It was 1968 and teenage pregnancy didn't have its own reality shows or even its own place at the table. Especially in the south. And the thought of an unwed mother at that time better not even cross your mind. Again, especially in the south.
Maybe she loved him, maybe she didn't. I don't really know. But she said she didn't see a future in the relationship. He did, maybe. But at the least, out of responsibility offered to marry her and raise the baby. And if she wouldn't marry him, he wanted to raise the baby anyway - by himself, but with the help of his family. But that's not what she wanted for her baby, and I suppose for her continued ties to him and well, them.
So she hid her pregnancy from her friends and family, went away for a while for a new job, and did the best she could. It was the late 1960's in a tiny town in the south. And A + B = BAD NEWS all around in this situation.
But with the help of the small town doctor, she found an answer. The doctor's nurse, assistant, helper, .... knew a family who would be happy to raise the baby - her own son and his wife - a preacher and family with 4 kids already. Kids already quite a bit older; so it would be a starting over point for this family at a late age. But they wanted him.
So when the time came, the girl told her parents she was sick with a stomach virus and went to the clinic where she stayed for a day or two. And she had a baby boy.
And I don't know how she felt. Did she want to change the plan and keep him? Or was she so afraid of her parents and what her life would become that she never gave it a possible thought? Or was she so determined to give him a better chance that she just did what she had to do?
I only spoke to the mom once. Years later. And didn't get all of those answers.... because I didn't know to ask the right questions. I wasn't a mother yet, myself.
I do know that she never had any other children. But the dad did. And he and his wife have raised a loving, close family.
After the baby was born, the preacher and his family came to the little clinic in the small Louisiana town and paid the girl's hospital charges. And they carried their new baby home as a precious Christmas gift, with a new family and a new home in a new state. The only record of the birth being the receipt for the medical charge.
And the family raised him and loved him. And in 1980 they moved to my city and I met my future husband.
We became fast friends and lifetime friends. And 37 years later we have three kids of our own. Because the decisions of so many people played a part in the outcomes of our lives.
And I can only imagine the prayers that were said over that baby. That the right thing happen. That the right home be apparent and open. And that the right decision be made to get him there. It's been 49 years and looks like it all worked out.