Monday, June 23, 2008

Baby mamas, part deux

You know, when I was a teenager, I thought the most romantic thing that could happen to me would be to find the love of my life and have a baby with him. I don't think this is really new. I read many a teenage romance that ended with an elopement and young parenthood. Maybe because it was the 70's, and girls, despite the changing times, still were expected to see marriage and children as a goal? I don't know.

But I remember a book that I absolutely loved, about a pregnant teen living in a home for unwed mothers. All of the other girls had hopes and dreams that the men in their lives were going to come for them and save them, before the inevitable deliveries and giving up of their children for adoption. (Closed adoptions, back then. Immediate shut-down, no contact, goodbye-forever adoptions.) Of course all of them were wrong, and all were heartbroken.The heroine was a girl who knew in her heart that she was different, that her boyfriend loved her in a way that none of the other girls had experienced, and that she didn't belong with them. As soon has he figured out where she'd gone and found her, they'd run off together with their little baby (girl? boy? one didn't naturally know until it was born.) And, of course, he did and they did, and all was happy and romantic.

Maybe it was just that one book, but I think there were more. There was another book about a young father whose wife had died (cancer? childbearing?) and left him first a teenage dad, and now a twenty-something heartthrob with a beautiful toddler. The teenage heroine, just a few years his younger, fell for him and voila! instant family, one made even more special by the tragic death that had formed it.

The point of this is that I can understand that fantasy of thinking that having a child is going to make your life meaningful. Maybe it's biological - I obviously don't think that way now, nor did I in the intervening years, once I figured out all I could do with my life on my own. But I get it.


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