The heartbreak of mothers preparing to give their babies up for adoption revealed in moving new reality show
20:16 GMT, 23 July 2012
A new reality TV series sheds light on the heart-wrenching stories of women who decide to give their children up for adoption.
In the first episode of I'm Having Their Baby, which premieres tonight on Oxygen, viewers are introduced to Mary, a 25-year-old receptionist from Orlando, Florida and Claudia, a 20-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia.
The lives of both women have been filmed from around 15 weeks prior to their due dates, offering great detail about the realities women face in choosing not to raise their own children.
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Emotional decision: A new series titled I'm Having Their Baby explores the heartbreak experienced by women who chose to put their babies up for adoption. Mary, a 25-year-old receptionist (above), is one of them
Mary, who is divorcing her husband Eric of five years, tells of how she fell pregnant after having an affair with an ex-boyfriend she reunited with via Facebook.
She tells the camera: 'I had an affair and now I'm pregnant from a man who is not my husband.'
In her defense, Mary had been told by Eric prior to the affair that he 'couldn't do another five years'.
'I hooked up with him [the ex-boyfriend] and then found out [about the pregnancy] and Eric told me he still loved me but he didn't want anything to do with the baby,' she says.
Struggle: Claudia, a 20-year-old who is adopted herself, underestimated the emotion that came with her decision
She adds: 'I started this adoption to even have a hope of fixing my marriage.'
Mary is shown meeting with an adoption councilor, Nichol, in order to select a potential family to adopt her baby.
As she rifles through books that describe and picture each family, Mary becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
'I know it's going to be a great loss for me. I never imaged this is how it would play out'
'It's just really hitting me,' she tells Nichol. 'I didn't grow up and thought “when I get older, my first baby…” you know.'
'I love my baby, I'd love him to have a mom and dad and everything… all the reasons are still valid,' she tells the camera afterwards.
Mary settles on a couple, Jeremy and Nicole, before acknowledging that the process of giving up her child is bound to be hard.
'I know it's going to be a great loss for me to place the baby with the family,' she says. 'I wanted to be pregnant forever. I never imaged this is how it would play out.'
Disapproving: Mary's husband Eric (above) doesn't want to raise the baby she created during an affair
Pure joy: Nicole and Jeremy (above) are chosen by Mary to become the parents of her unborn child
Difficult: Mary's plan turns pear-shaped at her baby's ultrasound, which she invites the couple (left) along to
Claudia, meanwhile, is experiencing struggles of her own.
Born in Haiti, she was adopted by an American family when she was ten.
'My mom and dad made a decision they were happy with,' she tells the camera. 'I'm thankful that my biological parents did what they did.'
She fell pregnant after failing to use a condom during sex a man named Ben. The pair had been dating for just one month.
'It was my stupidity not to have used a condom,' she says. 'But you learn from your mistakes.'
Her current boyfriend, Josh, came into her life when she was five months pregnant.
'Josh wished I was going to keep the baby but where are we going to get the money to pay for it', she says. 'If we break up, I'm a single mother, struggling every day to make ends meet.
'He knows I'm not a whore.'
Support: Claudia (left) met boyfriend Josh (right) when she was five months pregnant with another's baby
Process: She takes her mother (right) along to adoption planning meetings who adopted Claudia (left) herself
Past flame: Ben, the father of Claudia's unborn child, does not approve of her decision to give it up
Mary's decision causes her even more pain when Jeremy and Nicole go along to an ultrasound that reveals the baby's sex for the first time.
'I have to fight the maternal instincts I have,' she is seen telling the camera before her ultrasound takes place.
In the doctor's office, Nicole can't hide her excitement over the chance to become a mother, squealing with delight as she views the ultrasound's projections.
Mary says: 'She's responding first, she's being very loud… i felt very minimised. I'm feeling unsure about Jeremy and Nicole. I don't think anyone can understand how it feels unless they've gone through it.
'I was fighting these emotions of “get away,
stop trying to take my baby away”, which doesn't make much sense when I
think about it [later on].'
Despite the feelings not making sense to her, Mary decides against offering her baby to the couple.
'I did really like them, their personalities,' she says. 'But then something felt off when I was going with them. I don't feel at peace with it. I still feel strongly about the adoption.'
Attached: Mary grows an unexpected attachment to her child David (pictured) after she gives birth to him
Claudia is also concerned with her baby's future parents but she is facing further complications of her own.
Ben does not approve of the adoption decision, despite failing to care for five additional illegitimate children of his own.
'If he tries to stop the adoption process, he's stopping his child from having a bright future,' Claudia says.
'Talking to Ben is like talking to a wall.'
Claudia gives birth to Caleb Isaiah one week prior to her due date but it is not her only surprise.
Her unexpected emotion overwhelms her as she makes the difficult decision to stick with the adoption process. She found an 'amazing adopted couple' just a few weeks prior to Caleb's birth.
'I don't know why I'm upset,' she says. 'I feel like I chose to have a child but now I can't take care of one… that's the part that hurts. I'm way more emotional than I expected.'
Unity: Claudia is unexpectedly overwhelmed by how hard it proves for her to give up her new baby
Mary's labor is no less emotional.
With a new set of parents secured, David Joye is born into the world.
But like many mothers who plan an adoption and underestimate the attachment felt to an unborn child, Mary has her doubts once she gets to know David.
The baby's fate is revealed at the end of the episode.