Woman of shame
I moved to Mt Manganui to live with my brother and his wife, Gay and her brother Lindsay who has down syndrome. Lindsay and I shared a room, a blanket on a line between the beds was my only privacy. It was a horrible run down house, with rats and mice and all kinds of other beasties that I don’t even want to think about.
The rules were simple, I had to help with the housework and cooking and attend church twice on Sundays. Church was horrible, the ladies talked about me all the time. How wonderful it was that upstanding church citizens had taken in this woman of shame, pregnant with no sign of a father. I was treated like a leper, unclean. The biggest problem for me was I didn’t know anyone so there was little relief from the monotony. They did have ladies group on a Wednesday which Gay and I attended but which was all about church stuff, and I certainly wasn’t interested in being saved.
My only solace was the owner of the house who lived in a tin shack next to the property. He was a bit older than me but we had long conversations on Saturdays mostly about music . We had similar tastes and loved the Beatles, We constantly argued over the merits of various albums.
My brother treated me as a mortal sinner. He told me God for punish me for what I had done. I didn’t understand it, I had got pregnant, big deal, accidents happens. It wasn’t like I had killed anyone. Gay told me not to visit my father at work. It would be embarrassing for him for his work colleagues to know I was pregnant. With all this negativity I fell into my old habits. My self esteem plummeted and my depression increased.
All this changed when I went to an antenatal appointment late in my pregnancy, For once the nurse wasn’t judgemental of my situation and she allowed me to hear my baby’s heart beat for the first time. Of course I had felt baby moving for while, but to hearing that heartbeat made me realise that their was no way in the world I was ever going to give this baby up.
I didn’t know how I would manage, I didn’t care, I just knew this baby belonged with me.
© Barbara Hart 2014