I made a mistake 22 years ago. A big mistake. A huge mistake. A monumental mistake. A life altering mistake that affected, not just me, but someone else as well. Someone who couldn’t choose. Someone who counted on me, even though they didn’t know it at the time – couldn’t fathom it. Someone who the universe charged me with their safety, and I failed. Miserably.
For the past 8,030 days I’ve punished myself for it. It’s weighed heavily upon my soul, even though those around me are shielded from it. I hid it well. I still do. Oddly enough, this is the first time that I’ve written anything about it. I know some of my family will read this post. They’ll discover that I’m not as strong as I appear to be, but I think it’s time to get it off my chest. To put it out into the void. To face the terrible choice I made, and release myself from the self-torture. To simply forgive that naïve girl for choosing a choice that ended up being the wrong one.
I had a baby 22 years ago. I had a little boy. I had a perfect child, and I gave him away. I gave him to a couple who couldn’t have kids. I gave him to a couple who I thought would love him like I did. I was wrong. I knew this couple. Very well. Extremely well. Or at least I thought I did.
Over the years I’ve kept track of him. Sitting on the fringes of his life, peering in, but keeping my distance. I’ve longed to reach out and hold him, but restrained myself for his sake. That’s what I’ve told myself for as long as I can remember. But the only way to forgive myself is to be honest. I couldn’t face the choice I made. I didn’t want to feel the rush of guilt and shame on the surface of myself. It’s been tucked safely away in the darkest part of me. Where it belonged. Where I thought it belonged. I was wrong.
The only way to release myself from another 8,030 days of self-torture is to unleash those emotions. Feel the strength of them. Endure the pain of them. Allow the weight of them to fall away through my tears. Accept that I made the wrong choice, and finally emerge from my internal shadows. It’s the only way I can forgive myself for being wrong.
And it’s time. Time to suture the wound. Time to abandon that past and move into the future. A future where each day is punishment free. A future where I finally feel good about myself deep down. It’s okay that I made a wrong choice. I didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t know what the future held for that little boy. I didn’t know that I would feel this kind of regret.
I’m letting go of that. I forgive myself.
[…] I mean forgive everyone. Forgive your child for whatever you feel they have done wrong. Forgive your child for whatever decisions they make. Forgive yourself for believing that it was wrong. […]
The fact that you made the wrong choice doesn’t mean you have to punish yourself for it. Sometimes what we call the wrong choice, like this one, is only the wrong choice with the benefit of hindsight. You may regret that choice but regrets are one of the many emotions that guide us in future choices and recognising your regret and sadness (as you clearly have) will be much more valuable for you in the future than would self abasement. Thanks you for an interesting and well written piece
Thanks for you thoughts and comments. I appreciate it. I think you’re right in saying that regret is an emotion “that guide[s] us in future choices.” It certainly has for me.
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forgiving yourself is where it starts; whether the decision was wrong or right at the point in time the decision was made depended on the circumstances. No one knows the future…..
That’s true. My circumstances at the time were less than desirable. Thanks so much for your comments.
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I truly applaud you for sharing this story. I am sure other women may have been in this situation and feel they aren’t alone. Your revelation is comforting and I pray you continue this path to forgiveness. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the kind words, Tiffany
[…] I have it. You have it. We all have it. The cacophony of internal self-doubt that freezes all potential. Even as I write this my confidence rattles around on the inside, pinging off the walls of my thoughts, and echoes my insecurity that maybe my words, these words that I’m writing at this very moment, aren’t good enough. In fact, before I publish each blog post I experience a disharmonious flood of doubts that no one will read it. No one will care. Even worse, that people will read it, and find not one shred of value in my words. Especially when what I write is personal and guarded, like my last post, Let Go and Forgive. […]
[…] with my youngest son, Ben. For those of you who have been reading my work, he was referenced in a previous post, and to avoid rehashing that article, the skinny of it is, I gave him up for adoption. Blunt and […]
[…] some of the consequences aren’t good and can last a life time. I’ve made a few like that. A post that I wrote in mid-October was about one such […]