Mitchell woman shares her adoption story with the world
When she was 18 years old, Mitchell native Christine Bauer heard the last three words she wanted to hear.
"You are pregnant."
At the time, it felt like tragedy. She considered many options, but nine months later, she ultimately chose adoption for her newborn daughter.
She called the choice an "intensely personal decision." But now, 34 years later, Bauer is sharing her story in her upcoming book, Those Three Words: A Birthmother's Story of Choice, Chance and Motherhood. The book is set to be released this month for Mother's Day, which is Sunday.
"Facing an unplanned pregnancy is one of the most agonizing and emotional decisions a woman can face because bringing a child into this world has monumental consequences," Bauer said. "I felt I had an important story to tell about the importance and power of the right to choose and the unbreakable bond of maternal love."
Bauer, now a resident of Minneapolis, was born and raised in Mitchell. She graduated from Mitchell High School in 1984.
While she loved the town, she moved to Minnesota after high school attend undergraduate classes at Mankato State University, now known as Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Just weeks into her college career, she got the news. She was pregnant, and she was "devastated."
"I was loving my new life at college and was so excited to pursue an education. I was in no way ready to be a mother," Bauer said. "The book looks at how I faced this difficult decision, how I placed my baby for adoption and how it impacted my entire life."
Even in the first chapter, Bauer doesn't pull any punches. The story kicks off with Bauer reading overdose warnings on over-the-counter pill bottles.
"I didn't want an overdose warning; I wanted overdose advice. I wanted to know what to take so I would a sleep for an eternity," Bauer says in Chapter 1.
In her first drafts, that chapter came later in the book, but after discussion with her editor, she realized this was the right way to begin her story.
"It was a pivotal moment in my life and my story, so it had to be told."
She outlines the four options she had at the time. One: give up college, get married and be a mom. Two: be a single parent and live with her parents. Three: have an abortion and don't tell anyone — ever. Four: have the baby and give it to some strangers to raise.
According to Kelsey Butts of Book Publicity Services, about 3.1 million pregnancies each year are unintended. For those women, Bauer still believes all four choices are viable options, but she's happy with the decision she made.
Bauer's book is hardly the first about adoption, but she said her story is different from others in several ways.
"First is the serendipitous way that her adoptive parents and I found each other. It's pretty incredible, and we feel it was all meant to be," Bauer said. "There are also a few twists and turns in the book about the ups and downs of life and love."
Those Three Words is being released in honor of Mother's Day, a day which has been hard for Bauer in the past.
"It was hard because I felt like a mother and knew I was a mother, but I didn't talk about it and no one acknowledged it," Bauer said.
But through the years, Bauer and her daughter maintained a very close relationship, and the girl was always told she had "two mommies." Bauer even visited her last month in New Zealand.
Now, Bauer has two sons, who have embraced Bauer's first child with open arms. But even after raising a family of her own, she still sees the beauty in adoption.
"As for how I feel about adoption, it is a beautiful gift and an act of love. Birthmothers are incredibly brave and courageous, and they help make other families complete," Bauer said.
For anyone who reads the book, Bauer has one message she wants them to know: motherhood is beautiful.
"Bringing another human being into this world is one of the most powerful and important things you can do. Motherhood is wonderful and beautiful — and also really hard," Bauer said. "Finally, oftentimes the hardest things you go through in life turn out to the best and most rewarding."