Monday, February 28, 2011

My pregnancy

I loved, loved, loved being pregnant... once I got used to the idea and made a concrete decision I was having the baby. I took care of myself and loved the way I felt. I have always believed that women were beautiful while carrying a life inside them, and I was no different.

My family brought me down to Kansas City, because I was going to stay at the LIGHT House, a home for unwed mothers. I remember the day my parents dropped me off. We walked up the stairs to this huge building, it was an old convent. I was so scared. We got a tour and my family left. I can't tell you what it was like saying good-bye and watching my parents leave. I knew it was the best thing for me, but I was so unsure of so many things at that time. The LIGHT House had a rule that I couldn't have any contact with the outside world for ten days, which included my family. Knowing that, made it all worse. Their reasoning was to have me get acclimated to the program and get through my homesickness. It worked, but it was very hard.

My stay at the LIGHT House was an adventure, to say the least. I was brought up in a middle-class neighborhood, borderline upper-class. My family was a good Christian family with two parents that were still married... a 'typical' all-American family. The women, some of them girls, at the LIGHT House came from many different backgrounds, mostly poor and troubled. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I had my 'crap' together. (I have always been so insecure, but for some reason at the LIGHT House I found myself, and who I was and I was actually ok with it!) I connected with most of the staff and I was able to help with some of the girls. Sometimes I wonder how some of those girls are. We were so close while we were going through this tremendous experience together, but once we left the LIGHT House it was time to move on... to let go. It was a part of our lives that we all cherished, but needed to let go in order to heal. Especially those of us who gave our babies up for adoption.

This was one of my journal entries:
"I had a really great pregnancy. When I first found out, I was rather calm. I guess I thought it would just go away. Well, it didn't. I couldn't stand the thought of my family watching me get bigger, so I decided to go to the LIGHT House. What an experience. Most of the girls there were from very poor situations. There were up to forty girls there at all times. Most girls kept their babies. About six, in the eight months I was there, put their babies up for adoption. I didn't start to show until I was in my fifth month. I used to love to lay on my stomach while we all watched TV. All the other girls were so jealous!"

I only got sick twice. Once because of the smell in Scholotzky's, where I worked at the time I found out I was pregnant, and once because of the heat in Kansas City. It was so hot and there was no air conditioning at the LIGHT House. I remember when I was about three months along. I could feel a hard lump in my stomach. That was such an amazing feeling. To know that you are touching the baby. I don't remember the first time the baby kicked, but I do remember what it felt like. It's so special. Its amazing to think that there is an actual human being growing inside of you. God is amazing!

I was pretty sure that I was going to put my baby up for adoption the whole time I was pregnant - but I was trying to keep an open mind. I don't think I had a clue what was in store for me.

I made a lot of friends at the LIGHT House: Valerie, Kellie, Carry, Darlene, Shannon, Julie, and Cheryl. We were all in the same situation. We had classes daily. We had to take certain ones. Chapel, aerobics and I was in a GED class. We were also able to take fun classes too like ceramics, cooking and a porcelain doll making class. It was great that they kept us busy. By the time November came, most of my friends had their babies and were gone. It made it hard, but I really needed the time alone to rest and think.

On my due date, January 10th, 1989, I took my GED test. I barely fit in the school desk. It was so embarrassing. I had to sit sideways in the desk the whole time I took the test.  Everyone kept looking at me.  I'm sure they were worried I was going to go into labor right there! On January 22nd I felt cramping. I was so naive that I didn't realize I was in labor, I thought I was constipated. :) When I figured out I was in labor, I packed all my stuff in my room and got ready. I called my mom and she was on her way. She had to get a flight from Minneapolis to Kansas City. She was determined to be there and thankfully she made it in time!'

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