On August 22, 2007, I signed away my parental rights. On August 29, 2007, I was running desperately through Durham Regional Hospital trying to get them back.

  A lot can happen in a week.

 In order for me to totally explain the situation I found myself in when I realized that I was pregnant, I must give you a little background information. Although I was in denial for some time, I can now admit that I was depressed and that my depression stemmed from a failed relationship with a long-term boyfriend. We started dating in high school and continued to be an item throughout our college years. In total, we were together for six years. After he pledged a certain fraternity, our relationship went south. We broke up and he started seeing other women. Although we weren’t officially together, we kept seeing each other on and off for several years. No matter what I did or what new guy I started seeing, I couldn’t shake my ex. We had so much history. We were supposed to get married—at least in my mind.

 He would flaunt his new woman in front of me, crushing my spirit. I’d try to play it off like I didn’t care, but I was hurting. Everyone would remark that his new girl was pretty and that bothered me. I often wondered if I wasn’t good enough for him now because I was on the bigger side. I’ve always been a big girl and he used to seem okay with that. His rejection was gut-wrenching. What’s wrong with me, I’d often wonder.

 In late 2006, we got together one more time while back home in Baltimore during the Christmas break. He was seeing someone else, but it didn’t matter to me. I still loved him. I thought we rekindled what we had, but I was wrong. As soon as we got back to Durham, he started treating me the same way—flaunting his new woman in front of me and acting like there was nothing between us. I finally got the message and moved on as best as I could. The new guy I was started seeing was a hot mess. He was a hardened criminal. There would be times when I’d sit in the car with him and wonder how the hell I stooped this low. This guy had nothing going on for himself, but yet I settled. He didn’t treat me right either. I won’t go into too many details about it because it would take an entire chapter to recap. I figured a piece of a man was better than no man at all.

I had grown so depressed that it started affecting my job performance. Eventually I reached out to a therapist and was soon prescribed anti-depressants. The first half of 2007 was a blur. I was lonely and miserable. I wasn’t myself. I stopped eating and I stopped going out to socialize.

 One day, in May, I noticed that I had an unusual menstrual cycle. I went to the doctor’s office and found out that I was pregnant—five months to be exact! I had no idea that I was pregnant because I still got a period each month. Although I’m a big girl, I wasn’t really showing either. When I did the calculation, I realized that I was pregnant by my ex. I considered having an abortion, but ti was way too late to do that. Plus, I couldn’t bear making that decision anyway. I couldn’t bear murdering the child I was carrying. Having an abortion would’ve sent me over the edge.

 With all that was going on in my life, I was indifferent to being pregnant.  Unlike other expectant mothers who paint their nurseries and pick out a theme, I didn’t bother to paint the walls of my bedroom. They remained bare. There were no baby magazines with dog ears on the pages of outfits I wanted to purchase for the baby sprawled across my kitchen table. I didn’t have a baby shower. I didn’t even bother to buy Pampers or a crib. There was no evidence that a new life would enter this world.  This pregnancy only existed in my body, and in my apartment. I hid my pregnancy. I didn’t tell anyone about the pregnancy—including the child’s father— for what, I wasn’t keeping the baby anyway. I decided to put the baby up for adoption. 

 Although I tried my best to hide my pregnancy, a friend of my ex’s bumped into me in early August and couldn’t pry his eyes away from my round belly. By this time, I was big and pregnant. I acknowledged the friend and played it off like I didn’t have a huge belly sitting out in front of me. The next day, my ex called me and asked if I was pregnant. That was the first time he realized that I was expecting. We hadn’t seen each other in months so he didn’t get a chance to see my body change. Once he found out, he came to check on me and made sure I was ok. He was there for the big moment.

 On August 20th, 2007—a few weeks before my actual due date—I felt a few painful cramps. These weren’t Braxton Hicks either. I called my OB/GYN and she told me to come in if I kept having these kinds of pains. I layed down for a few hours and hoped the pains would go away. But when I got up to go to the bathroom, a pain so strong hit me, sending me to the bathroom floor. I could hardly speak. I tried to call out for my ex in the living room, but he didn’t hear me. I felt a sudden urge to push, like a really strong bowel movement. Before I knew it, I could see the baby’s head. I gave another push and I was able to pull the shoulders and the rest of him out of me. I yelled out to my ex again and he came to check on me this time.

 His eyes were wider than saucers. He stood there in shock for a few seconds as though he couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. He was a cop, so he sprang into action. He grabbed a few clean towels to wipe the baby off with.

“Is he alive?” he asked, dialing the paramedics.

“I don’t know,” I replied half dazed.

 My ex followed the instructions he received from the paramedics and lightly slapped the baby on his rear. The baby let out one single cry. “He’s alive!” my ex proclaimed. “He’s looking me dead in the eyes.”

 At exactly 4:20PM on August 20, 2007 my baby came into this cold and lonely world. He was born on the floor of my apartment, pulled out by me, a terrified 27-year-old who got a five- minute crash course in obstetrics and gynecology from watching a few baby shows on the discovery channel. The baby boy did not cry alot, he simply sighed with large, bright, brown eyes. I guess he figured “Of all the mommies in the world, I got this one. But she’s mine.” I think in the first few minutes of this little boy’s life, he learned to shrug—as if to say: “Whatever it is, I can handle it. No biggie.”

 As I waited for the paramedics to arrive to take us to the hospital, I inspected the baby like an examiner with my thumb and index fingers. Although the baby was more like a foreign object that had just come out of my body, I couldn’t help notice his piercing brown eyes. In them, I saw a fighter—one more sure of himself in that moment than his mother had ever felt in her 27 years. “You are mine!” his brilliant brown eyes seemed to say to me. I could feel it—whatever “it” was. This little boy really loves me I thought, holding back tears. But how, I wondered. He claimed me before I even had the capacity to reciprocate. Although I had officially been a mother for less than ten minutes, I could feel the bond that had formed between us, but I was resistant. I wanted no parts of it. “I’m no mother”, “I am not equipped for this”, I reasoned to myself, fixing my mind to sign him away. “He does not have a name,” I further reasoned, “and a name would make him real.”  If I gave him away with no name, I could pretend that he never existed. I could go on with my life knowing that he would be better off with anyone BUT me. I told my ex that the baby wasn’t his, trying to make it easier for me to sign away my rights.

 NINE DAYS LATER

 BABY BOY ANDERSON. That is what his Neonatal Intensive Care Unit bracelet read. Due to the circumstances of his birth, he had to stay there for the first few days of his life. While still at the hospital, I felt the urge to visit him. How weird. I had the strangest curiosity to see someone that I was set to give away. When I arrived at the nursery, I noted that the other babies had placards with their names and birthdays scribbled in big, colorful letters. The little boy I delivered had nothing. My heart sank to a level it had never felt before. The nurse said, “Name him, give him his rightful place in the world.”  I looked at her and ran from the NICU back to my hospital room. She was right. I felt so ashamed. I prayed and prayed and thought the least I owed him was a name.  I had a Bible in my hospital room and it was opened to Samuel. I’m thinking to myself a biblical name would be strong and would give him a good start. For some strange reason, I was reminded of the story of how David, a meager little shepherd boy slew the giant Goliath. I read the story and was moved by David’s strength, the kind of strength I saw in that little boy’s eyes. David is a perfect name, I thought. On that day he became David…..and he became mine.

 The only person who knew about the baby was my ex. I still hadn’t told my family or friends, not even my mother. I was so embarrassed and ashamed of myself that I couldn’t bear my mother’s criticism. It seemed like that’s all she did of late. I would secretly visit David everyday for hours at a time after I was released from the hospital. I bought him little outfits to wear. I did not want him to be alone. The nurses knew my situation and gave knowing glances to each other whenever I came into the nursery. But they stayed silent and were never intrusive. I was scared to hold him, but I figured until his new parents were found I could love him in the meantime. But the more time I spent with him the harder it was to leave. He always opened his eyes for me. One bold nurse exclaimed, “That boy knows his mama.” His mama? Was that me? What did that mean?

 David courted me those first few days. He opened his eyes and made contented cooing noises for me. Although the nurses had trouble getting him to drink formula, he always drank when I was there.  His skin was so smooth. The smell of him was intoxicating. He was perfect, from his curly hair, to the plump toes that are definitely inherited from me. I held him close to my heart each day and I think that it soothed both of us. I daydreamed about him, I thought about him all day. I doodled his name in my notebooks or spare pads I had lying around my house. I rushed to the hospital to see him all hours of the day.  I was falling in love with my son.

 On August 29, 2007, I ran to Durham Regional to tear up those papers. That bold nurse, who already proclaimed that David knew I was his mother, met me at the door, knowing I had changed my mind. “Take your son home,” she said. And I did.

 I did not know what direction my life was going before August 20th, 2007. It seems as if nothing in my life mattered before then. I cannot imagine how I spent my time without my little guy. What did I do before all the nose kisses, the “I love you Mommys” and the constant rubbing on my arm in order for him to go to sleep? My David awakened in me a ray of sunlight so bright and introduced me to love so unconditional that it is often overwhelming. He is my life’s greatest gift. I am just thankful that he chose me to be his mom. I LOVE MY SON.

© 2015, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.

37 comments on “I Almost Gave Away My Baby by Kelli Anderson”

  1. I can definitely identify with this story. I felt the same way while carring ‘Shannon’ for six months (that I knew of). The day I heard about my impending motherhood was so much of a shock, not because I was pregnant, but because I was pregnant with a crazy femily medical history and an STD. What mother what want to keep a child in that condition?

    But, I still wanted ‘Shannon’ to grow healthy for her future parents. So I delved myself in to reading, continued my studies in what would be my final semester at WCU, and even danced. There were not complications until the day of delivery. The man I was dating at that the time is partly responsible in helping me to find out for sure (that’s another story to tell at a later time) and although he was in the midst of a separation, he took me under his wing, and he was the first person I called once I delivered.

    My mother, although more than disappointed in my pregnancy and “messing over” her mother (who raised me from age 11, was so happy in the delivery room with me.

    Jose*, after he came to visit the baby, who I named Simone* could just look in my eyes and know that I wasn’t going to give her up after carrying her so long, doting on her, quitting smoking for her and so much more. I really do think that once you see those eyes, like Kelli mentioned, you’re hooked.

    Thanks for sharing your story and giving me the courage to share mine.

    • Gina, I’m glad you had the courage to share your story. My son is almost three and this is the first time that I have really shared this. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel a freedom that I have not felt in sometime and a sense of peace. That is my prayer for you as well.
      May you and you baby have lives filled with hope and happiness!

  2. Kelli, thank you for sharing your story. I applaud you for finding the courage to let go of the past and move onw ith your life. I also thank you for trusting me with your story. And yes, I agree with Gina, you almost instantly fall in love after you make eye contact with your child. I fell in love with K.C. the moment I laid eyes upon him. He also spent the first few days of his life in the NICU and I always visited him. I couldn’t get enough of him. He was so perfect, just right for me.
    Gina, let me know if you’d like to share your story, too. That is why I created this blog. Be blessed!

    And remember, everything has beauty, including YOU. It just takes a true D.I.V.A to see it.

  3. This is the sweetest and one of the most amazing motherhood stories I’ve read or heard in a long time. Very beautifully written. I’m so happy the author and her baby have each other’s love to light the way. This article is wonderful.

    • Talmeedah,
      Thank you so much for reading this. Had it not been for ShalenaDIVA, I would never have shared this story so completely. Your comment has brightened my day and confirmed that it was definitely the right thing for me to do.

  4. Kelli, this is an awesome and powerful story. It shows that no matter how we come to the decision, when we choose to become mothers, that connection is real. I was telling someone about that day I saw you in Durham when I was newly a couple months pregnant and didn’t know the gender yet and you spoke power to me about boy babies. I was excited then and even moreso now, but hearing a mother speak such encouraging words at that early point really inspired me. Your words continue to inspire me now as I prepare to parent a boy. David is truly blessed to have you as his mom. Shalena thank you for sharing these gifts of words, narratives, and stories with the world!

  5. Happy mothers day to all! i am glad my mother chose me. i was born prematurely and addicted to heroin. if she held to nine months i wouldn’t have made it the doctor who delivered told both of my parents. i am so grateful to be here! happy 1st mothers day in heaven.

  6. Started my new job last week , have not had much time to jump on fb. But you know I had to find the time today to shout out one of facebooks most inspirational and beautiful ladies around. Enjoy your day ma.

  7. Even though we fight sometimes, we are close……. I read that article. Wow! Very touching.

  8. @APRIL–It’s a tear jerker. You never know what your mother had to go through mentally to go through with the pregnancy. It helped me to put some things into perspective and realize that mothers, like everyone else, are only human and we won’t always see eye to eye, but we still need each other. Happy Mother’s Day April!

  9. Yes am greatful 2 her tat am this lady 2day she saw mi thru the hapi n sad moments,she acepted mi even whn dad didnt tek responsibility,she provided evthng even in hard times she is a single mum n am proud of her.luv u mummy.

  10. Definetly but unfortunateely she was inable to love me – at least show it – but yes I AM GLAD to chose to at least birth me and for awhile she showed me the sweetest of love but life stole her from me with chronic mental illness – and ya no black people from the old days “DONT NEED NO DOCTORS” and “Therapy is for Sissies” (her words not mine) but I pray that somehow God moves and brings My MOMMY back to me, but until then I can still Love her inspight of and hope that one day she Wakes Back Up ~UNCHAIN HERSELF and come and live freely – HAPPY MOTHER’s DAY EVERYONE

  11. @Tanja–I had a friend who went through something similar in terms of her mother suddenly struggling with mental illness and it really took her for a loop. Have you ever considered writing about your experience with your mother and her mental illness? I would love to get that story because you’re right! A lot of black folks don’t think counseling or therapy works so they discount it. If you’re interested send your story to shalenadiva@shalenadiva.com . Happy Mother’s Day, Tanja!

  12. No I havent until now – until last year I was still taking the abuse not knowing thats was it was all the time. Plus I tried everything to make her love me. Im still unraveling it all even now – But I will keep it mind when it does come up – this was a huge step and honoring me and my daughter vs. my mother so I could stop suffering silently during Mother’s Day plus she cant stop me from loving her inspight of….but loving her doesnt mean letting her cont. to abuse me – and there would be no me or my baby without her. Its a lot to digest and unravel but soon it will come forth on paper and yes I will post on your page.

  13. @Tanja–thanks for the consideration. Iknow how hard it can be through my friend’s experience. But it seems like you’re doing the right thing and taking the high road. YOu’re right, no matter what, if it wasn’t for your mother you and your daughter wouldn’t be here, so keep your head up and love her inspite of her. I’m glad that you are not allowing her to continue to abuse you either. I’M SO PROUD OF AND HAPPY FOR YOU! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

  14. i doubt if my mom reads this, but if she do, i love my mommie, no matter what! we have our different opinion, don’t always agree. but i thank GOD for my mommie! ( and yes this 38 yr old still say mommie)i will always love her, even after we r both dead. my 1 & only mom.

  15. wow i just read it powerful! i am so happy that she keep her son and didnt give him away. a mothers love. her and his heart and soul where connected she tried to deny it and hde it but thank GOd she didnt. if she had im so sure she wouldve regreted it so much it wouldve broke her heart. all mothers need to read this, powerful moving

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