Jo Abi writes about Australia’s shameful past.
Imagine being 16. Imagine being pregnant. And imagine having your family and everyone you trust turn on you.
And then, imagine the absolute horror of having your newborn baby stolen from you, just because you happened to be young and unmarried.
It sounds unbelievable today – but this is exactly what happened to countless young Australian mums and their babies just a few decades ago.
“I’d lie in bed every night with my arms wrapped around my baby inside of me knowing that I would never hold him after birth. I’d feel his feet and hands through my own stomach as he moved around, knowing that I wasn’t ever going to feel them after he was born.”
That’s part of a statement given by one of the mums who ended up having her child forcibly removed from her and adopted out in the 1960s. And sadly, she wasn’t alone.
In the 1950s to the 1970s, women didn’t have too many options. Birth control was difficult to get, abortions were illegal and falling pregnant was seen as something shameful that needed to be hidden.
And so, around 150,000 babies were adopted out during this time. Just take a moment to let that massive number sink in – that’s 150,000 women and babies who had their lives destroyed in an instant.