Thursday, April 26, 2012

look! this is where i was born.
this is the very building i spent the first ten days of my life in.
the building seems old and serious and very well behaved doesn't it?
this journey to piece together some of my birth story has been so freeing.
my emotions and reactions have bounced from shame to elation to anger to outrage to peace to
 "how dare they!"
and i know that the pieces are falling into place for me.
i can't change the past. i can't undo the harm and sorrow that my birth mother experienced.
what i can do is honour her.
 and the 100,000 other women who passed through the maternity home in the long years it was open.
the last one was in 1986 i believe.
(i'm still researching that)
every girl there gave up her child for adoption.
it wasn't an option.
that's alot of heartache.

" the 1960's were a very dark time in birthing
 with the twilight sleep, generous episiotomies, forcepts, the husband stitch..."

most every woman who gave birth in the 1960's didn't have the greatest time.

in all fairness, in 1990 in my birthing room there was some pretty dark stuff going on too
with an inexperienced doctor, a baby Caleb who had no interest in being born
and a young mom who didn't know any better.

these are the stories i find when i google about girls giving birth in the 1960's and coming from maternity homes.
these are the abreviated stories that outrage me.
i've had long labours...4 of them.
fully supported by loving people but grueling and painful all the same.
so i know the backdrop these snippets are not telling us.
 and i was blessed. rewarded. honoured with a beloved child at the end.
not with empty arms.

" at Maywood we were not instructed about pregnancy, labor, delivery;
we were left alone during labour and delivery."

 "The matrons would drop us off at the door
or send us in a taxi."

"(A nurse) started strapping up my right wrist. I was puzzled, I didn't know what she was doing, and then she secured me to the side of the bed... I became unconscious. And I don't know how long I was unconscious for, but when I eventually came to, my daughter was gone."

"we were refused to see, touch and hold our babies"

heavy stuff. hard for this momma heart to read and imagine and hold for these girls.
there is room for sorrow here and i am willing to sit with it for today as a way of remembering my birth mother and her story.

here's what i have pieced together
about my birthday
and it is very little.

i presented posterior and therefore,
would have given my mother a painful back labour
(if she was even awake..which is unlikely by the readings i am doing)
i was born  on April 26th
(that's today! yay!)
and i weighed 7 lbs 12 oz,
was 20.5 inches long
my birth orders were for immediate adoption.

my mom and dad got the call
and came and saw me through the glass window within 24 hours of my birth.
they went home to "decide"
 but i know they decided immediately they wanted me by the memories they share with me.

 For 10 long days I waiting for them.

those ten days shaped me more than i reilized.
there's more  to share on that subject

but right now, i am off to be spoiled at the garden center by my son.

1 comment:

  1. She's 59 this year, isn't she? You both seem far too young for such a history. Reading about birthing conditions like that reminds me of a tour we took at Britannia Mine last year - grisly stories of appallingly dangerous and miserable work and s-l-o-w improvements after decades of casualties. Men's work like that occasionally receives the dubious honor of a well-funded museum...where their suffering is presented as info-tainment...but women's work like birth is too intimate for such treatment. That's just as well, I think, but wouldn't it be good to at least see monuments put up? Like the ones we build (justly) for veterans of war. And then we could go lay flowers to the memory of the all women who suffered before us, who gave life to us all.