Babies You had to Give up at Birth
Author: Trish Mc Bride
May 23, 2021
Once upon a time, not so many decades ago, a good woman had a baby boy. Because she loved him and didn’t believe she could look after him as well as he deserved, she entrusted him to another father and mother who brought him up and helped him grow into a good man. A while later, the same thing happened again and another baby boy was entrusted to another father and mother, and he too was helped to grow into a good man.
The good woman grieved for her babies and was not proud of being unable to look after them.
As she got older she kept it a secret from the people she knew. A long time later her church community had some special meetings where they talked to each other about God and real things that had happened in their lives. For the first time she heard two other women talking about grieving for their babies whom they had had to entrust to others. Still she said nothing. But later on she did tell someone about her babies. And later again she asked that woman to look after her when she might not be able to look after herself.
About that time, Charlie, the younger of the two boys who were now men, discovered who his birth-mother was and came halfway round the world for a special visit with his beautiful wife and little girl. Later he came back to visit again, this time with Liz, the lovely mum who had brought him up. She was so grateful to his birth mum for allowing her to be his mother too! When they had gone back, Bridget, for that was her name, sighed and wished she could go across another sea to find her older son, James. Her friends talked about it, but decided she really wasn’t well enough for a trip like that, and anyway, where would they start looking? One found a very old address and they decided to write a letter to James and hope it might reach him. The letter said that if he wanted to get in touch with his birth mum, it would be good to do that as she was getting frailer. And it asked if he knew he had a half-brother. There was no reply, and the friends thought, ‘Well, we tried.’
Weeks and weeks later, one friend found a message from James on her answerphone. She was puzzled for a moment: James who? Then realised – this was the reply to the letter! But how could she contact him in Australia? Then he rang again, and what a surprise! – he and his family had been back living in New Zealand for a long time. The letter had been on a very long journey there and back, and had eventually reached him. When he got it he’d jumped on a plane and had arrived at Wellington Airport. The friend jumped into her car, went to meet him there and they talked for a long time, and were both happy with what they discovered. James asked ‘Can I see her tomorrow?’ The friend said she’d do her best, and later got in touch with the others to arrange a ride for him.
Next morning she went to see Bridget, and tried to be very gentle.
‘Do you remember you said you’d really like to see James?’ ‘Mmm’, said Bridget a bit sadly.
‘Well, we wrote a letter to his old address in Australia.’ ‘Mmm, that was nice of you.’
‘But he and his family came back to New Zealand a long time ago.’ ‘Oh?’ - interested now!
‘Now he’s just got the letter, and he’s come to Wellington.’ ‘Really?!’ - cautious delight!
‘He’d like to see you - can he come this morning?’ Tears, ‘It’s a miracle!’ and ‘Yes, yes!’ so the other friend brought James to Bridget, and it was an amazing moment of reunion for them, and for the friends.
James discovered he had a new extra family with lots of aunties and uncles and cousins, and in a while brought his beautiful wife and children to meet Bridget and the rest of the family. The idea of a brother he’d never known about still seemed quite strange, though. He visited Bridget a few times and got to know her as a good, kind, gentle woman. It was still a long journey from his home, so it couldn’t be very often.
A few years passed, and one day Bridget got very sick. That weekend, James and Sandra came down to see her. She was very pleased to see them, then they went home. When they’d heard how sick she was, Charlie and Fay decided they too would travel from England to see her again the next weekend. When James and Sandra heard this was happening, they decided it would be the right moment to meet his brother, so they came back to Wellington again. They all met for the first time, and it made them very happy! The next morning they went to see Bridget together, and for the first and only time she had her two boys with her at the same time. Her life was complete – she had seen them again, and seen them together as her two sons, and as brothers to each other, and as husbands to two other good women and fathers to her grand-children! Then they all went back to their homes.
The very next weekend she got even sicker and seemed likely to die soon. When he heard this, James jumped in his car and all night drove the very very long way to be with her. He arrived and held her hand, the nurses were looking after her too, and within a little while she died. Soon he found a bed to have a sleep, then got back in his car and drove all the way home. Charlie and Fay were very sad too, but so glad they had been for their visit, had seen Bridget, and had met James and Sandra and become family with them. Now they could talk to each other.
For the fourth time in four weeks, James came to Wellington, this time with Sandra, for Bridget’s funeral. He talked to everyone there about his life and getting to know Bridget and her family. Sandra read the beautiful letter from Charlie and Fay. James shared some powerful words he had discovered in his heart that summed up the whole enormous experience:
In the beginning, it was Mum, me and the nurses.
In the end, it was Mum, me and the nurses.
James and Charlie and Sandra and Fay made Bridget very happy. She died as a loved and fulfilled mother, with all threads of her life at last connected into a beautiful pattern!
© Trish McBride 2016