This week we present my 2012 conversation with Meredith Hall about her pregnancy at age 16. Meredith describes being shunned by her family and school and forced to give the child up for adoption. The experience was never acknowledged, and this silence left her alone and afraid for many years. Her memoir Without a Map explores how silence can be such an impediment to healing.
An interview with author and professor, Meredith Hall about her experience of being shunned when she became pregnant at 16. Meredith speaks of the deep messages to pregnant girls that they are bad, and must be made to keep silent about the pregnancy for the rest of their lives. Meredith describes what it was like to be shunned by her entire community and to be pushed out of her mother’s house when she most needed support. She speaks about three levels of grief, the profound loss of losing the child, the loss that no-one ever spoke to her about this loss, or even acknowledged it, and the loss of her family and entire social world. Meredith speaks about how her anger helped protect her dignity and how seeing that she too had abandoned her child helped her make peace internally with her parents who had abandoned her. She ultimately affirms that she has been able to see the large grief she carries as a gift that has enlarged her capacity to love.
An interview with psychiatrist, Frank, about being the gay father of two boys. Frank describes his sense that he always wanted children, and how he told his husband very early in their relationship that this was part of who he was. He describes the steps they have taken to raise their children in safe and accepting communities, and how they have been able to protect them from homophobia. Nonetheless, Frank describes the all too real sense of danger and hate that exists in our culture, such that he felt the need to do the interview anonymously. Frank also describes his experience of finding a surrogate to conceive and bear the child, and their family’s story of staying connected to their surrogate. Frank explores assumptions people make about his ability to nurture and take care of his children, and the intrusive offers of help he sometimes receives in public settings.
An interview with psychologist and author Dr. Patricia Papernow about the challenges of step-family living. Patricia lays out three of the most challenging parts of being a step-family: The first challenge is insider/outsider dynamics between the biological parent and the step-parent. [Read more…]
An interview with public school teacher, poet and blogger, Catherine Anderson about adopting her son Sam. Catherine describes her decision to adopt and how she thought she understood racism before parenting. She describes her experience of those “grocery store moments” when she has to respond to other people’s surprise and inappropriate comments in front of her son. She speaks movingly about her relationship with Sam’s birth mom and how strong the pull is to keep proving to her that she is doing a good job. She describes the ways that she talks to Sam about race, and the ways that she, as a white woman, feels she can and cannot prepare him to be a black man in Maine. Catherine reads her beautiful poem, Black Enough to open and close the interview. You can find her blog at mamacandtheboys.com