When I started midwifery training in the early 1960s many babies were born at home and there had to be a reason for a hospital delivery such as previous medical or obstetric problems, unsuitable home conditions, first or fifth and subsequent births or multiple births.

Those booked for hospital delivery spent ten days after the birth in hospital and during that time the babies were kept in a nursery at the end of the ward and only came out for feeding. The rest of the time they were cared for by the midwives and nursery nurses who also cared for the special care babies in the same nursery, as there was no special care baby unit. The mothers came into the nursery for mothercare demonstrations on how to bath and change the baby and then took over these procedures with a professional standing by to give them confidence. Visitors (including fathers!) only saw their babies through the glass screen. Fathers were not present at the birth.

We worked in the nursery by rota and I loved my time in there and became very attached to some of the babies especially the premature babies who were sometimes there for several weeks.

I used to look at the babies sometimes and wonder what they would grow up to be,  what kind of characters  would they have,  would they become famous or even infamous! Hitler and Stalin were sweet innocent babes once, but so too were Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. Was there a seed of what they would become or would events form their characters?

I don’t suppose I will ever know what became of those  babies born over 40 years ago, but I hope most of them have led happy and useful lives.

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