The Thing About Decisions

Last night I dreamed of some of the decisions I’ve made over my lifetime. They weren’t laid out like they actually happened.

Most dreams aren’t. They are a compilation of fiction and reality and mixed like a scattering of thoughts.

Sometimes we make decisions over time. And sometimes they are split second decisions.

Some decisions take us a while to come to.

When I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I was an underage teenager. I had no home. My boyfriend walked away. I could have the baby or an abortion. The odds that my life situation would be any different in six and a half months weren’t too great.

That night an older couple I’d met let me stay overnight. It was coming to winter’s end, but still cold outside.

I woke up at some point where I slept on their couch. In my dream I had gone through with the abortion. And my heart beat wildly because I realized I’d made the wrong decision.

Then it dawned on me that it hadn’t happened. It was just a dream. And it was then I knew that I couldn’t go through with an abortion. My mother had managed to lose six children that I knew of. And I was one of them. I wasn’t going to follow in her footsteps.

I walked to a job several miles away from a duplex I lived in. It was the height of summer and it was dreadfully hot.

There was word that a warrant was out for me. I was underage and in the eyes of the law, I was a runaway. I had left the woman who’d taken me in. So I contacted her and told her she could keep the social security checks I was getting due to my father being deceased.

A deal was struck. I would not have to keep looking over my shoulder and now she had a good reason to keep her mouth shut.

Then not much later I blew up the gas stove while making toast before I left to walk to work. Luckily it just threw me against the opposite wall and I wasn’t really hurt beyond singed hair and eyebrows.

The paramedics were called. My secret was out.

So I had to quickly locate someone to foster me or go into the system. I found that couple, but that decision didn’t work out either. They were not who I thought they were. Just like the woman who kept her mouth shut about my whereabouts.

So here I am. That child is now 46 years old. I can’t imagine life without her.

She is most definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.

Now I will say to anyone who asks that I’m not against abortion. I believe it is a woman’s right to do what she decides is best with her own body.

Our beliefs generally come from our own life experience.

And my belief of this choice is based a great deal on what I know of my mother, and the truth is I’ve only met her two or three times. But I know she had half a dozen children and had no real way of taking care of them, mentally or physically.

Most of my siblings are messed up. I don’t know them really, but I know that they don’t have the ability to handle relationships. Because they don’t trust anyone. Whatever years they spent with my mother was very detrimental.

No one should have to see what they saw or heard or had to go through. Or eat out of trash cans. Or be adopted and then be abused by yet another person.

Once a child is born, there’s no way to know whether they will receive the care they need and deserve. And so many, like my siblings, seemed to fall through the cracks of the system that is in place.

12 Comments

  1. Brenda, you are an amazing woman and a mother, both to your daughters and your fur kids. You were dealt a terrible hand in life not only by your mother but by your boyfriend who walked away, his loss because your daughter is amazing, and then by your husband that was abusive. And YOU survived and thrived! You have two intelligent and beautiful daughters and three grandchildren, a lovely family and your have Charlie and Ivy, and if I may say you have all of us, friends who are your blog family.

  2. Brenda,
    such heartache you have lived through! I believe women have the right to make decisions regarding their body. But, when I finally was able to hold my daughter after an emergency cesarean section; I can’t imagine destroying any baby ever…. no matter the circumstances. The baby had no choice or say in its conception.

  3. Brenda, thank you for your remarkable story. Obviously, you did find someone to give you safe secure shelter?! I have a close friend that experienced a miserable childhood with her mother until age 12. It was at that age that her father finally won legal custody of her and for the better.

  4. The fact you and your daughter are both still alive, coming through all that should mean that you both obviously have a reason to exist…and who are we to decide anyone else should not also have that chance. My body threw out several of my babies (very early on but long enough to know I was pregnant). I still wonder what all those children would be today and what that might have meant to my life now. I still feel their loss. I cannot imagine the torment women go through who either choose abortion or adoption either really. You did the right thing Brenda!! Incredibly brave you were!!

    1. No. She was troubled as of course I knew due to all that had happened to her. She became angry over I really don’t know what and I still don’t know. But she let go on me full tilt. I tried to call her but she wouldn’t answer. I emailed her though that one last time. Then many months later she called me close to a year ago. I was kind of afraid to get back into that situation and so I didn’t return the call. I guess some things, tragically, are better left alone.

  5. Brenda, you have certainly weathered a lot of storms in your life and are truly remarkable. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  6. Your decisions have led to the strengths I continue to see in you Brenda. I also believe it is a woman’s choice, no one else, until we have walked in their shoes and can understand their story. Only they know their own capabilities.

  7. Brenda, you have had a rough life but you have turned into a beautiful, smart, caring person! I also believe that a woman should do what is best for her body in the situation she may be in!

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