In 1979 when I was born, I was an ‘illegitimate baby’. In 2022 I am an illegitimate mother. Illegitimate meaning “not authorised by the law; not in accordance with accepted standards or rules”.
I am damned if my daughter is going to grow up unequal to every other child in Ireland, in the same way I grew up.
My mother led her own powerful silent protest against societal pressure in 1979 by forging ahead and parenting me as she saw fit. Other mothers at the time were not afforded this opportunity, with many children separated from their parents within the mother and baby homes across Ireland at the time. The tragedy at the Tuam mother and baby home and the findings of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes illustrate the harsh environment in which women — mothers — were surviving.
My mother gave me the best start in life, cared for and supported me throughout my life, and still does to this day.