She longed to be loved, to be cared for. Eventually she found another man, but he didn’t stick around. He was in and out of her home and her life. At times he was kind. He gave her a son. She loved that boy from the minute she laid eyes on him. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her daughter, but Iris had felt so much shame when she had her; so much heartache, hurt and betrayal. It still hurt to look at her sometimes. It reminded her that she thought she had a true love, but she didn’t. She didn’t expect so much anymore. The new baby filled her with hope. He was so cuddly and warm. He had the sweetest gaze. The new baby’s father wasn’t always so kind. He was often hard and gruff with her. It was probably better when he wasn’t there, even if he did put food on the table when he was. Her little man was perfect. He was everything his father failed to be. He made her feel important, he loved her. She would do anything to make his life better. When his poppa wasn’t there, and things got hard, she even begged her family for help. They filled in where things lacked.
Iris tried to do things better, and be independent but she never seemed to quite get everything in life right. It was hard trying to keep everything going right, and she was often distracted by her need to really fit in, to truly be loved by a man. By the time her son was 2 she had given up on his poppa. His parting gift however, had been another child. Now she was on her own with 3 children. There was no support from the father of her boys anymore. Her family didn’t want to support her bad decisions by jumping in and helping every time she got in trouble they said. This time it was really all on her shoulders. She had to go to work, but she was so tired. She was having the hardest time just paying rent, let alone put food on the table. Now she had to feed the baby too, but she was worn out, undernourished and couldn’t nurse him. She had to find enough milk for him somehow. The doctor at the clinic told her she wasn’t feeding him enough. She had better find a way to feed him more or he might not live to his first birthday.
A social worker at the clinic approached her. She knew of a lady who couldn’t have children of her own. Would she consider placing her baby for adoption? If she said yes, she would have to give the baby up forever. The adoptive parents would move far away across the country, or maybe abroad. She would never see her baby again. She would have no right to see him. He would not be hers any more. But he would live. He would be well. He would have all the things he needed. They would love him. Would she think about it? For three days she agonized over the decision. What if she did? What if she didn’t? If she gave him up, would her family ever forgive her? Could she forgive herself? What kind of woman would give up her own child? But if she kept him and he died, would she ever forgive herself? What if she just couldn’t handle 3 children? What if she messed up with all of them? Wouldn’t the baby be better off somewhere else? The questions swirled around and around in her mind. She didn’t know the answers. She was just too tired. It was all just so hard. She went back to the clinic. She said yes. Papers were signed. Arrangements were made.
When the time to pick up the baby arrived, she sent her daughter to the store for bread. She knew she couldn’t let her be there. She didn’t know what she would tell her when she came home. She handed the baby over, and watched him leave, and hugged her older son harder than ever. The baby was gone. He would never be hers again.P.S. I just joined Soap Opera Sunday over at Brillig's. Find more stories there. See part 1 of my story here.