Veiled in secrecy for years, Judy Liautaud is shedding light on her teenage pregnancy in her memoir, “Sunlight on my Shadow.”
The book discusses Liautaud’s pregnancy, her time at a Wisconsin home for unwed mothers, her daughter’s birth and adoption. It also talks about Liautaud’s search for her daughter years later.
“I always thought about her and what she was doing,” Liautaud said about the daughter she gave up for adoption.
The Oak Grove author began writing the book four years ago as a way to sort through what happened years earlier, when she and her family maintained the story that Liautaud went away because she was suffering from kidney disease.
“It was just something I felt, I was just prompted to do it,” she said about writing the book.
With the book’s completion, Liautaud’s biggest concern was sharing her story, a strongly held secret for so many years, with others, especially her siblings.
“As I wrote, I didn’t think about anybody reading it,” she said.
“There’s nothing held behind in this story.”
After Liautaud returned from giving birth at the home for unwed mothers, she said nobody, not even members of her family, asked her about what happened.
“That’s how deep of a secret it was,” she said.
But the worry was for not, as Liautaud said, those who have read the memoir because they are very supportive of it and her telling her story.
And Liautaud is a changed woman having put her story to paper.
“Now I realize how deeply it [the pregnancy and adoption] affected me,” she said. “I’m a changed person for writing this book.”
“It has been an amazing, healing journey for me.”
Liautaud said she would just start by writing what she remembered about that time in her life, which was quite limited.
“When I first started writing it was amazing how much I didn’t remember,” she said. “I had stuffed it down.”
But as the memories cam back, Liautaud said she began to realize how much what had happened helped to shape her adult life.
In sharing her story, Liautaud hope others in similar circumstances find comfort in her story.
“It would be incredible if it would touch others so they will not have to hide and hold secrecy,” she said.
A book launch party will take place Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Open Book: Target Hall, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis. Tickets are free but limited. To reserve space, visit www.sunlight.eventbrite.com.
In addition to Liautaud reading and signing her book, there will be guest speakers discussing adoption and live music.
“Sunlight on my Shadow” is available at amazon.com and sunlightonmyshadow.com. It is published by Cedar Creek Press, Inc., Liautaud’s Oak Grove publishing company.