A teenage mum is reunited with her daughter 50 years after she was forced to give her up for adoption

For 50 years Pauline Pedder wondered what happened to the baby she’d had to give up. Now she knows. Catherine Scott reports.

Pauline Pedder (right) from Huddersfield is reunited with her daughter Carol (left) after 50 years apart. Picutre: Wall to Wall/ITV

Pauline Pedder was just 14 years old when she discovered she was pregnant.

It was the Sixties and when her father found out he demanded that she have the baby adopted once it was born.

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But she never stopped thinking about the little girl she was forced to have adopted.

Pauline was just 14 when she discovered she was pregnant

And now, 50 years on, she has been reunited with her long-lost daughter – who had been living just a few miles form Pauline’s Huddersfield home.

In fact her daughter had been following Pauline on Facebook for three years unable to pluck up the courage to get in touch.

The remarkable story features as part on the televisions series Long Lost Family, which airs on ITV at 9pm on Monday.

Pauline Pedder, 65, grew up with her parents and eight siblings in Huddersfield.

Facebook picture of Pauline that her daughter Carol Whitehead sourced on Facebook and held on her mobile phone for three years before the pair met

It was here, whilst attending the local secondary school, that Pauline first discovered that she was pregnant.

Pauline recalls: “I could feel the baby growing… it was so scary.”

Unable to confess to her parents, she confided in two close friends who spoke to their form teacher and eventually the head teacher found out.

He wrote her a letter for Pauline to give to her parents, expelling her from school.

Presenter of Long Lost Family Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell Picture: Photographer Tony Ward/ITV

But Pauline never gave the letter to her parents. She pretended to go to school while hiding at her boyfriend’s house.

“I was just shoving it under the carpet, hoping it would go away,” she admits.

Eventually, Pauline had to return home where she was confronted by her dad, who had heard rumours that one of his daughters was pregnant. And he asked if it was her.

“I just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. He said, ‘If you’re having a baby, you won’t be bringing the baby home here’.” 

Pauline’s parents arranged for her to go to a mother and baby home nearby and decided the baby would be adopted.

Her older sister, Carol, offered to raise Pauline’s baby.

Carol vividly remembers their father’s reaction – he said: “You are not taking in that child… if you do, that’s it, I’ve lost you and Pauline as daughters.”

Pauline has never forgotten the four weeks which she spent with her daughter, who she called Louise.

She has a photograph (see panel), taken when she was five months pregnant and 15 years old.

“I wish I could have warned myself of all the hurt that was going to come, but I love that picture, because to me it shows that she existed.”

Now Pauline lives four miles away from where she grew up, with her husband and close to her four grown-up children.

Longing to find her firstborn, Pauline approached ITV’s Long Lost Family and the intermediaries took up the search.

Quite quickly they discovered 
that Louise’s name had been changed to Carol Whitehead and that, unusually, a local family had adopted her.

In fact Carol is still living just a couple of miles from the house where Pauline grew up.

Presenter Nicky Campbell met Carol, who works as a cook at an adult day centre and lives with her partner, Rohan.

Carol says she had always known that she was adopted.

“My mum told me that made me special,” she tells Nicky.

She learnt her birth mother’s 
name through obtaining her 
adoption papers when she was 18 but when her adopted mother found out she was upset and so she stopped the search.

Three years ago, after the death 
of her mother, Carol began searching for the birth mother she had never met.

“I asked a friend to help me and 
she quite quickly said that she’d found her on Facebook.

“I looked at the photos and realised she had to be my mother as we look so alike.

“For the last three years I have been looking at her on Facebook.”

She even has a photograph of Pauline on her mobile phone downloaded from Facebook.
Only the fear of upsetting the applecart by revealing her existence to Pauline’s family members has held Carol back from reaching out. 

“I could see from Facebook that she had a family and I couldn’t face being rejected and so I didn’t do anything about it.”

Davina McCall visited Pauline to tell her that her daughter, now called Carol, had been found.

Pauline was astounded to learn 
that her daughter has been following her life on Facebook over the last 
three years and was overjoyed that Carol coincidently shares the same name as the sister who tried to help Pauline keep her baby all those years ago.

A tearful Pauline says in the programme: “They’re happy tears… I’m just so pleased that she wants to meet me!”

A week later Pauline met her daughter Carol for the first time in 50 years in an emotional reunion at a cafe half-way between their West Yorkshire homes.

Finally, she could tell Carol that she was never a secret and has always been part of the family.

Pauline even gave her long lost daughter a bracelet symbolising her five children.

Carol says: “I’m just happy that I finally met her after all these years.”

And Pauline concludes: “I have a warmfeeling inside - it’s like I’ve swallowed the sunshine,.

“It’s a happy ending. Now I feel my life is complete.”