Those Three Words by Christine Bauer
‘Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance, and motherhood’ by Christine Bauer will be released in May 2018 – for Mother’s Day.
There are three words that, when uttered together, make dreams come true for millions of women. For millions more, those same words can shatter their dreams. “You are pregnant.”
Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States — some 3.1 million each year —are unintended. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned.
Author Christine Bauer’s memoir Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood takes a deep dive into the emotions of facing an unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of 18.
Those Three Words takes readers along on the journey of weighing options, agonizing over a decision, and ultimately deciding to let another family adopt and raise her baby. This story also looks at how placing a child for adoption affected the rest of her life, especially when she became the mother of two boys. Those Three Words touches on the controversial topics of abortion and adoption, birth control, and women’s rights.
This story will resonate with millions of readers because women know and understand the joy and pain of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, and the power of family and parental love.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Bauer deftly addresses one of the most wrenching and emotional decisions one might confront: how to respond to an unexpected pregnancy. With candor and grace she leads readers on a thought-provoking journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down.” – Caryn M. Sullivan, Author of “Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page,” winner of the 2015 Midwest Book Award for Inspiration.
“On its surface, Christine Bauer’s Those Three Words is an engrossing memoir detailing a young birthmother’s hard path toward fulfillment and happiness. But even stronger currents race deeper down, about the difficulty of acceptance, the power of family, and the nature of love. Reading it is a moving and unforgettable experience.” – Jack El-Hai, Author and past President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors
“As a young girl, I was proud to be adopted. I was chosen. Then, after giving birth to my first child, I paused and was overcome with grief. How could any loving woman give up a baby? Chrisy’s book helped me understand the love, agony, and courage needed to be a birth mother, to do what’s right for yourself, and for the helpless human you’ve brought into the world.” – Lory Sutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Minnesota Historical Society
Excerpt from Chapter 1:
Late September 1984
Overdose Warning. My index finger landed on these two words. I tilted the box to reduce the fluorescent lights’ glare as it flickered across the small typeface.
Once the words came into focus, I scanned them quickly:
TYLENOL® PM relieves your pain fast so you can sleep and feel refreshed after a good night’s rest.
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.
I would need to take more than just the Tylenol to be sure it worked, so I decided I should combine the pills with Nyquil. Yes, together, these would create my own little annihilation cocktail.
But would buying these two products together look suspect at the checkout counter? The cashier could ask, “Hey, girl, are you planning to kill yourself?”
And then I could say: “Yes, you asshole, I am. I’m pregnant and I’m desperate and this is the solution that causes the least pain for everyone in the long run.
“And it’s none of your fucking business,” I’d add.
One by one, I took the packages off the shelf—two of each—and placed them gently in the red plastic shopping basket draped across my left arm.
“Excuse me,” a middle-aged lady said suddenly, startling me. She smiled and nodded at me. I stepped aside so she could reach out and take her own box of sleep aids from the shelf. I was sure she was really going to use hers to sleep and not to kill herself, but I guess you never know.
As I moved over for her, I reached deep down inside my soul and pulled out a smile in return. I hadn’t smiled for days, but this woman made me think of my mom, whose gentle face entered my mind like an uninvited but welcome guest.
I meandered through the drugstore aisles. Before now I’d never thought much about the number of products that were available to solve your problems. There were products to take away body odor, products to make your skin soft, products to get rid of zits and stop bleeding. There were tablets to freshen your breath and capsules to make your headache go away. There were pills to make you sleep, and even kill yourself if you wanted.
But there was nothing to make a pregnancy disappear.
As I passed the plethora of feminine hygiene supplies, I thought of the pretty pink box of Playtex tampons that sat unopened in my dorm-room closet. It had taunted me over the past few weeks, especially this morning. I’d thought of the many times over the years that I’d hated having to open those boxes, having to deal with the inconvenience and hassle of a period. Now opening that box would seem like opening a very special gift.
I moved on from tampons to chips. I stood in a daze in front of the Doritos, Fritos, Old Dutch potato chips, and other unhealthy snacks. The bags lounged in their steel racks, just waiting to be picked up. The Fritos looked good—they always looked good—so I grabbed a bag, placing it strategically into my basket to cover the boxes of Tylenol and Nyquil. I also grabbed some Doritos. What the hell? I may as well eat all I want. I’d been dieting for years—most of my life, really. Another curse of being a girl, and a childhood gymnast at that.
As I approached the checkout counter, the collage of women’s magazines reinforced the ideal body image that had bombarded me most of my life. Headlines blared: “Lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks!” “Get a flat tummy fast!” “Thinner thighs in 30 days!” None of that mattered anymore.
The guy at the counter was about my age, and I was relieved that he didn’t seem fazed by my strange combination of items—I threw in a Toblerone chocolate bar at the last minute to add to the mix as he rang up the sale.
“Thanks,” I said, avoiding his eyes. I didn’t want this guy to feel bad later on when the authorities figured out he was the one who sold me the ingredients for my permanent nightcap.
Plastic bag clutched tightly in my hand, I headed back out to the outdoor mall area of downtown Mankato, Minnesota. I took a seat on one of the wooden benches that dotted the sidewalk and dug my Marlboro Lights out of my backpack. It was about my tenth cigarette for the day, and it wasn’t even noon. I lit up and took a deep, long drag.
God, I hoped this was the right way to do this. This is not something I can screw up; I don’t want to screw up again. But I was damned either way. “Thou shalt not kill,” the commandment said. Nowhere did it specify, “Thou shalt not kill yourself,” but the nuns had made it clear: you do that and you’ll burn in hell. But what made them know everything? Hell, the church didn’t even respect them, so why should I?
Maybe a gun would be a better choice than pills. There were plenty at home, as I came from a family of hunters. I pictured myself back at home, unlocking the gun cabinet and taking a shotgun from the rack. I’d sneak back to my bedroom, position myself on the bed with the yellow-and-green daisy-print bedspread. Then I’d pull the trigger. It would be fast. And it was more of a sure thing.
But it would be so awful for whoever would find me—and unfortunately, that person would most likely be my mom. She was always home. Always there for us.
I put my head in my hands and rubbed my temples, careful not to burn my hair with my cigarette. No, I couldn’t do that. My mom was just too nice and too sweet for me to do that to her. To find her baby like that would be awful—red blood and grey matter with bits of blonde hair splattered against the beautiful daisy bedspread.
I took another deep drag and looked up. The sign “Someplace Else” hung there, laughing at me.
Just last week, my new friends and I had been in Someplace Else, one of the more happening bars downtown. Laughing, dancing, talking, flirting—we’d been on top of the world that night, the same as every night since school had began. It was a dream come true, being at college and on my own.
Now here I was at the same spot, this time at bottom. In just a few weeks I had tumbled from straddling the high board of life to lying at the bottom of the pool. Just last week I was a freshman in love with my friends and my new life. Now, I sat here wondering how many sleeping pills I should take to end my life.
I’d already sorted through my options:
Option 1: Give up college. Get married. Live in Mitchell. Be a mom.
Option 2: Have the baby. Be a single parent. Live with my parents in the town I had so desperately wanted to leave.
Option 3: Have an abortion. Don’t tell anyone. Ever. Go on with life.
Option 4: Grow the baby. Have the baby. Give it to some strangers to raise.
But none of these seemed right. It also didn’t even seem right that I was having to make this decision at all. I had used birth control. I had only slept with Jim, my boyfriend from back home, about five times—that wasn’t much! Especially not compared to all my friends. But here I was. Which is how I ended up at Option 5.
About the Author:
Christine (Chris) Bauer was born and raised in the big small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. She feels blessed to have grown up in a place and time when childhood was carefree, when kids left the house in morning and returned in the evening, and in between rode bikes, built forts, and played baseball and Barbies. While she loved her hometown, Chris was eager to move on to new adventures after graduating high school.
Chris attended Mankato State University in Minnesota, majoring in Mass Communications. Her dream was to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism. Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Chris has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember.
Her greatest achievement and most profound joy is being the mother of three kind-hearted children and one beautiful and spirited grandchild. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Chris is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled granddogs. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.
She resides in the Minneapolis area. While her nest is nearly empty now, she loves that the flock returns regularly for food and shelter. Those Three Words is her first book. It is currently available for pre-sale. To learn more, go to https://www.authorcbauer.com/