Monday, July 02, 2012

There's a park here and apparently it's 2 miles from my house because I clocked it today (and walked back). It's called Martha Washington and it was the site of a home for unwed mothers. There are huge trees, a circular drive and a small orchard. Beyond the fringe at the bottom, are stairs to the lake. Hidden from the street we renegade dog owners take our off-leash dogs to the water so they can swim and romp with each other.

When I'm there, I think about the ghosts of the girls who walked those same stairs to the water, heavy with a baby they couldn't or didn't keep, going away for the summer and returning to school as if nothing had happened. And the shame. And the guilt. And how different it is now. At least half the women I see in my clinic are unmarried, as was I when my babies were born.

Girls, floating and their babies floating over the green lawn and the ball-chasing dogs. And the swallows dipping and swooping.

Who delivered them? Who adopted the babies? All because of sex. And no access to birth control. And shame. Lots and lots of shame.

It's a shame.


Ms. Moon said...

I am glad those sorrowful old days of such shame are gone. I remember girls from my high school, going off to "stay with an aunt."
This touched my heart, the image of all those girls, those babies. How did they stand it? They had no choice, I guess. But still.

Ellena said...

I was 15, she was 14 and pregnant. She and her family had the courage to go through with it. Many of us girls who knew her - it was a small town - did not have the courage to remain friends of hers until much later when it was all over. Shame shame shame.

Sabine said...

For some years in the 1980s I would walk up a particular street in Dublin every weekday and only found out about 10 years ago (together with the general public) that right there was one of the Magdalene Laundries - operating until well into the 1990s.