There is yet another scandal rocking my country at the minute. Well, technically, this isn’t a new scandal as such, but it’s a new chapter in an old scandal.
For many years, after the foundation of the modern Irish state, Church and State worked hand in hand to keep women in their place. (Said place was not one I would have chosen to be and I thank deities regularly for not being born in those godforsaken times)
This particular aspect is particularly gruesome – and yes, I know I’m using “particular” and it’s derivatives a lot. It’ll be grand.
Unmarried mothers were seen as a scandal for many decades in modern Ireland. The shame on the family of said unmarried mother was tremendous (the shame on the unmarried father on the other hand was less so…) Where possible, of course, the ideal was to get said woman married off to someone who would accept the baby and raise it themselves. If that was not possible for whatever reason, then step in your usually not-local and usually unfriendly Mother and Baby home. These were places where women, sluts and harlots as they were, were sent to have their babies, out of sight and unable to shock the more respectable members of society. The women in these places, which were run by religious orders (nuns), were treated horribly. They were fallen women. They were worked without regard to their health or well being. They were given new names on entry to the home, not permitted to speak to each other or make friends, forced to labour in laundries, in heavy housework, making money from these women, who were after all, free labour.
Babies were taken from their mothers after a few weeks, to be raised in the homes and later on in industrial schools (another scandal, if you feel like googling it), if they weren’t given up for adoption, with or without the mother’s permission. Many of these women stayed in the homes or in places like them for fallen women, for years after the birth.
The latest chapter in this scandal is that our President, Michael D. Higgins himself, has juts signed into law the Bill that will seal the records from the government investigation for thirty years. https://www.thejournal.ie/president-sign-mother-and-baby-home-bill-5245201-Oct2020/ This news article has a link to a petition to change this bill, please look into it.
The article also has links to previous articles on this topic.
Brigid has a care for mothers, babies and mistreated women – all issues at stake here. Please look into this. Please see what you can do. If you’re not in a position to do anything in Ireland for this issue – look around in your own country. We’re not the only places who have treated unmarried women this badly. Even in the modern day there are people who treat the powerless in society poorly at best and viciously at worst. Please look into it. Do something. Let’s shout out from the rooftops about these injustices, scream at your local government representatives, raise money, don’t let these things be swept under the carpet as they always have been before.
If we’re looking at working for/with Brigid, we need to do the work she asks of us…