By the time you read this, you’ll be 18 years old. And it will be 18 years since I held your cute, tiny frame in my arms. Your birthday, November 14th, 2012 was both the happiest and saddest day of my life. Weighing about only seven pounds, you were a darling little bundle of joy. You didn’t cry let alone utter the smallest peep when I first cradled you in my arms. Instead, your innocent hazel eyes bore curiously into mine not knowing the life-changing decision that I would make for you.
I know how reluctant you might feel to read this letter. I know that there is probable that you hate me now. I know that you may never forgive me for giving you away, but I feel like I owe you an explanation. Maybe you’ll even perceive me as a coward, hiding behind a piece of anthropogenic material. But if I hadn’t sat down to write this letter, it was guaranteed that the guilt would eventually slowly eat away at my flesh.
I was extremely young when I learned I was pregnant with you. At that time I was terrified not because I would have to give up my future for you but because of the weight of my past. I knew you deserved the whole world served to you on a silver platter and that I would never be a good enough mother to you.
I didn’t want to bring you up because of my own childhood experience. Some people believe that people aren’t like their parents, but the more I reflected on my actions and behaviors, the more I realized I was becoming the two people I’d tried hardest not to be. My description of your grandparents might not be positive, but deep down, your grandpa and grandma are good people. They just did not understand the fundamental ideas to bringing up a child. Sometimes, their best intentions cause the worst harm. I occasionally wonder if that’s what I’ve done in giving you away.
My mother was a harsh, uncompromising woman who never gave me any freedom. She was so overprotective because she feared that one mistake would cost me my entire future. My mother also tried forcing her religion onto me. I found her hypocritical because she would always tell me that my life didn’t belong to me. It belonged to God. If my life belonged to God, why would we try and prevent something inevitable from happening? I guess she must’ve felt that religion would “save me.” It didn’t. My life was and is a complete mess and no matter how many times I tried crying out to the Lord, I got no answer.
Depression consumed me. It altered my ability to think and the way I interacted with others. My mother was the type of woman with selective hearing. Many times, I tried reasoning with her about ideas such as- freedom of religion, but she would call me “stupid” and force me to go to church. To exacerbate the situation, whenever I said something slightly wrong, she would go off on me. Abuse. When you think of the word abusive, you think about some enraged parent beating his or her children. Although that is an atrocious act, I believe there’s something like hidden abuse too. Yes, I was abused. Not the physical kind, but the verbal kind.
Growing up, I was always told face to face that I would never be good enough to survive the real world. When I did something that I should’ve been proud of, I was never praised. I guess this was because excellence was something expected out of me. When I made a small mistake, the endless amounts of remarks and name calling were unceasing. It was like being shot by a rifle that never runs out of bullets. Just like that, at a young age, a huge hole ripped opened in my heart. Eventually, I came to believe every insult that was hurled at me. How could I ever bring you up properly, love you and raise you, if I was a pathetic human being with no self-love?
Around then I started realizing that I would repeat the same words and phrases my mother used on me. Each time I swore I’d never mirror her again, but it became a kind of habit. Constant exposure to her negativity had unwittingly molded me into her spitting image.
But what about your grandfather? Well, he was never around. No, he did not abandon me if that was what you are thinking. He was just working so hard to support our family. I told myself that it was to send your uncle and I to a good college. But to be honest, that hurt me more than if he’d left me alone in a dark forest. It put the pressure on me to never fail or else all my father’s hard work would go to waste.
All I dreamed of as I grew older was happiness, but it never seemed to come any closer. You know how most children wish for materialistic things at 11:11? I never did that. Instead, I wished to someday find joy within this unforgiving world. I gave you away because I was so afraid that I couldn’t give you the unconditional love you deserved. It would’ve been similar to running a race knowing that I could never reach the finish line. I was afraid of either becoming my parents or becoming what they seemed to think of me: a worthless person. Either way, I knew you would be better off raised by someone else.
No child should ever become depressed as a result of their parents upbringing. Which is one of the main reasons I gave you up. Despite how much I would try to avoid what my parents did, I know that some parts made my heart go numb and that would affect you deeply. I don’t want you to go through what I had to go through. I want you to have a better life that you deserve. Never getting enough sleep because you had to perfect your work in order to impress me. Never getting a good night's rest before a test because I made you so anxious. Never loving yourself for who you are because I told you that you were “trash” and “useless”.
Someday, Kelly, I hope that you will understand where I’m coming from. Maybe, you might be even ready to come and see me. But I need to tell you one thing: don’t ever think for a second that I gave you up because there was something wrong with you. You are my pride and invaluable. No matter how old you get or what happens to me, you’ll always be my baby girl. Always remember that I gave you up because there are so many things wrong with me. I thought that you deserved to be with two loving parents who would bring you up the way I wish I could. I hope someday I’ll find a way to love myself. Maybe then I can be a part of your life.
Your birth mother