able to actually make my own choice- and I don’t want another woman to ever go through what I did. Although I wish I had never had to have an abortion I made peace with my choice and hope to never face it again. The adoption on the other hand has completely shaken my world view. If faced with another pregnancy conceived by rape I would easily make the choice to abort, but I would never wish the loss of adoption on anyone.