Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Mother of one (born 1980s), from Midlands

The mid-80s was a time of increasing pressure for choice regarding methods, drugs, etc., though their ability to predict when the baby would be born was not particularly accurate. My labour was much quicker than they expected - only 5 hours and not helped by having given me a sleeping pill just before it started. I also chose Pethidine over an epidural and having my husband there helped with enforcing this choice, as I was a bit out of it by then. Gas & air was a bit of a waste of time as I couldn't really co-ordinate my breathing each time the contractions hit me like a sledgehammer. I was quite shocked by the level of pain despite the drugs and my apparent lack of control over any part of it. My husband was asked to cut the cord, which he found surprising difficult, but fortunately he is not overly squeamish. After holding her and examing her minutely, I fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke and could not immediately see my daughter, I suddenly understood the meaning of instinct; I felt ferociously protective, like a mother tiger.

Following the birth, in the local hospital, I stayed in for around 48 hours (as it was weekend) and was then transferred to the still existent Nursing Home, which sadly closed not long afterwards. As my baby girl was small for dates at 5lb 9oz and had lost a bit of weight due to not being able to feed easily, it was this Nursing Home which helped teach me to breast feed, got me through the Baby Blues and monitored her progress over the course of the next few days before sending me home. There was no paternity leave back then and both sets of parents were 100 or more miles away, so those first few days of support were vital to me.