In contemplating how myself and both of my sisters lost custody of our children in a variety of ways, I realize that the main factor was instability and a lack of financial resources.
Though our parents were technically “good” parents, there was this attitude that once we were mature and more especially, once we married and had children, even if our marriages collapsed – we were on our own. Our mother even counseled one of my sisters to give up her daughter rather than face an indefinite period of time when they might have to support the two of them. The other sister simply accepted adoption as a reasonable solution to an inconvenient conception since both of our parents were adoptees.
Of course, we had no idea at the time of the wounds that separating any child from their natural mother, by whatever means, causes in a child. I also realize that many single mothers somehow manage to survive parenting without losing their children. I admire their fierce determination.
Today, is my oldest son’s 18th birthday. I may have spent the rest of my life accepting that my self and my sisters were somehow defective if I hadn’t met my second husband 30 years ago.
My parents were quick to recognize the stability that living with him brought into my own life and were eager to “give me away” in marriage. They were relieved to no longer have to worry about me. My sisters have not been as fortunate.
I have been in my son’s life almost every minute of every day since he snuggled into my womb, then fed at my breast. I now know it was the lack of stability and not that I was inherently defective that kept me from raising my oldest child, my beautiful daughter.