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The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

Thank You, Lord, for My Mum

So I love my Mum. She is this amazing strong, independent woman who raised me as a single Mum in an age when single parents were looked at with doubt at best, with disgust at worst.

I have no idea what went through my Dad’s head when Mum told him she was expecting me. Being a married man with two teenage kids at home, it must have been a shock. Especially when she dug her heels in and declared she is keeping me (thanks, Mum!).

So, a few months later, she went into labour and had to get herself into hospital on her own because Dad lived miles away and there was no one around to drive her. She went through the painfully slow process of the bureaucracy of filling in forms despite telling everyone that she can feel I would be out in a flash (after all, what do first-time mothers-to-be know, right?). Oh I am sure she must have loved having all these late-teenage nurses boss her around, telling her to wait patiently for the Doctor (my Mum was 33 when she had me). Now the Doctor (yes, capital D) was regarded as the god of the hospital, and all healthcare back then. No, you never expected the possibility that the Doctor may be wrong. No, you didn’t have the right to sue the Doctor. No, you had no chance at asking for a second opinion. And if the Doctor turned out to be an arse, you humoured him (best done in the form of a fat envelope or a bottle of specially selected spirit).

Now my Mum was 33, on wages that just about covered her bills, in crippling pain about to deliver her illegitimate baby on her own (her family lived some distance away, and anyway, the only person allowed to be present back then would have been the hubby — no, not the boyfriend or partner or any other family member, ONLY the husband). I cannot imagine (and don’t want to) what she was going through — the physical pain, the fear, the worries. But thankfully the Doctor was there, the amazing shiny figure cloaked in white, to the rescue, to offer his expertise and dispel any fears, right?

Doc came in with more forms for my Mum to fill in, despite her being doubled over in pain, and told her to ’calm down and concentrate' on this oh-so-very important information the hospital needed from her, right there and then. Funny enough, the Doc wasn’t focusing on any petty physical examinations; instead, he asked several times for the name of the father. Now, call her silly, but Mum was in love with Dad and didn’t want to get him into trouble (back in the olden communist days, giving his name would have meant the police would have come for a friendly visit and drag him through the judicial system which would then determine how much money he was to pay every month. All fair and well, but the tiny little problem this would pose for him was that he wouldn’t be able to keep Mum and me secret from his family any more) so she eventually managed to make it clear to the Doc that she wasn’t going to give him the name. This angered the Doc to such an extent that he first suggested that Mum wouldn’t even know the father’s name due to too many candidates for this post; and then he ordered the nurse out and left Mum with the words ’we shall let missy calm down and when we come back, she may be willing to talk sensibly'. Sounds legit to me!

Mum gave birth to me on her own, standing up in a waiting room. No pain relief, no help, no supportive midwife holding her hand and telling her to breathe. Also no pesky beeping monitors that would have told the doctors that the baby will be born practically dead. Umbillical cord wrapped nice and tight around the little girl’s neck, the purple tinge to her skin, all that was secondary to a chauvinist pig’s ego. After all, Mum dared to say ‘no’ to a Doctor, so it is only logical that she should be punished by fate.

A female pediatrician walked past at this point and happened to look inside the waiting room. I was whisked into intensive care and they managed to resuscitate me (I bet this bit came as a bit of a surprise!). Mum was kept in the maternity ward under the Doc’s care (haha). Doc was obviously still smarting from the hurt ego because he gave out orders that no nurse is to speak to Mum about how her baby is doing. She was prevented from seeing me for a week and only thanks to a kind nurse who brought her a note from her family who have been to see the newborn. It read ‘she is pink and beautiful’ which was the only information my Mum had about me for a week. It says in my medical records ‘mother is showing no interest in her baby’.

After a week, they let Mum go home but I had to be kept in for another week as I was still seriously ill with pneumonia. Mum came to see me every day but wasn’t allowed to hold me until the day when she took me home.

The next day after bringing me home, she received notification from the chemical lab she was employed by that if she is planning for a maternity leave, then she may as well not bother coming back. She had worked up until the day she gave birth, and was given two weeks of maternity leave before having to go back. Gotta love the communist regime, it worked like a well-oiled machine.

Despite all the brows she raised as a single mother, despite all the bureaucracy and discrimination, despite all the hardship she suffered in her life, my Mum has remained dignified and has grown stronger with every blow. I know if I ever need her, she will be there for me. She may not understand computers or how to tune her telly, but she loves me fiercely and would not hesitate and lay down her life for me. Thank You, Lord, for my Mum. I love you, Mum.