Friday, September 10, 2010

Thirty six tomorrow on the 11th /9/2010 - In Australia we call it 11/9/2010 not 9/11

So hard to believe that 36 years ago i had just gone into labour - but at 20 had no idea what it was so sat at home with Don and pretended all was a okay. Finally at nearly midnight we went to the hospital. It was 1974 and they put me in the ""unmarried mother's ward" which I only realised after i checked with all the other inhabitants who were all so coincidentally unmarried. Don didn't stay because dads weren't encouraged to do so in those days and he was although loving and cared what happened prepared to let nature take its course as my own dad and grandads had been.
They took her from me after birth and I wasn't allowed to hold her. It was Newcastle hospital and the policy was that unmarried mothers be encouraged to give up their babies for adoption. On and earlier visit (i had the flu really bad) I watched a young mum sign away her baby still high as a kite after the birth - but she told me later it was her wish anyway - the way it was done was criminal. After a few hours i wanted to feed my baby but they didn't seem to know where she was - so I got up and out and searched the wards - finally i was told she had been taken up to the humidicrib area ion the next floor - but no one would meet my eyes. I got in the lift and went up - of course Don and I were going to keep this wanted baby we had planned her..just not planned marriage - the bastards. I found Melissa up there with the lid off the humidicrib and the nurses curious as to why such a healthy baby had been sent to their section. She was hungry and I fed her - those nurses unlike downstairs were on my side. I took her with me down in the lift and told them i was keeping my baby. From then on they were helpful and treated me with respect - but had I been out of it - I wonder...given the reputation of Newcastle hospital in "adopting" out babies illegally - would I have been able to be with her if i hadn't tried so hard - as I did? I got the hospital notes a few years ago and they don't make sense but they are there for Melissa to see when she needs to see - I believe we came very close to being separated - told the baby had died or that someone elses less than healthy baby was mine...while the married couple got the healthy baby - this happened a lot.

Melissa (right) and Ali

Don with Melissa who was about 6 days old - the love was visible.

Melissa (right) at school with Alison on uniform free day when Melissa was six

Melissa and Alison in their 20's

Melissa vamping it up at about 20

Melissa the penitent in the timber town (wauchope) church being remonstrated by Father Alison...
So much fun we have had with Melissa in our lives -
A big happy 36 Melissa!!!!


Mom said...

Thankfully times and attitudes have changed. And now your baby is a bride!

Middle Child said...

Not this baby - its her younger sister who is getting married next Saturday

FoxyMoron said...

That story sent shivers down my spine, how many families must have been torn apart by those archaic practices. Even in 1989 they would put a certain colour sticker on single pregnant mothers' record cards which I found out meant we were at higher risk of AIDS!!
Happy Birthday to your gorgeous girl.

Janene said...

Oh wow!! look at how much I have to look forward to as a Mum! Thanks for sharing!!

Anne said...

Times have changed!! Just love the photo of Don & Melissa:-)

Sara said...

The unwed mother treatment is bizarro. Was it just leftover Catholicism? I wonder how much it's still like that, if not at such extremes.

Ann ODyne said...

People under 60 these days, could have no idea how vile society was about "Mrs or Miss?" back in the bad old days.
Until 1974, unmarried mothers were the pariahs of society.
not the fathers, strangely enough, and nothing has changed.

Happy Birthday Dear Melissa - you are so lucky to have gorgeous parents and Therese is lucky to have these gorgeous photos.

Cazzie!!! said...

I cannot fathom the story of hospitals doing these things... bastards!
You are an awesome person, and a loving Mum. It shines through, Those pictures could have been from my albums, being a 1971 baby myself.. I wore much the same clothing as your girls :)
Happy belated birthay to your gorgeous daughter :)

rosemary said...

Happy forever to your darling daughter and her Knight....know Don is smiling down on all of you. Please let me know when the book is ready.

Shrinky said...

What a beautiful family you have. I beggars belief what I have just read in here - my jaw is still on the floor. Was anyone ever actually brought to book over these shameful, scandalous practices? I wonder how many lives were so needlessly torn apart? Evil exists in many guises, and it is ever more magnified when it becomes institutionalised.

ps., I can see where your daughters have inherited their looks!