Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Scarlet Letter A

In high school, I was required by my English teacher to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The Scarlet Letter. I was captivated by the story of Hester Prynne and the legalism behind her having to wear the scarlet letter "A". While the minister, who was just as much a part of it, walked around free from the public criticism.

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Sometimes I think society is forcing birthmoms to walk around with a scarlet letter "A". A for adoption. You may never know her but you have already labeled her. You ask how she could have possibly given her child up for adoption? Did she not love him enough? Did she not care to share the laughter and the tears over her daughter's first boyfriend? Did she not want to stand with pride in her eyes as her son went into the army?

And so the scarlet stain on her letter A keeps getting a bit darker each time you place that judgement on her.

Oh and you just know she did drugs right? Or drank throughout her whole pregnancy?

That stain just got a little bit redder.

Did you know the she didn't want to wear that A? That she would give anything to have her son back. But that wasn't an option for her. Did you know that she cried until she was gasping for breath when she left her daughter in someone else's arms?

Did you know that she was raped and chose to give that child life rather than death?

Of course you didn't and neither did I until I saw it firsthand. And then I too had to put on my scarlet letter. Except mine wasn't an A, instead it was a J. Stained red for the judgement I had for our own birthmom and others before her.