Sunday 27 May 2018

Midnight in the back gardens of Tuam

As the Tuam scandal unfolds, we should pause to consider all the mothers of lost babies, says Miriam O'Callaghan

Local schoolgirls pay their respects at the site of the mothers and babies home unmarked grave in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Andy Newman. Photo: Andy Newman
Local schoolgirls pay their respects at the site of the mothers and babies home unmarked grave in Tuam, Co Galway. Photo: Andy Newman. Photo: Andy Newman

Miriam O'Callaghan

Twenty years ago, when my son was a new baby, I saw a 'dead' woman talking on TV. She talked of how she returned to the nursery after her day in the laundry. Of how she stood there, bursting with milk and madness, because her unweaned son had been taken away by the nuns. Of how she never stopped looking for him. Of how even though he could be a father and grandfather himself, she would still know him anywhere, because of his smell. Perfect mother logic.

The credits showed the dead woman had died again before the programme was aired.

That night I walked and fed my colicky boy, thinking of this woman and her boy, feeling distracted and blessed.

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