Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lenten thanks 26

A lot of years ago, when campaigners were still fighting the legalisation of abortion, I was sitting in a car that pulled up at traffic lights behind another one, and I was able to read the sticker on its back window: If abortion had been legal then would you be here today?

I was born in 1952 to an unmarried woman. It was a time when illegitimacy was very much frowned upon, when women who had babies out of wedlock were regarded as if not harlots then 'no better than they should be'.

My mother was 30 when she had me - hardly a foolish girl. The man who fathered me was a barrister. I don't know for sure but I imagine my mother wasn't considered good enough to be a barrister's wife.

Abortion wasn't legal then but there were ways and means, and if abortion had been legal would she have got rid of me? I don't know but I don't think she would have. I hope she wouldn't have.

My mother died when I was 19, before I got to know her, before I ever wondered.

Today, Mothering Sunday, I can say I'm grateful to be here.


Puss-in-Boots said...

Now that's food for thought, Liz. I feel terribly sorry for women who fell pregnant and were unwed in those times. But are today's more lax morals any better? Who knows?

Gattina said...

Your mother probably wanted you because you could grow up and become the woman you are now. But not all children are so lucky. They are beaten, tortured, killed, only because their mother didn't want them. I always think that a woman has to be free to decide if she wants a child or not. I knew a case where the mother forgot to feed the baby and it starved. She prefered to go out and dance !

Leslie: said...

Your mother was very brave to keep you considering society's feelings about unwed mothers then. And I'm very glad you're here!