It didn’t take me long to realise that it was more than the tartare sauce making me nauseous in the morning. I missed my period. I was always as regular as clockwork. . Ben hadn’t asked if I was on the pill, and I didn’t say wasn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t know about contraception. I had some knowledge but I was too embarrassed to see a doctor. I heard that they did an internal exam and I didn’t like the idea of that. So I was totally unprotected and unprepared for the consequences.
In all honesty I didn’t really care. My sister Judy had died the previous year and I was still grieving.Perhaps part of me thought a baby would replace her. Or perhaps I thought a baby would provide me with unconditional love, the kind of love I was craving.
I didn’t tell anyone for a while. My friend Alison came into Wellington from Taita and we went out for a late celebration of my birthday. We went out with a friend from work. I am not sure how it happened but we picked up a couple of guys at a pub and ended up at a sauna. You took your clothes off, wrapped yourself in a towel and sat in a steam room. Then you ran out and jumped naked into the cold pool. Alison was really shy but I convinced her to try it. We had fun. However the girl from my work took off to a private room with one of the guys. Some how and I didn’t want to know why or how, she burnt her bottom on a steam pipe and we had to rush her to the hospital with a serious burn. Alison caught the train home and I spend the next couple of house with the other guy out side the hospital in his car. I remember telling him all the gory details of the Godfather. He thought it was terrible that a young lady like me enjoyed such violence, but at least it kept his hand at bay while we waited for the injured party. Fortunately it wasn’t too serious.
I thought the whole thing was hilarious and every time I saw her after that I said how is your bum chum.
I didn’t enjoy my time at the St George, what with the morning sickness and being locked in the chiller it just wasn’t working out. I looked for other work and finally ended up at Wesleyhaven an old peoples home. It was a nice place, fairly new and the accommodation was a couple of houses. I shared when a lady who had been released from Porirua Hospital, Wellington’s psychiatric hospital.
I didn’t know anything about mental illness back then. I had been to Porirua to visit someone’s aunt a few years before. If you acted silly or strangely people would tell you that you were going to Porirua, where the mad people go
Pat was nice, She had survived the Napier earthquake as a five year old. I suspect she had some kind of post traumatic stress syndrome. She didn’t seem any different from anyone else I had met.I think that is one of the things people forget, mental illness can affect anyone, at any time in their lifetime. We are not a separate species.
It seemed quite hard work, compared to what I had done previously, cleaning rooms and serving people in the dinning room. The dining and lounge were on one level with ramps going up and down to the accommodation levels. Most of the residents were fairly independent. I remember one old dear who used to complain about her face ache, Her one ambition was live long enough to get her telegram from Queen for her 100th birthday. She was a character, she apparently broke her hip falling off a dining room table when she was dancing a highland fling. After I had left, I heard she died, at 99, She missed out on her letter by just a couple of months.
One day at morning tea time there was an earthquake, We were all in the staff room which was above a double carport. The room shook. We all got up and rushed to check on the residents. Half of us going up and half going down. They hadn’t felt a thing.
I kept my pregnancy hidden, I did tell a couple of close friends but I swore them to secrecy. I had no idea what I was going to do, When I was about five months my girlfriend Frank and I visited my mother, We had a swim in her pool. Frank couldn’t believe that Mum didn’t notice the expanding waistline in my swimsuit.
Later, when she knew I was pregnant, I asked Mum about that, She said she thought I was putting on weight, mainly because she didn’t think I was that kind of girl.
Apparently I was.
© Barbara Hart 2014