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Today is January 15th. I’m sure you probably already know this. I know I do. January 15 is a day in my life that is a ‘holiday’ of sorts. I have also not seen a tear-free January 15 in over 19 years.

I really thought this year would be the first time I would get to experience this day without being weepy and bawling my eyes out, but that is not the case. Since I have been up since 5 a.m. (damn Buddha couldn’t wait one more hour to go outside), I decided to watch a movie that we rented from the library, Broken Bridges with Toby Keith and Kelly Preston.

Big mistake. Not to mention, I don’t punch a time clock, so to speak. Once the movie ended, I looked down on my laptop to check the date because I have an appointment today, and there it was: January 15.

And, here I am already bawling…*sigh*…SMH.

Today is my daughter’s birthday. She is 19 years old.

My daughter

My daughter, who I painfully put up for adoption at birth

If you’ve caught it in an earlier post, I had my first child when I was 16 years old. He was still in diapers when I found out I was pregnant again. And alone. I’d been raising my son by myself (his dad has never really been around much).

A single, 18-year old female with two kids? I could barely take care of one. Since finding out I was pregnant, one thought kept going through my mind, “Cathy.”

Cathy was a woman from my former church, who I had grown close to in the years I knew her. She and her husband were very successful people and well-known in the community. Since the birth of her first son, who as 12 at this point, she had been trying for more children but had not had any luck in that area. I knew I wasn’t in a position to raise two children alone, but, I also knew I couldn’t give my baby to total strangers.

Cathy and her husband agreed to adopt my daughter and give her a good life. Cathy was by my side the entire pregnancy, even through the delivery. I still remember how she started sobbing toward the end of my labor and delivery and the total look of awe on her face. She was especially grateful to be a part our daughter’s birth process.

It was also agreed upon that I would give them the space to raise my daughter without influencing her, so I would have to wait until she turned 18 to establish a relationship with her. Out of respect, I did just that.

Some people reading this might ask, “Why put yourself through that? Why didn’t you just get an abortion?” I also heard repeated comments by some, “I couldn’t carry a baby for nine months and then give it away.” And, some of those same people would either go out and abort their pregnancies or bring home a baby they aren’t equipped to take care of.

Seriously? Is there really a difference between carrying a baby for a couple of months and killing him or her over carrying the baby for nine months and giving him or her to a loving couple who can provide for a child properly? Is there really a difference? Either choice leaves you without a baby. Either choice will send you home with empty arms and an even emptier (and broken) heart.

Yes, there really is a difference. Abortion is murder, in my opinion. Usually, by the time the mother actually has an abortion, the baby already has a beating heartbeat and is moving around in the womb. The baby has eyes and fingers and toes. Choosing to end a pregnancy through abortion is no different than ending their life outside of the womb. Would you suffocate your eight week old baby with a pillow? Unlikely. So, then why would allow tools to rip your baby’s body apart eight weeks into a pregnancy? There is no difference.

And, honestly, abortion crossed my mind. The thought of handing my baby over to someone else terrified me, and I knew it was going to be a hard thing to do. And, it was. The pain of giving up my daughter was equally as devastating as losing someone to death, maybe worse. Eighteen years is a long time to wait to know my daughter, who owned a section of my heart.

Today, I am grateful to have the relationship I have with my daughter. I am grateful that I didn’t chose abortion, because I would not be writing this today. I would be writing about the life-long regrets of not knowing what sex my baby was or what she looks like. I would have never gotten to see what type of human being she turned out to be. I would never have been able to hear the words, “Mom, I love you,” coming from those sweet lips.

I wish the video she created for today had been uploaded to YouTube, because I would have included it into this post.

If anyone asked me how I’m feeling today, it would be grateful. I can’t imagine not having her in my life. A selfish decision of abortion would have changed all that.

I love you Dez. Happy 19th Birthday!!

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