Sixty years ago, unmarried pregnant women were sent to special hostels to have their babies adopted.
Maureen Paton hears their stories. It all began with an abbreviated birth certificate that carried only the barest details. I had known since childhood that I was born 'out of wedlock', and that my father had deserted my mother as soon as he discovered she was pregnant in November But it ij until I looked up my full birth certificate after my mother's death in that I discovered I'd been born in a hostel for unmarried mothers. The address given for my start in life was Birdhurst Lodge in south London.
That seemed rather grand-sounding for my poor mum, so I investigated and found that a health centre now stood on the site. When I asked about the Lodge, the woman at the other end of the phone hesitated, dropped her voice Single and pregnant dating in United Kingdom murmured discreetly: "Do you mean the old mother-and-baby home?
And that was how I found out about the hidden history of my birthplace, S and l massage Bradford once hinted preynant by my secretive mother when she had anc me how Unitee girls she knew had "cried and cried for weeks" after giving up their babies for adoption.
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I realised that the "other girls" must have been her fellow inmates in Birdhurst, the missing piece of the jigsaw that showed the humiliating ordeal she had gone through as a woman expecting a baby outside marriage. In fact, she had been married once, but what really mattered to the moralists of the day was that she wasn't married to the father of her child.
And I further discovered from her address records that she had stayed in a total of three such mother-and-baby homes. Nowadays, it seems Kinydom that women should have had to hide their 'shame' — a Victorian word still in common currency in the s — in such forbidding institutions, austere relics of 19th-century workhouses and 18th-century penitentiaries.
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UK website has more information on help paying for childcare.
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