A survey of maternity homes in Sweden is currently underway. Maternity homes were private clinics where women up to the 50s could take in before giving birth, then give birth there, leave the child and go home as if nothing had happened. Often as a way to keep the honor.
For many years, women in Sweden could enter maternity homes and give birth in secret. Ongoing research shows that there were private maternity homes throughout the country until the 1950s.
An advertisement for a maternity home from that time could, for example, read as follows: “Unnoticed lady receives good care in a nice and quiet home with a midwife in the north of the city, a two-hour train journey from Stockholm. Home for the child is available. Answer to SEK 60 per month.”
Johanna Sköld is a professor at Tema Barn in Linköping and one of the researchers investigating maternity homes.
– If you target unmarried women, you often use this signal word unnoticed, you wanted to reach women who did not want to be noticed but keep their pregnancy secret.
So far, Johanna has Sköld and her colleague mapped about 200 homes that were active from the 1910s onwards.
– And in these maternity homes, the mothers could also take in before the pregnancy began to be seen. It is also an important part of this.
Maternity homes had varying standard. Pastor Hagbard Isberg thinks that they exploit mothers and children as women have to pay for everything. For the birth, aftercare and for the child to get a foster home. In his twenties, he began inspecting homes in the Hässleholm area and sent questionnaires to women who had been admitted there.
– In a place he calls Mrs. S maternity home, the mother answers like this about how it was. “Mrs. S did not want any children in her maternity home, she told me it was best to travel with the child immediately.” Here is an example of a mother who has to leave the child immediately after the birth. Sometimes a blanket was placed over the mother’s face so that she would not see the child, and then the child was sent to an orphanage or to foster parents waiting in the subjects.
More about maternity homes you can hear in the P4 documentary Abortören which is in the app Sveriges Radio play.
Source: ICELAND NEWS