Through tears, my mom shared her story.
15, Pregnant, 1963. And the clincher, Catholic.
Divorced parents, an unheard of oddity during that era, was probably one nail in the coffin of her impending motherhood. Being Catholic, pregnant and a teen in Coquitlam during the 60's the other.
She was sent away to an Unwed Mother's Home in Vancouver in late 1962. Her friends were told that she was living with an aunt in Saskatchewan. She would write letters to the aunt, and they would be forwarded to her friends just a few kilometers down the road.
The nuns abused them. Verbally, emotionally and yes, physically. They were regularly called whores. Reminded that that no man would ever want them now. That bad girls deserved nothing. They were forced to work in a manner similar to slavery of years gone past.
My mother was violently ill with all her pregnancies, and this first one was the worst. Hospitalized, but segregated from the other pregnant women lest her tainted ways affect the other more deserving, married mothers.
She ran away from the hell that was then was dragged back sobbing and begging by the one relative that she thought would save her, and care for her. Her hope was gone.
The priest was consulted and decreed that the baby would be placed for adoption. There was no choice. No asking. No counselling.
There was no option for a teen mother at this time, during this era. Social stigma was enormous.
There was no welfare available for unmarried 15 year olds. An abusive father, an emotionally fragmented mother, an extended family that was more concerned with appearances around church circles than with the safety of their young niece.
The back street abortion that the baby's father wanted her to have was both illegal and unsafe, and against everything that my mother had been taught was right.
She cried as she shared and tried to make us understand what life was like back then for her. I couldn't comprehend.
I was OLDER than she had been when she had my sister and my biggest concern in life was what was for lunch.
She began to share what happened to her when her baby, her daughter, my sister was born.