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The Unmarried Mother in our Society


by Origins Inc

Shall I look at my baby?

The Unmarried Mother in our Society,
chapter 23 - Lakeside Girls.
(Shall I look at my baby?)
1956 Sarah B. Edlin.

"In a professional agency such as ours. . . We experimented with permitting the girl to make her own choice in the matter of seeing or not seeing her baby. We observed - and so did the adoption agency with whom we work very closely and with whom we share our thinking - that in the main, the girl who did not see her baby was much more disturbed after her return home, than the girl who had seen her child and had returned to Lakeview with it for a week or two.

It is obvious that in these cases the girl (who refuses to see her baby) is merely carrying out her own pattern of unreality, and is trying to negate the whole racking experience by refusing to recognise it's existence. We try to make this clear to her, and urge her to change her decision. But we cannot and do not always succeed in making the girl understand the turmoil and conflict she is storing up for herself by not seeing the baby. All we can do is to exert out fullest efforts to influence her to do so. "

Although much evidence was available to determine that preventing a mother from seeing her child was psychologically harmful to both mother and child, and although the mother was the sole legal guardian of her child until she signed a consent, it became routine practice Australia-wide to forbid eye contact between mother and child...... To prevent bonding.

Most mothers so psychologically brainwashed into believing their baby did not belong to them, did not know they had a right to ask, were too afraid to ask, or, did ask to see her child only to be ignored or berated for her audacity.

Each hospital complied with the arrangement decided upon by the unmarried mothers home to which they were affiliated.

The Anglican Adoption Agency who controlled the girls at Carramar Home for Unmarried mothers (the largest private adoption agency during the 1960's) decided that the mother could see her child at least once, but was forbidden to hold it or feed it, and then only after she had signed the consent. By the early 1970's the mother was permitted to hold her baby for a few minutes, but only whilst heavily guarded by a team of nursing staff or someone else in authority.

I believe this type of control constitutes inducement to sign a contract.



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