STEVE INSKEEP, host:
On Fridays we bring you moments from StoryCorps. StoryCorps is an oral history project that collects the stories that everyday people tell to each other. Mary Lou Maher was 17 years old when she learned that she was pregnant. She gave her baby up for adoption. Many years later the son that she gave up, Brad Skow, tracked her down. They've been close ever since and Brad interviewed his mother, Mary Lou, at the StoryCorps booth in Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
Mr. BRAD SKOW: Can you tell me about the day I was born?
Ms. MARY LOU MAHER: The doctor took you away quickly because they had asked if I wanted to hold you and I said no, because I was afraid if I held you, I wouldn't be able to give you up. So they took you away crying, and that was all I saw. And they didn't put me in the maternity ward because they were afraid that would be too hard to me. They just put me in the women's ward. And I remember one of the nurses coming up after you were born and I was crying a lot and she just came up and she just hugged me for a very long time. And she said, you know, `It's going to be OK. It just takes time.'
And it took--I don't know--about five years before I stopped thinking about you every day and crying to just thinking about you every week to the point where it only happened about once a month but it still made me sad.
Mr. SKOW: So I have one more question and this is the big one you've been waiting for.
Ms. MAHER: OK.
Mr. SKOW: So you now know, having lived through it, what the consequences of choosing to give me up are. So knowing what you know now, would you do it again?
Ms. MAHER: Well, of course knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again. I remember I used to talk to you a lot when I was pregnant and explain the whole situation, why I had to do this, that I wasn't ready to be a mother. I didn't have a father for you. I was really sure of myself, I remember that, that this was the best decision. Now I wouldn't even think about it, because the separation and the loss was just way too hard. I mean, we really have a relationship now and it's great. You've sort of become part of the family, but I missed 20 years. And you can't ever get that back.
INSKEEP: Mary Lou Maher and her son, Brad Skow. StoryCorps has two mobile booths. One is in Seattle right now and the other is in St. Louis. And as always, StoryCorps is also in New York City. If you'd like to schedule an interview or listen to more StoryCorps interviews, you can visit npr.org.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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