Waiting To Forget

Overview

"[An] extraordinary memoir of [the author's] giving up for adoption the baby she bore at 16... beautifully written, psychologically nuanced and sociologically informed."—Nation
Described in the New York Times Book Review as "uniquely enlightening," Waiting to Forget is a mother's story of coming to terms with the child she gave up for adoption over thirty years ago. In 1965 Margaret Moorman was unmarried, pregnant, and still in high school. Forced by societal pressures to give her baby up, she suffered emotional ...

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Overview

"[An] extraordinary memoir of [the author's] giving up for adoption the baby she bore at 16... beautifully written, psychologically nuanced and sociologically informed."—Nation
Described in the New York Times Book Review as "uniquely enlightening," Waiting to Forget is a mother's story of coming to terms with the child she gave up for adoption over thirty years ago. In 1965 Margaret Moorman was unmarried, pregnant, and still in high school. Forced by societal pressures to give her baby up, she suffered emotional trauma both before and for years after the birth. At forty, she gave birth to a daughter and found herself terrified by the possibility of losing her younger child, a fear she can now trace back to her uncertain decision to give up her son.
Moorman discusses both her own complicated feelings of loss and motherhood and the issue of adoption from the often overlooked point of view of a birth parent.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“For birth mothers of adopted children, Waiting to Forget will be a revelation and a comfort.”
Elle
“[A] hauntingly evocative memoir.”
The Oregonian
“[Moorman] has an artist's eye for detail and a pitch-perfect literary voice.”
Elle
“[A] hauntingly evocative memoir.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moorman (My Sister's Keeper) has written a wrenching and moving account of her teenage pregnancy and her decision to give up her newborn son for adoption. A 15-year-old high-school student in Arlington, Va., she was ignorant of birth control in 1964 when she became pregnant by her boyfriend. He promised to marry her but instead joined the Navy, a move that echoed other losses: her father's unexpected death from a heart attack in 1963 and her sister's repeated hospitalizations for manic-depressive illness. The disapproval of doctors and her moody, withdrawn mother imparted shame and humiliation and induced her to give away her infant son in a "closed" adoption (the birth records were sealed). Beset by guilt, sorrow and debilitating depression, she subsequently underwent years of psychotherapy. In 1989, she and her second husband had a daughter named Laura. Moorman writes affectingly of being pregnant at 40 and of her irrational terror of letting Laura out of her sight, a fear she traced to unresolved longing for her first, unknown child. After years spent tracking the by-now grown man down, she finally located him in 1995. His response, that he did not want to see her, at least for the time being, makes for a bittersweet finale.
Library Journal
Moorman, a contributing reviewer to Artnews who gave birth to a daughter while in her 40s, writes a moving memoir of becoming a mother at age 16 and then having to give up her child for adoption. Complicating this difficult decision was Moorman's family situation, a cold mother, an absent father, and a sister who suffered from severe mental problems. For many years, the author blocked the pain of giving away her child and struggled through several bad relationships. Not until she dealt with her anger and, finally, grief as she started searching for her son did her healing process begin. This honest and touching memoir will be absorbing reading for women who have gone through a teen pregnancy or given up a child for adoption.-- Eva Lautemann, DeKalb College Library, Clarkston, Georgia
Library Journal
Moorman, a contributing reviewer to Artnews who gave birth to a daughter while in her 40s, writes a moving memoir of becoming a mother at age 16 and then having to give up her child for adoption. Complicating this difficult decision was Moorman's family situation, a cold mother, an absent father, and a sister who suffered from severe mental problems. For many years, the author blocked the pain of giving away her child and struggled through several bad relationships. Not until she dealt with her anger and, finally, grief as she started searching for her son did her healing process begin. This honest and touching memoir will be absorbing reading for women who have gone through a teen pregnancy or given up a child for adoption.-- Eva Lautemann, DeKalb College Library, Clarkston, Georgia
Kirkus Reviews
The poignant but familiar story of a teenage mother and the lingering pain and shame she suffered after giving up her baby for adoption. Born in 1949, Moorman (My Sister's Keeper) hit puberty on the cusp of the sexual revolution. Girls were still wearing white gloves to church on Sunday and debating whether to be a "good" girl or a "bad" girl in the back seat of the family Plymouth on Saturday night. Moorman tipped into the bad-girl category by getting pregnant when she was 15, not long after her father's sudden death. She hid the news from her mother until it was too late to get an abortion (then illegal), carried her baby to term, and surrendered him for adoption. Nearly 30 years later, happily married, she gave birth to a little girl. Her extreme difficulty in parting from her daughter, even for a few hours, brought to the surface all the fear and confusion that she had buried in "abandoning" her first baby. In this volume, she recounts not only the story of her first pregnancy, but the muddled attitudes surrounding adoption today. Hidden away through most of her pregnancy (friends and neighbors were told that she was living with an aunt), she never saw her son after his birth. Her search for him was carried out in fits and starts, through books, phone calls, letters, and a network of support groups that served variously the needs of adopted children, adoptive parents, and birth parents. She did locate her son, and although they have not yet met in person, Moorman has allowed her young daughter a longer leash because of what she's learned about herself. An honest, heartfelt account of one woman's feelings, along with a look at the mixture of guilt, judgment, and recriminationthat cloud adoptions. Others, however, have examined the same issues more cogently and more eloquently.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393317831
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Moorman is the author of Waiting to Forget. She lives in New York City.

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