Nurse Dowling, where are you?

When I was 14years old, I was put into a mothers and baby’s home. Below. Me and nurse Dowling.  imageThis was a happy time for me. This was because there were children my age whom had become pregnant for various reasons. I remember one particular girl who was sent there by her mother because she was seen as an embarrassment. Her family were strict Christians and to be pregnant before marriage as well as being a teenager was just not the done thing.  I recall she cried most days.  For me, well I loved my new family as if you can recall I didn’t have any.  In the unit there was a nurse called nurse Sandra Dowling above picture.  I recall she was a white lady with black curly hair.  I have tried my very best to trace her throughout the years.  I actually love this woman. If she was to never read this I hope she knows I have spent my life being grateful and remembering her.

In the home there were many rooms and I shared a room with another girl who was a twin. When my daughter was born I went back to the home. We were taught to cook and wash and darn our babies clothes. I learnt to play the piano, there were no schooling we just sat around dall day  and learnt how to be mothers. It was while I was at the home that I received my first birthday present in this country.  I was 15 years old.  I was one of the youngest by the time my daughter was born, and so I lied and told everyone I was 16yrs old. Therefore the birthday gift I received was for a 16th birthday in their eyes.  Once I received the gift I felt sad that I had lied, but convinced myself to keep the gift as it really was my birthday. It was a strange experience I didn’t know how to show my feelings, I wasn’t sure how to react; I do know I was pleased though. I recall I cried and no one knew why but I think it was because I wanted to be loved, and I wanted to belong. I opened the packet in front of the girls and I remember it was a red baby doll nightdress and knickers. The knickers made me laugh but I remember it seems dirty as it had a open crotch. I wasn’t sure why as I although I had a baby I really was still naive, an immature in comparison to the others in the home.  I believe it was because of my strict religious upbringing.  If anyone recall the movie “Carrie”well I lived in a similar environment.

I was also embarrassed. I did like the nightdress, although I knew I would never wear it.

The main thing I enjoyed in the home was being with the other children, I never found a close friend but we all got along, we ate together, there was a German cook called Lisa.  she was lovely and was the best cook ever. We ate well, I remember she use to knock her gong for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If we didn’t come down for either, baby or not there would be no food.  They taught us discipline.  We washed our baby’s clothes and sometimes went shopping together. Those days were tiring, but as I didn’t know any better I just got on with life.    I was given a two bedroom property by the council when I was 16yrs old. (I will get to that later). Nurse  Dowling taught me how to budget and she kept in touch whenever she went abroad her favorite place was Greece and I use to look forward to her postcards. I became very attached to her.  One day she said she had become so, attach to me she was not allowing me to grow, and that although it’s not what she wanted she need to let go, she told me I would make it somehow, (Secretly she kept in touch with me though for a while, then we lost touch. It’s only once I became older I realized that it was morally wrong for her to keep in touch they way she did. I still miss her she was my first mother figure. At today’s date I am still searching for her.

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4 Responses to Nurse Dowling, where are you?

  1. Deborah Briggs says:

    Nurse Dowling, what a blessing she was to you. She could see the little girl in you and it would be a joy for both of you to see each other


  2. maeiiri says:

    Aww this story is so sad! I hope you will find her someday. Nice people are so scarce these days 😦 .. how is your baby & are you coping with your life well? Looking forward to more of your posts x


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