Thursday 1 September 2011


From the Bible to the popular song,
There's one theme that we find right along.
Of all ideals they hail as good,
The most sublime is Motherhood.
-- Tom Lehrer's 'Oedipus Rex'

Slightly out of  context, but Motherhood is generally seen as one of the most holy, precious concepts in the world. It's quite a tough thing then, to watch the BBC documentary* presented by Jamelia Davis, which deals with the way in which single mothers have been stigmatised over the years. From the workhouse, through the 50s and 60s to the present day, this very touching little film is well worth watching and is available for those in the UK until the 13th Sept.

It got me to thinking about how I would feel in each of the situations it dealt with. Could I have  gone into the workhouse knowing that I would have been separated from Daughter? Probably not.I would probably have tried to do something - anything - else. Could I have been pressured by loving parents into giving up Daughter to secure a future for myself? That's harder.

The things that women have faced and the decisions they've made down the centuries have never been easy. I'm so glad that the worst I have to deal with is deciding whether to bottle or breastfeed!

*"Singer Jamelia Davis is a single mum and it isn't something she's proud of. But why? After all, millions of other women in Britain are in the same boat. Jamelia sets out to explore the source of her shame through the experiences of other single mums in the past. She begins in the Victorian workhouse, where unmarried mothers were deemed unfit to raise their own children. She discovers that even in the swinging sixties the stigma was still so great that many young women felt they had no choice but to give their babies up for adoption."

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