A thousand acre heart

This is a story that I think I should tell because very few people know the whole thing and when it is told in bits and pieces I always feel that so much is left out. I will begin to tell it slowly and at my pace. I will try to tell it the best I remember it and it is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings.

“I always knew there was a piece of the puzzle missing, I never imagined what it was”

Jeffrey “Jam” Matthews

I got bored of cleaning out the 5000 useless emails in my hotmail so I decided to check in with some random and hopefully inspirational thoughts that will have us all seeing clearly once the rain is gone, and by rain I mean tears, yes I stole the first part from Van Morrison.

I have been sitting at my computer attending a GoToMeeting to see my first grandchild’s Ultrasound at 3D Miracles. I am in Edmonton, Alberta, the other family and friends are in Truro, Onslow, Tatamagouche and Pictou Counties in Nova Scotia. My grandbabes Mom is at 3D Miracles in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In itself this is amazing that technology can bring us together for this special time. We are able to chat and share our feelings. Right now we are on a 45 minute “Yoga Break” because baby is playing camera shy. I am not quite sure where in the family the shyness comes into play!

I am taking this time to reflect on the miracles that have changed my life and brought me to this day that I am so fortunate and incredibly grateful to be a part of.

In April my first grandchild is due to come into our world full of love. Almost twenty three years ago I gave birth to her father Jeremy at the Colchester Regional Hospital. I was sixteen years old, a child myself really. I was scared, confused and full of such conflicting emotions. I gave birth to a healthy eight pound, magnificent baby boy. He had dark hair and these eyes that looked at me with what I was certain was the hint of a smile.  The plan for lack of a better term was to give him the very best life possible and even at sixteen I was pretty certain that love alone could not provide that and my options were limited. I was a child, discussions were had, and choices were made and with a heavy heart I went along with some amount of certainty with what I was told were best. Anyone that has given birth to a child knows that something changes inside of you the very moment they come into this world. It is powerful and indescribable but even in tender teen hood I felt it. I felt a connection that time and miles and tears would never take away. I was giving my baby boy up for adoption. He was going to be raised by a couple that had longed for a baby and had more to give him then I possibly could. When I was finally alone in my hospital room I cannot even begin to tell you the emotions I experienced. In a very short time I had crossed that line between girlhood and womanhood and I was not ready for any of the hard choices or the heartache that would bring. My father came back to the hospital a short while later. The birth of his first grandchild had moved him immensely. He said we would do whatever needed to be done. He said he would go right out and buy a crib and diapers and whatever was needed he would help. When he left I was more confused than ever and my older brother came back to the hospital to talk to me. He would have been eighteen at the time. He was always a bit of an authority figure to me, he was smart and organized, and he wasn’t as lead by emotions as the rest of us. He talked to me that night with the soul and wisdom of someone much older than his eighteen years. He talked to me about the family that had been waiting for years to love my child. He talked about how I was too young to make grown up decisions and that he just wanted me to see my options from all angles. He is the only person throughout my whole pregnancy that really discussed options with me and talked to me like the decisions were in my hands but I needed to understand how my decisions were going to affect everyone involved. He didn’t know the couple that was going to adopt Jeremy. We all just knew about them, through lawyers. It still amazes me how he pleaded their case. He said he had seen the movie Kramer vs Kramer in Law class at school and it moved him. I have never seen the movie. I had a torturous night. I remember very little of it except for the feeling of a huge weight on my chest. In the morning I told my family that I hadn’t changed my mind, I was going to give Jeremy up for adoption and allow the family that was expecting him to love him and give him a wonderful life.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. You go home to return to your normal life and nothing is normal. Your friends want to talk about boys and clothes and everyday adolescent stuff but you are now a grown-up. They want to talk about broken hearts and you know that they have absolutely no idea what it feels like to be truly heartbroken.

The law says that a minimum of sixteen days needs to pass before you can legally be approached with respect to signing adoption papers. It felt like a year and a day all at the same time, which of course makes absolutely no sense but nothing would make sense for a very long time. On the sixteenth day when the lawyer called I was sick. I was the kind of sick when you call into work on inventory day…avoidance. I was also heartsick. If I had had the capacity to question I am sure everyone in my household was experiencing a type of loss as well. They were there for the growing belly, to feel the kicks and anticipate the birth and then at the part where you are expecting kisses and cuddles and late night feedings it was as if the universe had stalled and life as you knew it was paused. I am not sure how many more days passed but when my lawyer came to the house I tried another stall tactic and she understood quite clearly what was going on. She didn’t push me but explained that until I signed the papers that Jeremy was living in interim care. He was being well taken care of but the family that longed to hold him and love him could not take him home until I signed the papers. I must have signed the papers that day. I can’t imagine what my signature looked like. I was a mess inside. I wasn’t eating and my clothes were falling off me. I was a woman, making woman’s decisions in this childlike body.

Insert sex lecture here, sex is an adult decision made by people who are not ready to make adult decisions and lead adult lives. Of course I wouldn’t change any of it now, because to change one thing would change everything but if I could help one person to realize that as a teenager you are seeking affection, validation, acceptance and love. Sex will not give you any of those things. Sex will complicate.

At some point life went back to normal or at least I began to accept the new life. I accepted the mean comments at school from girls “How is your baby, oh never mind you gave him away!” One day in English class a girl named “Dawn” ( I won’t say her last name only for respect for her family’s privacy,),said to me “You are no better than me, I went through labor and delivery just like you!” The difference is she had an abortion that was performed at or after five months. So yes she did indeed go through labor and delivery but she did not give life to a child.  I don’t know her reasons and I don’t care, I remember how badly that hurt me and how I went into survival mode. I had to adamantly remind myself that I gave my baby the opportunity to have a wonderful life and nobody could ever take that away from me.

For years wherever I was I would see a dark haired boy and I would calculate the age in my head and wonder. I was fairly certain I would know right away if I ever came face to face with him but I never knew how I would react…..

To be continuedImage

24 thoughts on “A thousand acre heart

  1. Michelle, what courage and strength you had then and now to write about this. I can’t imagine what you went through as a 16 year old having to make that decision. I can’t wait to read the rest and see pictures of that beautiful baby girl 🙂

    1. I remember your brother (Merve) was one of the first people to visit me in the hospital. He brought me Neapolitan ice cream.
      Thanks so much for the feedback. I am talking to Kristy right now and baby could be on her way anytime!

  2. An amazing story. I didn’t realize. Nicole went to school with with Jeff. You should publish this!! Great job!

  3. Michelle, What a valuable story you are telling here. So valuable to so many.

    I think you have it wrong though when you call yourself a woman after giving birth to your baby boy – you were still a child/teen that had to go through very serious events and decisions that would best be made later in life. But when you are so young and you go through this, yes, it changes you. But it didn’t change you into a woman. At least that’s my view.

    I absolutely love your advice about sex to teenagers. LOVE IT. So wise. So right on.

    And the comment from the girl in school that you two were the same: you giving your baby up for adoption, her getting an abortion. That’s baloney. You gave 3 people a huge gift. You gave the parents who couldn’t have children, who wanted to adopt him, the greatest gift. And you gave that baby, the same, hugest gift. And now you have have him back in your life!

    I too, look forward to reading more on this. Enjoy seeing your grandbaby’s 3D images Michelle!

  4. Michelle! Thank you so much for sharing your story. You brought me to tears. I am sorry for the heartache that you went through at such a young age! Please finish the story! I am dying to find out how you reconnected with your son. What a beautiful story….

  5. Even though I know this story…I can’t wait to read the rest. I was in tears before I ever left the house this morning. You are so awesome and such an inspiration to everyone that knows you! Love you lots..xoxoxo

  6. Wow, I think the ‘to be continued’ part should be about the Mother & Father that loved and raised Jeffrey as their son for the first 20 years of his life, and who continue to and will always refer to him as their son.. As much as you might think this is all about your struggle, you better stop and think about what this is doing to them now that you have suddenly appeared in Jeffrey’s life after 20 years!!

    1. Though I appreciate your feedback and honestly you have to understand that this is my blog, my thoughts, my feelings, my struggles…
      I do know that one of Jeffreys parents greatest struggles was having a child and I was able to give them that gift. I deserve no anger and ask for no pity. I am simply sharing my story. I didn’t suddenly appear after 20 years, I have been Jeffreys birth mother from the beginning. I have loved him every minute of every single day and I am thankful for the relationship we have. It doesn’t spite or diminish his relationships with his parents.

  7. Michelle , my heart goes out to you, deep inside you must of had a terrible hurt , one that takes a long time to heal . There are so many still looking for the ones they let someone adopt. Read second part first. ,

  8. Michelle, I know your story but tears fell again reading it. I have to agree with the above comment from Debbie, the girl in school has no idea how different your choices were. Having the strength and courage at such a painful time is amazing. I cant imagine your emptyness after that selfless day. I am in the process of trying to adopt a beautiful baby girl and possibly her georgous brother. It is a different circumstance however i do have a relationship with birth mom and I cant imagine her pain but dispite her pain she too is trying hard to make sure her children stay with us. I have 3 beautiful girls and am thankful each day for them, i am also so very thankful for a mother that loves her children so much that she wants what is best for them. So allthough i do have birth children i cant imagine life with out the beautiful angel that has been with us since she has been 2 days old. So in all that i say You Michelle Are a Gift! You gave Jeff the gift of life and you gave his adoptive parents something that they could not have. I can only imagine all the ways you have made life so precious for the matthews. And I also want you to know that you are an amazing mom to two talented, loving beautiful girls.
    Love You

  9. I love you michelle…i started crying as soon as I started to read your story…I think its wonderful you are sharing with us…it takes a very brave woman to bare her soul and open herself up to others critique..:) you are a very special gift to all of us who know you and i am glad you are a part of my life..xoxo

  10. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    Blog Review #7

    As an adoptee this article was actually hard for me to read impartially. As it was submitted to me for review, I will press forward and review it as I want.

    I admire greatly this woman’s courage not only to write of her trials and past, but also to admit her conflictions in emotion. I have always been a strong proponent for Adoption, and so I really do commend her for her decision. It could not have been easy.

    I have written in the past, similar to her discussion, on how sex is an adult activity and people that engage in it should be prepared for adult issues. It sounds to me like she had great support, which had to mean the world during this time period for her. The nasty things said to her at school only show childhood ignorance and even more so the conversation exchange with the “young women” that had an abortion really highlights the skewed outlook in this country.

    As an adoptee I have also written about my birthmother. I have related the shame and anger I have for her to this day. That being said, every person and situation is different. We cannot assume that since “one person” has such feelings another will as well. I would encourage her to understand that everything happens for a reason and that her actions aren’t necessarily a hinderance on that child’s life. It is now up to that child to make his or her life as best as possible for themselves.

    Note: This blog review was done in connection with my post “I will do “Ten Reviews.”


  11. Thanks for bringing us inside the hard decisions that sometimes face us in life…and the feelings that surround them! What a courageous post.

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