Erica is a registered nurse and mother of three teenage/adult boys. She enrolled on Deborah's Introduction to Memoir course not with the intention of writing her own story, but to write the stories of some of the extraordinary people she has crossed paths with in life. Having now been given the opportunity to reflect, to remember and to document her own story she is inspired to continue this challenging yet hopeful journey.
I was born on top of the cliff in Castor Bay on 3rd December 1967. Eastern Bays Maternity Hospital was opened in 1950 and has long since closed. But Mum vividly recalls this idyllic place with the freshly cut lawn, the striking blue sky overhead and the white picnic tables punctured with vibrant sun umbrellas. Like many of the smaller maternity hospitals at that time, the environment was homely and welcoming and my father and almost-two-year-old sister visited daily for a picnic on the cliff.
According to my mother, I shot into the world at great speed, big blue eyes wide open, looking for action. Nine pounds and two ounces of chubby baby, arriving two weeks late and causing significant damage to my carrier. The empathy ensued when I gave birth to my son 35 years later and he was ten pounds and six ounces. Like my mother, some intricate embroidery was required.
The midwives ran a tight ship back then, getting all the babies into a regimented routine in time for their departure home, six days postpartum. There was no night time breastfeeding. The new mothers slept while the babies were either bottle fed by the midwives or left to resettle themselves using the controlled crying technique.
My first week on Earth sounded like a summer vacation for my mother. I’ve long imagined her laughing in her blue spotted big-pants bikini, a wide brimmed sun hat and 1960s sunglasses, perhaps even sipping a pina colada. From personal experience I now know my arrival left my mother with a significant injury. However the imagined scene has always been one of great joy and the delights of summer. I’ve known I was loved from the day I entered the world.
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