I like to joke that I have “multiple mothers” as we celebrate Mother’s Day every year. After all, it took more than one woman to raise me, along with Mother Marriott to watch over me when I travel the world. I’m not a religious man, so Mother Marriott takes the place of Mother Superior. Silliness aside, I give all the credit to my adopted parents who rescued me from the Suemma Coleman agency. I also know the identity and whereabouts of my now 89-year old birth mother. Sadly, she does not acknowledge my existence even though she made it possible over seventy years ago. 

Being a teenage mother is difficult in any era, especially in the early 1950s when unwed pregnancies were shunned. I can only imagine the shame that was imposed on my birth mother by her family, friends, and society, forced to give me up to strangers whether her decision or not. They undoubtedly tried to hide her condition and took her far from home to give birth. I would guess that there were times when she tried to figure out a way to keep me as part of her life, and moments when she hated me. Since abortion was not a safe option for her back then,  I was probably better off raised by the loving couple that I’ve always proudly called  “Mom and Dad.” I could never blame her for trying to erase all the memories from her mind. 

Mother’s Day for me is a time for reflection and appreciation, as I try to make sense of my life. I no longer have a mother to honor on this day. I hate to call it indiscretion that gave me life. I prefer to think of her as being naïve and caught in a moment of passion. The birth father was about four years older and preparing to enter the service. I’m sure that neither of them thought about the consequences, but she had to live with the “mistake,” while he probably never knew that a child was on the way. She got little support and undoubtedly lots of criticism. I’m simple grateful that there was a special couple that wanted a baby when they couldn’t have one. As a result, I became a treasured part of their family when I could have been a burden to a teenage girl. 

Because of me, my birth mother’s life drastically changed. From what I’ve been able to uncover, she had to quit high school, get a factory job, and struggle with doubts of desirability and prospects for future relationships. She was a tainted woman, harboring a secret for the rest of her life. I made my best efforts to let her know how grateful I was for life and what I’ve done with that time on Earth. I’ve made serious misjudgments just as she has, and it’s sad that we never got to know each other. She might even be proud. 

Abortion was never a legal option for her as Roe vs. Wade didn’t happen until 1973, Consequently, I can’t give her or her family credit for preserving my life in the womb and allowing for my adoption. They never had a choice, as women have today. Adoption is always the best option with a healthy child and mother, but it comes with emotional and physical hardship. Those that have gone through it, like my birth mother, are strong, selfless individuals who preserve lives and enable others to raise families. Depending on the circumstances, all women should have a choice when it comes to their bodies, so it’s hard to belief that the 45-year law is now being seriously  reconsidered. I’m so thankful for life on this Mother’s Day, especially since it was such a hardship on my birth mother. I have life, but I’m not necessarily Pro-Life.