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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sheila Tofield - The Unmarried Mother

reviewed live on bookshow by Maggie Perkovich on 29th August 2013
in the fifties who gets pregnant when she is still unmarried. Her mother is a rather
unpleasant character who "puts her down" at every opportunity, herfather dead,
and when her fiance jilts her she foolishly goes out with a chap who is not in love
with her, they have sex which she thought she ought to do to retain him, but
on finding she is pregnant he too jilts her. She is working in an office, but continues
working there until, confiding in her mother is told she will have to go to  a Mothers'
and babies home to give birth and then have it adopted. Her doctor gives her a
sick certificate which states she has to have a growth removed from her stomach!!
The Home is run by the  Church of England and as the author says they were stern,
not cruel but there was no laughter there, and the mothers had to work hard at
housework and laundry until their babies were born.
During that time her mother very rarely visited, and her condition was kept secret.
It was when she actually gave birth that Sheila suddenly decided she would keep
her baby, unthought of in the fifties!!!When she explained to the ladies in charge
of the Home, they actually smiled at her and commended her decision.
Amazingly her Mother allowed her to bring her little girl home, and later
on, with the help of her older married sister she goes back to work to support her.
It is a simply written story, but it shows how times have changed today. Her
neighbours mostly guessed about her pregnancy, though none seemed condemning.
When she finally married and had more children the happy married life she longed
for seemed all set, but sadly her husband never really took to her little daughter,
and there was an unhappy period before Sheila took matters in her own hands
and left him. Her family grown up, she seems to be in a happier life now, with
grandchildren to fill her life and arms. I enjoyed reading what seems like a piece
of history to any one in 2013!!!Maggie Perkovic

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