The metal railings of the bed felt more like a prison then a safety net, as Amber struggled to sit up. On the other side of the hospital room curtain she heard the murmur of voices; her roommate had company.
Amber blinked back tears. It was by her own choice that she had no visitors. No one knew she was in the hospital; no one knew that a few hours ago she had given birth.
The murmuring sounded more like a gentle crooning now and Amber understood her roommate didn’t just have company; she had her baby with her. The swell of pain that washed over her was every bit as strong as the contractions she had endured during the long night of labor. She buzzed for the nurse knowing even as she did, that no amount of pain killer would dull this ache that throbbed so deep within her.
For the hundredth time she questioned if she was doing the right thing. Not about the adoption— she was convinced that the most loving thing she could do for this child was to allow it to be raised in a stable home with two parents. No, what she was battling inside was the overwhelming desire to see and hold her baby.
She had been counseled to stay emotionally detached from the baby and physically distant. Think of it as the adoptive couple’s baby, not yours. It will be easier that way. Less chance of growing attached; less risk of changing your mind. Less heartbreak.
Resolutely, she pushed the urge down once again. It was better this way. It had to be.
On the other side of the curtain, Abigail snuggled her baby girl closer to her. The way Molly instinctively curled her fingers around Abby’s own, had totally captivated her heart.
Yet as she whispered to her daughter, she could sense the heaviness and sorrow on the other side of the room. Abby suspected her roommate was dealing with some very difficult issues.
She couldn’t help but notice that there was no baby with its mother on the other side of the faded yellow curtain. With a wave of concern Abigail wondered if the baby was alright.
It was the sobbing that woke Abby later that night. Molly was sleeping soundly in her bassinet next to Abby’s bed and it only took an instant for Abby to realize the source. Unsteady on her feet, but determined, Abby carefully made her way to Amber’s side.
It didn’t take much coaxing from Abby to get Amber to open up. Abby didn’t need to know all of the details to appreciate the immensity of Amber’s anguish. Amber only needed loving arms and a soothing voice to convince her that there were some things better done with support than alone.
When Amber had at last exhausted her sobs and her story, Abigail retrieved Molly from the bassinet. Without asking she placed the pink sleeping bundle into the empty aching arms of the younger woman. Abby was filled with compassion as she watched Amber's face so vivid with conflicting emotions. She chose her words carefully.
“Amber, I was given up for adoption at birth and I want you to know --you are doing a beautiful thing! Blessing this couple with a baby they couldn’t otherwise have; you are giving both your baby and them a true gift. But I fear you are fooling yourself if you think not seeing your baby will make this less painful. If you’re denying yourself the opportunity to hold your baby because you think it is too risky?” Abby shook her head.
“This blanket that Molly is wrapped in? This was my blanket that my birth mother wrapped around me just before she placed me in the arms of my adoptive mom. This blanket along with the story of how I came to be with them is one of my greatest treasures. I’ve often wondered about my birth mom, where she is now or what became of her. But the one thing I have never questioned was how much I was loved. Both by the parents who raised me and the woman who made a great sacrifice to ensure that I’d be loved. Don’t be afraid to love your baby Amber. To miss the opportunity would be your greatest regret.”
Later, back in her bed, as Abby nursed Molly; she heard Amber call the nurse.
“I’d like to see my baby please.” Amber said.
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