Losing My Daughter (part 3)

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Losing My Daughter
Page 3 of 18

I had no sooner had I got settled into my new job when the Matron of the hostel called me to her office one afternoon after work. She asked me was I pregnant. I told her I wasn’t. She said that she had heard rumors and she herself thought I had changed in appearance. I was worried about this, concerned that my father might find out, and send me back to Mount Saint Canice. I had seen young women in Mount Saint Canice who had been pregnant, and they had been sent to a Salvation Home for unwed mothers and they had been forced to give up their babies. I knew of one young woman who had hung herself as a result of this. I was becoming quite afraid.

I told my friend at the hostel that I had missed my period and that I was worried. It was she who finally made me come to grips with the fact that I was pregnant. She said she had known it in any case. She had a boyfriend who was a friend of my daughter’s father and my condition had been discussed between them. I had seen very little of my ‘boyfriend’ since I had missed my first period. I did not want to take any more risks; this was how naïve I was.

My friend, who was also sixteen suggested I rent a room elsewhere, so I could avoid being found out. I looked at the newspaper the following Saturday, and saw one or two rooms to rent. I took a very small room in Battery Point, which was being let for five dollars fifty a week. I had been paying eight dollars a week at the hostel, but this had included three very good meals a day. I moved into my room that weekend. My friend came to see me, and said she would like to rent a room in the same house when there was one available. This room became vacant some weeks later and my friend moved in as well. I often look back at this room and think that my walk in closet at home now is almost the same size as the room I had to raise my baby. But in reality, had we had the means to survive, the size of the room would not have concerned me in the slightest.

I missed the hostel and was glad when my friend was close to me. We had rooms in the top story of a house where the owner let out 6 of the upstairs rooms and two downstairs. My landlady and her husband had their own two rooms down stairs as well. All the upstairs rooms were self contained, but shared the toilet downstairs. It was my first time at buying and preparing my own meals. My friend and I would often prepare and eat our evening meal together. I was about five months into my pregnancy by this time. The walk to the train station was longer and still cold, so it was not a comfortable situation to be in. But I was driven by a need to survive and remain undetected. I was carrying both the stigma of being a girl from Mount Saint Canice and an unwed mother.


Losing My Daughter, continued