Birthing day

53 years ago, my 31 year old mum would have gone into labour with her sixth child- me.

I wonder if she was nervous. I wonder if she really did hope for a boy, or was her hope more of a good health? Her fourth child was born with club feet, and her youngest 3 year old toddler, was developing severe asthma, so perhaps her concern was more of health than gender.
Nevertheless, a sixth child born was going to cause extra pressure to the young couple who were doing their best to provide for their family.

But, this was the sixties, in Glasgow. Steel workers were beginning to feel the pressure of a world needing less cargo ships. Factories were being closed down or moved down South and many workers were looking further afield to get jobs. A lot of people were in similar situations.

Big families were commonplace. Contraception wasn’t as reliable as a pint of Guinness and the Church was still something to be feared. One panel, skinny windows – pre-double glazing and central heating were at the time only for the rich folk and probably contributed to more ‘snuggling ‘ than any weekly ‘quota’ of sex. Glasgow can be really cold at night, who am I kidding- It can be cold during the day!

Being the sixth born, must have given mum some birthing confidence. I never heard if she struggled with complications, she seemed very calm about it all as I remember my little sister being born (6 years later on the opposite side of the world). Mum walked herself, during labour, to the hospital and birthed a few short hours afterwards. Never having been pregnant myself, this is one instance I can’t imagine. The impending child, gender unknown, scan-free, health unknown. I think I might have been petrified.

53 years ago, mum’s parents were still alive. Her brother was in Rhodesia, South Africa was not on the horizon. How I wish I could pick her brain and ask her these ‘grown up’ questions. Ask if she remembers the specifics. Ask her how she felt about another baby girl. Ask her if she was worried or was her faith in her God, that great that, she could just live in trust that it was all going to be okay. Because it was.

In fact, it was great. I only had her for 25 years but I am still discovering the secrets of her life and her quiet way of doing things and how she influenced me into who I am.

Thank you Mum.

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