Womb envy

I have never had personality
I’ve always been someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother
Right now I am so busy being born, discovering who I am, that I don’t know who I am.
And I don’t know where I’m going.
And everything is going to be fine.

(Belenky, Women’s ways of knowing 1986, p. 82).

This is the background:
From 1950’s to 1970’s young women in their early 20s had their children uprooted at birth. After they gave birth the social institutions forced these young women to let go the babies under the threat of being jailed (if they refused). These social institutions, or I should have named them “the power holders”, believed they knew what was best for both young mothers and babies. They also determined what was improper for (young) women so they would not be good mothers: shamefully pregnant, unmarried teenagers (even the parents themselves sent these girls away to be shut away in grim institutions). Therefore, they snatched the babies and gave the babies to ‘appropriate’ couple to adopt these babies. There was no original birth record for these young mothers to trace their babies. Their ‘case’ were closed. Yes, I would said it was a systemic crime.

“The survivors” said, as soon as they gave birth – nurses separated them from their babies at once. They did not even give any chance for these young mothers to see or to hold their beloved babies. Beastly uprooted the babies from their mothers. They’d been drugged and breasts bound to stop lactation. It is estimated that more than 150,000 young women in Australia were involved in the forced adoption process.

Have a look the stories from two women, from whom the social institutions snatched their babies:

Juliette Clough was 16 when she gave birth to her son in a Catholic hospital in 1970, she recounted the ordeal to Australian news network ABC: “My ankles were strapped to the bed, they were in stirrups and I was gassed, I had plenty of gas and they just snatched away the baby. You weren’t allowed to see him or touch him, anything like that, or hold him and it was just like a piece of my soul had died and it’s still dead. (From this site)

“I was treated like a piece of meat throughout the whole ordeal, not spoken to unless being given orders by the nurse […] I was tied to the side of the bed during the birth of my son … At 9.59pm, my son was born and as I tried to turn over to see what was happening, the nurse again pinned my shoulder to the mattress, holding me down until my baby was removed from the room … I was later told that I had given birth to a son.” – Lily Arthur, 17 years old (From this site).

Were the adoptive parents really appropriate? Were the social institutions judgement correct? I don’t think so. What I watched on TV couple days ago was a tragedy. A woman, who was being snatched from her mother years ago witnessed she’s been brought up by abusive father. She’s even being permanently injured by her ‘father’ on her rib after one brutal attack. All her life, she’s kept questioning: “Why would her real mum give her up for adoption. Didn’t she love her? Did she hate her? Why?” Growing up she felt unloved and rejected. Being hurt and mistreated both mentally and physically.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. After all these ‘horrors’ these power holders entered a plea of guilty – then (this is horrible) are establishing “a fund for remedying established wrongs” and a national programme to alter the pain caused by the forced of separations.


Unavoidable to regret, impossible to rectify.

You condemn a culture of stoning. You curse honour killing practice. You blaspheme forced adoption. Yet you, yes – you. You nurture and cultivate misogyny – a hatred of women because we are women. You’ve never let us to have our own life, our own identity, our own judgement. You decide everything: what for us to do, to be, to believe, to say, to reason, to life.

I borrow G.K. Chesterton, saying: “Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions womb.””

… and I borrow the picture from this site. Thank you.


One thought on “Womb envy

  1. Dan aku bertanya2 – kemana pulak young MALE teenagers yg membuat young FEMALE teenagers ini hamil ya? What did the church, families, and government do to them?

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