Denise, Montréal Nord QC (1/4)
"I was 24 when I got pregnant with my son. My husband was in med school and I was working full-time as a nurse. I got so sick during my pregnancy that I had to take two anti-nausea suppositories a day to go through my shifts. But I was the breadwinner of our family so I worked until the day I gave birth. Luckily it was very quick. My water broke at 6:00pm and by 9:15pm I had him in my arms. I delivered him where his dad was a student so he was able to catch him when he came out, and the first thing he did was pee in his dad’s face – at least we knew everything was working alright! Back in the days, your baby didn’t stay in the post-partum room with you. Only when you were able to walk by yourself to the nursery were you allowed to hold him. At the same time, I was so tired… I’m not sure I would have wanted him in the room. We went back home and I resumed working 15 days after having him. Maternity leave didn’t exist in 1961 and we had to pay the rent. My days started at 6:30am and ended at 10:30pm. I would work all day, then go to the market, cook, and clean. I had an electrical laundry machine but had to wring the clothes by hand. I would get up early to prep the bottles and feed the baby. I didn’t breastfeed. It wasn’t something you did back then. At the hospital, after you gave birth, they used to give you hormones to stop the milk from coming. I didn’t take them but I got lucky, my milk production slowed down very quickly and I wasn’t in too much pain. Pumps might have existed but we didn’t know about them. Anyway, I’m not sure I would have had time with everything else I had to care for. But I was lucky. Your dad was an easy baby. He was so sweet and so beautiful. He still is, beautiful I mean. But as far as temperament… I preferred him as a baby!"