But it was the way, wasn’t it?

Women of all ages have shared with us their experiences of having children. Many women gave birth in Risedale when it was a maternity home, and while we’ve been talking in the tent it has happened, on more than one occasion, that two or more women remember the same obstetrician or gynaecologist.

The lively bunch of women from Ostley House all agreed on one thing – attitudes were pretty strict back in the 1940s and 1950s, and practices that were accepted then would almost certainly not go down well today. Here’s part of the conversation between two of the women:

We’d stay in the hospital for about ten days after giving birth. The father would hardly be around – you were only allowed one visitor a day, for one hour. And you daren’t pick that baby up. It lay in a cot by the side of your bed. Lo and Behold if you tried to pick it up!

Yes they took it away every day and then brought it back. You got your sleep though.

You weren’t allowed to nurse it during the day.

You got your sleep though …

I mean now, you just sit and cuddle them and nurse them, spoil them rotten. But no, you weren’t allowed to touch them then. They could scream their heads off and you couldn’t pick them up. Really cruel it were.

You’ll thank us for this when you get home, is what we got told.

Well No, I didn’t. I never thanked them for it, no, cos he still carried on screaming, till you picked him up!

Of course, that’s what our babies wanted.

Yes! And I always felt it was wrong, to ignore them and leave them crying.

But it was the way, wasn’t it?

My son cried for three hours after he was born. They took him down to the nursery, it was only the bottom of the ward, and I could still hear him. They said it was to give me rest.