It was a different time in a different world when 17-year-old Maxene Raices got pregnant. A world where young girls became cloaked in lies and isolated for shaming their families. And all of this took place in a complete absence of sex education or discussion.

Fast forward 26 years to her answering the phone and hearing the daughter she’d given up for adoption on the other end.

Maxene is author of the book The Land of Sunshine and Hell: A Memoir of a 60s Unwed Mother, in which she chronicles a tumultuous and heartbreaking journey of giving up a child she’d had no option to keep.

“It left a hole in my heart.”

We often hear this expression associated with the loss of a loved one, and that’s exactly what she experienced when her child was taken from her. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

I’ve seen movies set in the 1960s involving teenage pregnancy, but not until reading this book, and interviewing Maxene, did I realize the scope of what young girls experienced.

That’s my biggest takeaway this week. That we’ve truly come a long way in the war on acceptance and the ability to make our own choices. Now, let’s do all we can to ensure that it stays that way.

You can check out Maxene’s riveting interview on iHeart Radio, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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