Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Baby Scoop Era - Pregnant at the Wrong Time?

If you happened to become pregnant before you were married during the 50's, 60's or 70's, there was sure one way to redeem yourself. That way was to relinquish your baby to adoption. Here is part of what you might have had to deal with:

1. Being ostracized from your family, church and community;
2. Worrying that if by some near miracle you found a way to keep your child, it would be called cruel names;
3. Unable to find housing as unwed mothers were social pariahs;
4. Being dismissed from a school or job when you began to “show”;
5. Unable to find employment as you were considered a social outcast;
6. The designation of a “fast” or “easy” woman who was unfit for marriage.
7. Admonitions that you were “damaged goods” and no man would ever want to marry you.
8. Being insulted, humiliated and treated cruelly when you were in the hospital giving birth;
9. Not receiving any information before giving birth about what to expect;
10. Being told that you did not deserve to parent your baby.

It was the wrong time to be unmarried and pregnant-such a condition was a horrendous social taboo. The proper and widely accepted solution was to relinquish your baby for adoption. The idea was, that if you no longer had the baby, no one would ever know that you had sex before you were married.

Another part of the plan was that you would be redeeming yourself somewhat if you “did the right thing”. The “right thing” was to give the baby to a waiting family who “deserved” to raise a child and were prepared to do so. There were plenty of waiting families eager for newborns, so it all worked out well. At least in some people's eyes it did. However, if you ask many of the women whose babies grew up being raised by someone else, and in some cases their children, you might get a very different opinion.

Jan Baker in Birth-First Parent

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