The Home for “The Unfortunates”

IMG_8166 This is the stretch of sea my Mother walked beside when she was expecting me and was resident in the Home where she had to scrub floors, clean, prepare food and participate fully in the running of the establishment until she gave birth. ‘The Unfortunates’ as the mothers were named by the founder of the Home, Kate Cocks, were allowed out for walks in their ‘free time’, providing I suppose they were engaged in some wholesome activity of which good Methodists could approve. My Mother spoke of this time with wistfulness and it must have been a sad and difficult time. The man she loved had been suddenly sent home on leave to his wife and she was abandoned to live out her pregnancy alone, knowing she would probably never see him again, never be able to marry him as she had dreamed when she thought he was single and would not be able to raise the child they created – me! She suffered secondary infertility and being a mother, without being a mother. Her motherhood was hidden, secret and not spoken of until very late in her life when she could no longer hide her grief and her need to know what had happened to me. She needed to find me, to discover what my life had been and who I was. She was encouraged by her husband, a loving and generous man, who would have raised me as his own if he had had the chance and he had met her earlier, before I was irrevocably signed away, taken by adoption and lost to her for fifty years.

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