Sunday, December 2, 2007

"The Girl Nobody Loved" Part One

It would seem so many unmarried mothers from the Baby Scoop Era…truly were ‘The Girl Nobody Loved’(credit to Rickie Solinger). That is not said as some pitiful statement, but rather a truth felt and known by so many young unmarried mothers who would be forced or at the very least…led to believe that they had ‘voluntarily’ surrendered their newborn baby for the express purpose of being adopted by stranger people.

I, myself, for many years after signing the surrender document from my hospital bed just a day or 2 after giving birth, would truly believe that I had totally ‘voluntarily’ surrendered ‘control to said agency’ of my infant daughter. I was not in a maternity home, I was not incarcerated in one of these institutions that were solely created after WWII, with the express purpose and mission of separating the mother from her own child…with the end-result express purpose, that of the newborn being given, or bought to/by strangers for adoption.

Rather I was ‘free’, not incarcerated in any institution. I still hung around with my friends, my impending Motherhood blossoming right in front of everyone’s eyes. I was not ashamed of being pregnant, nor in how that pregnancy came to be. I was having a baby! Was I jumping for joy? I would be lying to you if I said I did. I would also be lying to you if I said I had no conflicted emotions and/or thoughts about raising a child on my own. I had many! But still I had Hope for my baby and me, the Hope that yes I could make this work. I was already self-supporting at the young age of 17, pretty much already an independent young woman with many independent ways of thinking about life in general. But I was also terribly naïve and not educated about the ways of social engineering and the politics of unmarried motherhood in the year 1964. I had no idea of the powerful practices of the social worker, the adoption agencies, the maternity homes, the adoption lawyers, the doctors, the nurses, the psychiatrists.. that already had their Master Plan up and working…to take infants from their unmarried mothers. I had no knowledge of the books and articles that had already been written and were being written, about the “Deviant Mother”…that young unmarried woman who dared to defy social mores and have sex outside of marriage, culminating in a pregnancy.

Adoption was not a thought in my head for the first 5 months of my pregnancy, just never occurred to me. I knew nothing about adoption nor anyone who adopted or anyone who was adopted (maybe they just didn’t know). But upon my first visit to the clinic in the hospital…I would be summarily remanded (after the first internal exam) down the hall to this small office with a man sitting at a desk. Today I know this was an ‘in-house’ resident social worker. I would also learn just in the last few years that hospitals back then began staffing themselves with ‘in-house’ social workers. But I didn’t know that then.

Back to the Man in the Small Office….Immediately I was confronted with what I most assuredly already knew….that I was not married! And therefore I had better start thinking about adoption! HUH?! I then got the propaganda swill about my ‘illegit’ baby being called a ‘bastard’ on the playground…that no man would marry me with another man’s child….that I and my child would live alone and that no one would associate with us…that I had nothing to offer my own child (i.e. a house, money, or a father). **Note here…. That’s really what it was all about…the adoption propagandaists could have cared less about the PAP mother, she afterall was still a female…and these social workers already knew the child had a mother…they believed having a ‘father’…any ‘father’, was most important to the child. Isn’t it grand living in a Paternalistic Society! The Man in the Small Office would then question me on my religion (I was baptized Lutheran), and began writing down an address for me to visit..that the people there at this ‘agency’ could help me and my baby. That was the Beginning of the End, for me and my yet to be born baby.

This is Part I…in part II I will quote from the below writings of Rickie Solinger.

The Girl Nobody Loved: Psychological Explanations for White Single Pregnancy in
the Pre-Roe v. Wade Era, 1945-1965
Rickie Solinger
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2/3, Spirituality, Values, and Ethics. (1990),
pp. 45-54.
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies is currently published by University of Nebraska Press

1 comment:

Kidnap said...

Isn't it interesting that the Man in the Small Office fed you the same ( excise the expression) PAP that we were fed in the maternity houses?