To Be A Single Mother In The 1950’s
International Women’s Day commemorates the struggle for women’s rights across the globe. I believe we should be equal, but I do not play a consistent active role in the fight for equality. Because of this, I’m not sure if I would go as far as labelling myself as a Feminist.
I am thankful for today. I applaud the discussions about women’s working rights, education and our right to live without sexual harassment, discrimination and violence. These are all very important and deserve to be at the top of the discussion.
Today is a reminder how difficult and traumatic my life would be without women’s rights.
I’m thankful I’m not in my position as a single mother in the 1950’s.
In a 20 year period, approximately 150,000 women had their children removed by adoption services in Australia. By the 1970’s often babies didn’t need to be forcefully removed, women were conditioned to believe they couldn’t possibly raise a baby alone.
Due to birth records being sketchy, babies going unnamed and children who were taken against the mother’s will, it’s suspected that this number could be much higher, what a shameful history we have at times.
I Picture Myself As A Young Unmarried Woman In The 1950’s.
My first born would have never had the privilege of a name, he would have been taken from me at birth. He would have never survived, having cancer in an orphanage. You would find me weeping at his nameless grave, being an orphan of the state he would not have a headstone.
I would be empty, I would feel like I failed him. No responsibility would have fallen on his father – and although some of this has not changed – our nation now supports me. In 2017, instead of being told I’m a shame to society, I’m uplifted.
My son Ryan carries his father’s original birth name, Christopher. Baby Christopher’s father died in a motorbike accident. Unable to raise her child alone, his mother gave him up for adoption. Christopher lived in an adoption centre before he came home to his new parents, who were lucky enough to still be together.
Christopher got a new name, but was tormented later in life by the thought that his birth mother may not have wanted to give him away, she didn’t have a choice. It did not feel right nor fair.
Instead of my baby being stolen in the middle of the night, I’m given a free bag of baby samples.
Instead of being told I’m neurotic and unwell, I’m given mental health services.
Instead of being told I can’t support a baby, I’m given financial support.
Although I’m happy to be a woman in 2017 I am also saddened by our domestic violence problem in this country. I’m tired of seeing men say “Men suffer too” when a woman has just had her face beaten in with a fire hydrant. When a little girl will never see her mother again.
I hurt for the kings of our country and the men who take their lives through parental alienation – this accounts for many of the deaths that men talk about. Those men had a choice when it came to their death. Tara Brown didn’t.
That sounds abrasive and unfair. But I’m not sure the cotton wool coated discussions are working for us anymore. We need men to fight beside us, not against us. We are all individuals. Your Ex-Wifes behaviour doesn’t define me, My Ex-Partner doesn’t define you.
When we can have an open discussion without the gender finger pointing, things will improve. When we put our argument to the government – instead of each other, things will improve. When we respect each other, both men and women, things will improve. When we stop victim blaming, things will improve.
I want to thank the women in history who fought for me to keep my children.
I’m thankful for the women who continue to fight for my equality and safety.
If you are a woman who needs support, use today to take the first step.
Post Natal Depression Support: http://www.panda.org.au/
Domestic Violence Support: http://www.dvconnect.org/
Women’s Legal Service: https://www.wlsq.org.au/