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My labour started at midnight and my parents took me to hospital. I imagine they signed me in and then they left. I was taken to a room which had a bed in it and I was left there by myself for what seemed like an eternity. I was then taken to another part of the hospital which had a long stretch of cubicles. I don't remember much apart from an Italian woman screaming which made me very frightened. I tried to block out my own pain and not make any noise. I didn't want to draw attention to myself - here I was a scared 20 year old, good Catholic girl and I felt so ashamed. The Doctor said my baby would be born at 7.00 a.m. but there seemed to be some complication - another Doctor was called in and then a group of trainee Doctors standing at the end of my bed and me with my feet in stirrups. At 11.00 a.m. my baby was born and I was taken off to another room and left all alone. At 7.00 p.m. I was taken to the Ward where other mothers had their babies. I couldn't stop crying - I just wanted my baby. The nurse came and said "If you don't stop crying I will give you something to make you stop" I felt like I belonged in the gutter. That was 1970. I told nobody of my experience because I thought I was bad and I was ashamed and I was too scared to tell anyone because of what they might say to me or think of me.


The voice of the social worker kept going round and round in my head. Think of the baby and make sure he has a home with a Mother and Father, a good education and a family who will love him and want him. You can't give him anything - to keep him is selfish. What choice did I have?

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