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  • Nicole J. Burton

The Girls Who Went Away

I don't know where my mother went when she was pregnant with me. She was 23, as was my father; they'd gone to high school together. She'd been at Art College and returned to give birth at Nottingham City Hospital. Social Services didn't know about me till after I was born, which indicated that I was a "concealed" pregnancy - "concealed" meaning that she didn't tell anyone in her family that she was pregnant. We stayed in the hospital together for a week, then went to a mother and baby home for two weeks. Then she left and I stayed. When I was six weeks old, my new parents collected me.

I'm reading an amazing book, The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler. Being sent away wasn't my mother's experience exactly. And we were English, not American, but the evocation of the era (1950s and 1960s), the lack of birth control for single people, the rigid social conventions that damned the girls and excused the boys for being sexual, all that is part of my mother's story.

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