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Girls as young as 12 were among 56,000 mothers sent to hellish Church homes

Girls as young as 12 were among the 56,000 mothers in Ireland’s mother and baby homes, whose harrowing experiences have been laid bare by the disturbing report revealed yesterday.

They and their children were subjected to very high infant mortality rates, poor nutrition, overcrowded sleeping quarters and emotional abuse.

However, the Commission of Investigation does not lay all the blame at the door of the Churches, or the State, pointing the finger also at families and fathers who turned their backs on the unmarried, pregnant women.

It noted that while Ireland was a cold, harsh environment for many during the last century, it was especially cold and harsh for women. It stated: ‘All women suffered serious discrimination. Women who gave birth outside marriage were subject to particularly harsh treatment.

‘Responsibility for that harsh treatment rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families.

‘It was supported by, contributed to, and condoned by, the institutions of the State and the Churches. However, it must be acknowledged that the institutions under investigation provided a refuge – a harsh refuge in some cases – when the families provided no refuge at all.’

The commission’s final report observed that while mother and baby homes were not a peculiarly Irish phenomenon, the proportion of Irish unmarried mothers who were admitted to such homes or county homes in the 20th Century was ‘probably the highest in the world’.

Girls as young as 12 were among the 56,000 mothers in Ireland’s mother and baby homes, whose harrowing experiences have been laid bare by the disturbing report revealed yesterday. Pictured: A mother and daughter pay their respects at a memorial for the mothers and daughters of Tuam, Co. Galway, where a mass grave of 796 babies was uncovered six years ago

Mary Harney tracked down her mother whom she was told had died after giving birth to her at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork in 1949

Catherine Coffey O'Brien suffered physical abuse and was treated 'like a prostitute' after being duped into entering the same baby's home by a social worker

Among the victims are Mary Harney (left), who tracked down her mother whom she was told had died after giving birth to her at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork in 1949, and Catherine Coffey O’Brien (right), who suffered physical abuse and was treated ‘like a prostitute’ after being duped into entering the same baby’s home by a social worker

A total of 9,768 women and 8,938 children passed through the doors of Bessborough House, Co. Cork, run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The burial sites of the 923 children who died here still remain a mystery, largely due to the failings of local health authorities

 A total of 9,768 women and 8,938 children passed through the doors of Bessborough House, Co. Cork, run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The burial sites of the 923 children who died here still remain a mystery, largely due to the failings of local health authorities

Following harrowing revelations of the suffering, cruelties and shocking number of early deaths in mother and baby homes, Micheál Martin denounced Ireland’s ‘perverse religious morality’ of previous decades

Following harrowing revelations of the suffering, cruelties and shocking number of early deaths in mother and baby homes, Micheál Martin denounced Ireland’s ‘perverse religious morality’ of previous decades

It reported that there were about 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children in the 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes investigated by the commission.

The greatest number of these admissions was in the 1960s and early 1970s. The commission said it was likely that there were a further 25,000 unmarried mothers and a larger number of children in other county homes which were not investigated.

The women ranged in age from 12 years old to those in their 40s. The majority, 80%, were aged between 18 and 29, but 5,616, 11.4%, were under 18 years of age.

Case study: Catherine Coffey O’Brien

I grew up in an orphanage and fell pregnant at the age of 16, which was one of the worst things you could do in Irish society back then.

After an argument with my baby’s father and desperate for help, a social worker referred me to Bessborough Sacred Heart Convent in Blackrock, Co. Cork.

I was told that I would be living independently, have my own apartment and go back to education. I was shocked when I saw a nun come to pick me up and I knew I had been duped.

Before I went in, I was contemplating how I was going to get out because I had no intention of giving away my baby.

When I arrived, my name was changed to Jane on the records. They thought they were blessing me with a favour, not taking away my identity.

I was told to have limited conversations with the other girls and we were to never reveal our real names.

I was expected to polish brass, floors, the chapel, wash and clean for the girls, and watch over certain babies in the nursery. The food was also abysmal – Some heavily pregnant girls were starting to lose their teeth due to the calcium deficiency.

However, physical abuse was heavily outweighed by the mental abuse we felt every day.

The nuns thought of us as prostitutes, even the 11-year-old pregnant girls, who had clearly been raped.

They made sure to remind us we were worthless and would humorously attempt to comfort the girls once their babies had been taken away.

Regarding my own pregnancy, the nun told me: ‘If you have a boy, we won’t have a problem. We have beautiful families waiting for him.

‘But if you have a girl, we will definitely have a problem and she’ll probably end up in the orphanage you were in.’

In the baby selection process, babies weighing under 10kg and mixed-race babies were seen as not fit for adoption.

Those babies ended up in industrial schools where they would be open to torture and sexual abuse among other horrors.

Like everyone else, my pregnancy was far from pleasant and with my due date growing nearer I was petrified for the outcome. The births that the mothers were subjected to – without pain relief or sedation – were described as punishment from God .

I decided to run away with another girl, but she ended up being taken back to Bessborough. The punishment for her was torture beyond words.

The first night I slept in a bush and the next day, I went to the mother of my baby’s father and told her everything.

She refused to have her grandchild taken away and told my baby’s father to take responsibility, which he did.

I don’t like using the word traumatised but I still lived in fear. I was so scared for doctor appointments, worrying that they would contact Bessborough.

I was never given a scan in Bessborough, but I got plenty of injections and blood taken from me from an ancient woman. When I would ask her what she was injecting me with, she wouldn’t even know.

The nuns did find out where I was but by then it was too late as I was engaged to my baby’s father.

I was one of the very few lucky ones who got out and delivered a baby boy.

But at 48 today, I’m still overcome with guilt that life allowed for my escape when so many others died in that place.

At the end of the day what we really want is answers. They annihilated generations of women and children. Now they are erasing us from history.

The commission said the number of under-18s rose sharply in the early 1960s, and remained at a high level for the next two decades.

‘Some pregnancies were the result of rape; some women had mental health problems, some had an intellectual disability,’ the report stated.

‘However, the majority were indistinguishable from most Irish women of their time. The only difference between the women in mother and baby homes and their sisters, classmates and work companions was that they became pregnant while unmarried. 

‘Their lives were blighted by pregnancy outside marriage, and the responses of the father of their child, their immediate families and the wider community.

‘Women were admitted to mother and baby homes and county homes because they failed to secure the support of their family and the father of their child.

‘They were forced to leave home, and seek a place where they could stay without having to pay. Many were destitute.’

Women who feared the consequences of their pregnancy becoming known to their family and neighbours entered the homes to protect their privacy. Some travelled to Britain for the same reason, but were often forced to return by the British authorities.

The commission said the profiles of the women in the homes changed over the decades, mirroring changes in Irish women’s lives.

In the early decades most women who were admitted were domestic servants or farm workers or they were carrying out unpaid domestic work in their family home. In later years, however, many were clerical workers, civil servants, professional women and schoolgirls or third-level students.

‘There is no evidence that women were forced to enter mother and baby homes by Church or State authorities. Most women had no alternative,’ the report said.

Many pregnant, single women contacted the Department of Local Government and Public Health, later the Department of Health, their local health authority, or a Catholic charity seeking assistance because they had nowhere to go and no money.

Women were also brought to mother and baby homes by their parents or other family members without being consulted. The report says: ‘In many cases, they were cut off from the world and some were assigned a ‘house name’. The homes gave women some assurance that ‘their secret would be protected’.

Up to 9,000 children died in 18 institutions between 1922 and the closure of the last such home in 1998. The commission said the very high rate of infant mortality, defined as a death within a baby’s first year, ‘is probably the most disquieting feature of these institutions’.

The death rate among ‘illegitimate’ children was always considerably higher than that among ‘legitimate’ children, but it was higher still in the mother and baby homes.

Between 1945 and 1946, the death rate in the homes was almost twice that of the national average for ‘illegitimate’ children.

About 9,000 children died in the institutions under investigation, about 15% of all the children who were in the homes .

‘In the years before 1960 mother and baby homes did not save the lives of ‘illegitimate’ children; in fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their prospects of survival,’ the report said.

It added that the very high mortality rates were known to local and national authorities at the time and were recorded in official publications.

The high death rates were attributed, by the commission, to the poor nutrition of their mothers during pregnancy, their lack of ante-natal care if they were only admitted shortly before giving birth, and the cramped conditions in the homes, allowing infections to spread.

Poor standards of hygiene in many of the homes, a lack of professional healthcare training for religious members, and ‘a general indifference to the fate of the children who were born in mother and baby homes’, contributed to the appalling levels of infant mortality, the report said.

What happened to survivors?

The ‘illegitimate’ children born in the institutions who survived went on to suffer discrimination for most of their lives, the commission said.

Most had no memory of their time there, but some stayed in the institutions after their mothers left and a small number were in institutions until the age of seven.

Before legal adoption was introduced in 1953, children who left the homes usually ended up in other institutions such as industrial schools or were boarded out or nursed out.

While many survivors have reported having their babies taken from them, the commission found little evidence of forced adoption.

A woman holds a poster at a funeral procession in remembrance of the bodies of the infants discovered in a septic tank, in 2014, at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, in Dublin, Ireland October 6, 2018

A woman holds a poster at a funeral procession in remembrance of the bodies of the infants discovered in a septic tank, in 2014, at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, in Dublin, Ireland October 6, 2018

These photographs are the first glimpse of life inside Ireland's largest mother and baby home St. Patrick's on the Navan Road in Dublin

These photographs are the first glimpse of life inside Ireland’s largest mother and baby home St. Patrick’s on the Navan Road in Dublin

The notorious Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970

The notorious Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970

It stated: ‘Some former residents and lobby groups have suggested that ‘adoption’ should be renamed ‘forced adoption’. The commission does not agree. 

‘The commission found very little evidence that children were forcibly taken from their mothers; it accepts that the mothers did not have much choice but that is not the same as ‘forced’ adoption.’

The commission said the principle reason why adoption became so popular after it was formally introduced in 1953 was the lack of family and community support for mothers who wished to keep their child. Its availability also meant that women did not have to stay as long in the institutions.

Case study: Mary Harney 

Survivor Mary Harney has told how she tracked down her mother, despite having been lied to and told she was dead.

Ms Harney was born in the Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork, in February 1949. Her mother had arrived there just the day before she was born, and Ms Harney went on to live there for two-and-a half years, before being fostered to a local family.

She said: ‘That was not a good situation. When I was taken from my mother, and I use the word taken because I do not believe there was any legal explanation for what happened to me… I was handed over to two middle-aged people who seemed to know nothing about children.

While with that couple, Ms Harney was subject to harsh discipline and a lack of proper care and feeding. They were reported for neglect when she was just five.

She told RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne: ‘I learned to open the front door and sneak into the neighbours, who would feed me and also noticed bruises on me and realised how thin I was.’

The neighbours reported her plight, believing they were doing the right thing. But Ms Harney then found herself in the Good Shepherd industrial school in Cork. Shockingly, she could have been returned to her mother instead.

‘The lie that was told in court was that the whereabouts of my mother was unknown,’ she recalled. ‘At that time the nuns knew exactly where she was. They had put her there. They had sent her to Wales, the same order of nuns as Bessborough, to work in one of their hospitals.’

A second, even worse, lie was told when she was 11, and she was informed her mother had died.

‘The lie continued all the way through until I managed to trace my mother myself when I was about 17. And then I found out that my mother did not abandon me and together we pieced what happened to us,’ she said.

Ms Harney said she then went to live with her mother, to try to rebuild their relationship.

‘It was very awkward. We couldn’t put the bond back together. But we became lifelong friends and my mother has always been my heroine,’ she said. She added that her mother had always been reluctant to speak about the reasons she went to Bessborough, and that she had learnt to respect that.

Ms Harney said the leak of the report was no surprise to survivors, who were already disappointed that their report in 2018 to advise the Department of Children about their issues of concern had never been published.

She believes that although there was collusion by the Church and society, the ultimate responsibility for the homes lay with the State.

She added: ‘I am immune to apologies… An apology is not worth the paper it is written on unless you have commitment from the Government to the action that is needed for redress and justice. We must have the right to unfettered access to our identities.’

It noted that until 1973, when the Unmarried Mother’s Allowance was introduced, most women had no realistic prospect of keeping their child, unless they were assisted by their family.

It also said that great care should be taken not to denigrate the families who adopted children from the institutions, believing it to be in the best interest of the child.

‘There is no doubt that the option of legal adoption was a vastly better outcome for the children involved than the previous informal adoption or nursed out arrangements, and it resulted in fewer children spending their early lives in an institution,’ the report said.

It said that 1,638 children who were resident in the mother and baby homes and county homes under investigation were placed for foreign adoption. The vast majority, 1,427, started new lives in the United States of America.

Conditions in the Homes

The report noted that there were different types of institutions with different governance, financial arrangements and practices.

Some were owned and run by the local health authorities, such as the county homes, Pelletstown, Tuam and Kilrush. Others were owned and run by religious orders, for example, the three homes run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary – Bessborough, Sean Ross and Castlepollard. The Bethany Home was founded by a Protestant evangelical group.

The commission observed that some of the county homes, like Kilrush and Tuam, had ‘appalling’ physical conditions.

Most county homes had no sanitation, no running water, heating and no place for children to play.

Such homes admitted women with special needs, mental health problems, venereal disease or a criminal conviction, who would be rejected by a number of mother and baby homes. They had children with special needs, including the children of married families.

‘The accommodation and care given to these children in county homes was grossly inadequate; some of the descriptions are extremely distressing,’ it said.

Conditions in the other mother and baby homes were considerably better and improved over time, it said. The women and children were subject to strict rules, but there was no evidence of the sort of gross abuse that occurred in industrial schools, with just a small number of complaints of physical abuse, the report said.

The women worked, but they were generally doing the sort of work that they would have done at home. However, women in county homes did arduous work for which they should have been paid.

Some county homes were unwilling to let women go after having their babies, preferring to keep the free labour.

Trauma and emotional abuse

Many women did suffer emotional abuse and were often subject to denigration and derogatory remarks. ‘It appears that there was little kindness shown to them, and this was particularly the case when they were giving birth,’ it said.

‘The atmosphere appears to have been cold and seemingly uncaring. They offered little sympathy or counselling to women who may have been rejected by their family and by the father of their child.

‘There were no qualified social workers, or counsellors attached to these homes until at least the 1970s, and until that time, there is no evidence that women were given opportunities to discuss the circumstances of their pregnancy or future options for their child.

‘Women were dissuaded from sharing their stories with fellow residents, because of concerns to protect their privacy.’

Many found childbirth traumatic. The overwhelming majority were first-time mothers and probably uninformed about childbirth.

‘First-time childbirth can be frightening for any woman; it was undoubtedly worse for women whose pregnancy had devastated their normal life and resulted in their removal from home, family and friends,’ it said.

‘The trauma of childbirth must have been especially difficult for the many women who had no prospect of keeping their child.’

Influence of the Church

Local authorities often deferred to the views of the religious orders that ran homes or the local bishop.

However, there was no evidence that the Catholic hierarchy played a role in the day-to-day running of mother and baby homes.

Yet their influence was strong. In one example, the Archbishop of Tuam objected to efforts to move the Tuam home to the outskirts of Galway in the late 1950s, as the new area was close to a busy road,

He said that homes must be in ‘a place that is quiet, remote and surrounded by high boundary walls’ He added: ‘In many cases they are on the look out to get in touch with men, and some of them cannot repress their excitement even when a man comes to the home to deliver a message.’

He was eventually overruled by the Health Minister.

Funding came first from local rates, and later general tax. The Commission said it saw no evidence that the religious orders made a profit running the homes.

‘At various times, it is clear that they struggled to make ends meet and their members were not always paid for their work,’ it said. ‘This was a particular problem when occupancy levels fell and women stayed for shorter periods. Payments by local authorities were not always on time.’

The capitation rates, while not generous, were more generous than welfare payments for an adult and a child in the community.

Under regulations, the women (or, if they were under 16, their parents) could have been charged for their stay in the homes, but this does not appear to have happened in most of the larger institutions. Residents in county homes were charged if they had an income.

The report said it was probable that the number of Irish unmarried mothers in mother and baby homes was the highest in the world.

Large numbers gave birth there in the 1970s, by which time most mother and baby homes in other countries had closed. The report said Ireland was not unique in believing illegitimacy should be regretted and disowned – it was a view shared by most countries in the early and mid-20th century.

Few men contributed to the maintenance of their child or acknowledged their existence. In the first half of the century many would have been unable to do so, because they were farm labourers or unpaid workers on family farms or in family businesses.

A woman and her daughter pay their respects at the Tuam graveyard today, where the bodies of 796 babies were uncovered at the site of a former Catholic home for unmarried mothers and their children

A woman and her daughter pay their respects at the Tuam graveyard today, where the bodies of 796 babies were uncovered at the site of a former Catholic home for unmarried mothers and their children

At another notorious home, Bessborough in County Cork, 75 percent of the children born or admitted in a single year, 1943, died. The girls of Bessborough are pictured above.

At another notorious home, Bessborough in County Cork, 75 percent of the children born or admitted in a single year, 1943, died. The girls of Bessborough are pictured above. 

One Irish woman released a photo of herself as a baby in a desperate bid to trace her birth mother. 'I am full of tears and the revelations about the TuamHome have caused me even greater despair,' said the 60-year-old

One Irish woman released a photo of herself as a baby in a desperate bid to trace her birth mother. ‘I am full of tears and the revelations about the TuamHome have caused me even greater despair,’ said the 60-year-old

These photographs are the first glimpse of life inside Ireland's largest mother and baby home St. Patrick's on the Navan Road in Dublin. The first ever memorial day for children who died in the home will be held on August 13

These photographs are the first glimpse of life inside Ireland’s largest mother and baby home St. Patrick’s on the Navan Road in Dublin. The first ever memorial day for children who died in the home will be held on August 13

A group of children at the Tuam home in 1924Site of a mass grave of up to 800 children at the former Mother and Baby home in Tuam, County Galway, in western Ireland.  It was revealed 3 March 2017

A group of children at the Tuam home in 1924, the site of a mass grave of up to 800 children at the former Mother and Baby home in Tuam, County Galway 

While mothers had the right to apply for maintenance under the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation) Orders Act 1930, it generally proved impossible to secure evidence.

The most common response to pregnancies outside marriage in other countries was to try and arrange a quick marriage between the woman and the father. Yet in Ireland, in the early and mid-20th century, the marriage rate was the lowest in the western world, and fathers seemed very reluctant to marry. Many disappeared on hearing of the woman’s pregnancy.

In other cases the man or the woman’s parents opposed their marrying because of difference in social background or religion.

There were many accounts in the report of parents willing to welcome their daughter back but not her child. The commission said an explanation for this might be that Irish families were the largest in the developed world. Many were poor and living in overcrowded homes, so an other child would have put them under pressure.

Such a child would have been especially unwelcome in a farm house where the marriage of the inheriting son depended on clearing the home of noninheriting siblings.

There was also the question of a family’s standing in the community. Many Irish marriages until the 1960s involved an element of match-making and a dowry and these processes were reliant on a family’s respectability.

Many women who concealed their pregnancy were conscious of such attitudes.

Vaccine trials

The commission identified seven vaccine trials which took place in the institutions between 1934 and 1973 and has identified a number of the children involved.

It said there was not compliance with regulatory and ethical standards of the time as consent was not obtained from the mothers or their guardians and the necessary licences were not in place.

However, there was no evidence of injury as a result of the vaccines. 

Babies ‘carried out in shoe boxes to be buried’: The stories behind the homes 

St Patrick’s Navan Road, Dublin, 1919-1998

The majority of the 18,829 children admitted to St Patrick’s Navan Road were alone at the time of their death.

Originally known as Pelletstown and later operated as Eglinton House, this institution was run by the Daughters of Charity who were employed by the relevant local authority at the time.

A total of 15,382 women and 18,829 children were admitted here between 1919 and 1998, according to commission’s report.

Facilities at Pelletstown were described as ‘inadequate’ with just four lavatories provided for 140 women in 1950. In 1966, women were sleeping in dormitories with 52 and 30 beds respectively that offered no privacy.

A total of 3,615 children died; 78% of deaths occurred between 1920 and 1942, but unlike at many mother and baby homes, the burials of these infants are properly recorded in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Belmont Flatlets, Donnybrook, Dublin, 1980-2001

This was not a traditional mother and baby home but rather a hostel type short-term accommodation for a small number of women and children, about nine or ten at any one time.

It was opened by the Daughters of Charity and was financially supported by the Eastern Health Board. The women lived independently, but got support from social workers and public health nurses.

The commission stated: ‘The mothers were there with their babies and left with their babies so the issue of tracing would not have arisen.’

Kilrush Nursery, Co. Clare, 1922-1932

The commission estimates that there were between 300 and 400 unmarried mothers and a much larger number of children in the west Clare facility.

It was run by the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy nuns up to 1928, and afterwards by lay staff, and conditions were described as ‘very poor’, with leaking roofs, no baths, and no inside sanitary accommodation.

The mothers who lived there were also described as neglected, with no proper clothing or comfort of any kind. The number of child deaths in this institution, however, is not known, but the medical officer described the death rate in 1927 as ‘appalling’.

Bessborough House, Co. Cork, 1922-1998

The burial sites of the 923 children who died here still remain a mystery, largely due to the failings of local health authorities. A total of 9,768 women and 8,938 children passed through the institution’s doors, run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

One young mother described how she was stripped of her name, belongings and life’s savings when she became a resident.

‘It would have been impossible to leave; all of our things had been confiscated, we had no clothes and no money,’ she said. ‘From time to time we were allowed outside, but were always escorted by nuns… They marched us around like soldiers.’

Sean Ross, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, 1931-1969

The Sean Ross mother and baby home was among the homes run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Within 38 years, 6,414 women were admitted and 6,079 babies were born there. One such resident was Philomena Lee, whose story was turned into an award-winning film in 2013. During her stay, her son was forcibly taken from her and adopted by US parents in the 1950s.

A total of 1,090 of the 6,079 babies who were born or admitted at Sean Ross had died, but the registers of burials were not maintained. However, there is a burial ground, and the commission has established the remains of some children under the age of one are buried in coffins there.

Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, 1935-1971

Several women told the commission of investigation that they witnessed nuns leaving the hospital with up to ten dead babies in shoe boxes and bringing them for burial on the grounds nearby.

The burial sites were later marked by the presence of nails in the wall of a cemetery nearby. The facility was run by the Congregations of the Sacred Heart, and a total of 4,559 babies were born here, but there is no register of burials for the 247 infants who died.

Regina Coeli, North Brunswick Street, Dublin, 1930-1998

A total of 734 children had died at this hostel accommodation with the peak of mortalities occurring in the early 1940s.

A 1948 report claimed that infant mortality at the facility was three times the rate in Pelletstown and that the hostel lacked ‘almost every proper facility in regard to both nursing and structure’.

Dunboyne, Co. Meath, 1955-1991

The Dunboyne Mother and Baby home had the highest proportion of women under 18, with minors making up 23.4% of admissions.

Over one in ten admissions to Dunboyne were aged between 12 and 16, which was under the legal age of consent. There were a total of 3,156 mothers and 1,148 children, with 37 infant mortalities.

Bethany, Dublin city and Rathgar, 1922-1971

This facility was run mainly for Protestant women, and a total of 262 children associated with the Bethany Home in Dublin died. During its 50-year operation in Blackhall Place and later Rathgar, this mother and baby home accommodated 1,584 women and 1,376 children.

The commission found that the decision to no longer admit Catholic women meant that it was less overcrowded than the other mother and baby homes in the 1940s.

Other homes mentioned in the report included: Denny House (formerly the Magdalen Asylum), 1765-1994; Miss Carr’s Flatlets, Dublin, 1972-present; St Gerard’s, Dublin, 1919-1939; Cork County Home, 1921-1960; Kilkenny County Home, Thomastown, 1922-1960.  

Ireland’s homes of shame: Horrifying report reveals 9,000 babies – one-in-six children there – died in Catholic homes during 20th Century as religious orders are urged to compensate victims 

ByCraig Hughes For The Irish Daily Mail

Ireland’s Taoiseach has launched an unflinching criticism of homes run by the country’s Catholic Church in the past.

Following harrowing revelations of the suffering, cruelties and shocking number of early deaths in mother and baby homes, Micheál Martin denounced Ireland’s ‘perverse religious morality’ of previous decades.

As pressure grew on the religious orders who ran the homes to compensate survivors, he said Ireland must ‘face up to the full truth of our past’.

Almost a century of abuse at the homes for unmarried women, where thousands of infants died, was laid bare yesterday in a damning report that detailed how around 9,000 children died in all, adding up to a mortality rate of 15%. The proportion of children who died before their first birthday in one home, Bessborough, in Co. Cork, was as high as 75% in 1943, it found.

The Commission of Investigation that exposed the appalling details said that before 1960, the homes did not save the lives of ‘illegitimate’ children; in fact they were more likely to die there.

Mr Martin said: ‘We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy. Young mothers and their sons and daughters paid a terrible price for that dysfunction.’ He said he would make a formal apology on behalf of the State in the Dáil today.

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland last night apologised to the survivors of the mother and baby homes.

Following harrowing revelations of the suffering, cruelties and shocking number of early deaths in mother and baby homes, Micheál Martin denounced Ireland’s ‘perverse religious morality’ of previous decades

Following harrowing revelations of the suffering, cruelties and shocking number of early deaths in mother and baby homes, Micheál Martin denounced Ireland’s ‘perverse religious morality’ of previous decades

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said the Church was clearly part of a culture in which people were frequently stigmatised, judged and rejected.

He said the survivors must be helped and supported, but made no mention of compensation.

However, the Government has committed to providing compensation to some survivors, with the Taoiseach saying the Church should make ‘a significant contribution’ towards the State redress scheme.

He said: ‘I’ve taken the first step today by writing to the religious organisations, seeking to meet them on that issue. And I think it is appropriate that there is a significant contribution from religious organisations, towards the State’s restorative recognition scheme, and I look forward to engaging with them on that issue.’

He declined to say what percentage of the costs he believed the Church should pay.

However, there was also no mention of compensation in the statements issued yesterday by the various religious charities involved in the running of the homes decades ago.

And there was no response from either the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the Daughters of Charity, or the Good Shepherd Sisters yesterday when the Irish Daily Mail pressed the question of compensation.

All issued statements of apology and sympathised yesterday with the women and families affected.

The report, which covered 18 mother and baby homes where, over decades, young pregnant women were hidden from society, has laid bare one of the Irish Catholic Church’s darkest chapters.

Historian Catherine Corless watches Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking during a Government webinar meeting for survivors and supporters of Church-run mother and baby homes where he outlines the first look at the report by the Commission of Investigation into the institutions before it is formally published, in Tuam, Ireland, January 12, 2021

Historian Catherine Corless watches Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking during a Government webinar meeting for survivors and supporters of Church-run mother and baby homes where he outlines the first look at the report by the Commission of Investigation into the institutions before it is formally published, in Tuam, Ireland, January 12, 2021

Infants were taken from their mothers and sent overseas to be adopted. As well as this, in some cases, children in the homes were given trial vaccines without consent. Anonymous testimony from residents compared the institutions to prisons, and they said they were verbally abused by nuns as ‘sinners’ and ‘spawn of Satan’.

Reviewers said Ireland was a cold, harsh environment for many, probably the majority, of residents during the earlier half of the period under consideration.

The report said: ‘It was especially cold and harsh for women. All women suffered serious discrimination. Women who gave birth outside marriage were subject to particularly harsh treatment.’

In his statement, the Taoiseach acknowledged that it was a time of societal and Church pressure on unmarried mothers and that it dated back decades. Women were admitted to mother and baby homes and county homes because they failed to secure the support of their family and the father of their child, the report stated.

The commission said that they had no other option but to enter the institutions.

‘Their lives were blighted by pregnancy outside marriage, and the responses of the father of their child, their immediate families and the wider community,’ it added.

Women also suffered through traumatic labours without any pain relief.

One survivor recalled ‘women screaming, a woman who had lost her mind, and a room with small white coffins’.

Relatives have alleged the babies were mistreated because they were born to unmarried mothers who, like their children, were seen as a stain on Ireland’s image as a devout Catholic nation. The inquiry said those admitted included girls as young as 12.

IRISH INQUIRIES INTO ALLEGED ABUSE AT CHURCH-RUN HOMES

An Irish inquiry into alarming death rates among newborns at church-run homes for unwed mothers will hand down its final report on Tuesday, laying bare one of the Catholic Church’s darkest chapters.

There have been a series of reports into allegations of abuse and mistreatment by priests and members of religious orders. Here are some details of their findings:

FERNS REPORT INTO CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE, OCTOBER 2005

– The first official inquiry into the activities of abusive priests – in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford – detailed the Church’s handling of 100 allegations, including of rape, against 21 priests dating back to the mid-1960s. It found that for 20 years the bishop in charge of the rural diocese did not expel priests but simply transferred them to a different post.

COMMISSION TO INQUIRE INTO CHILD ABUSE, MAY 2009

– The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse issued a five-volume report which found that priests abused children between the 1930s and the 1970s in Catholic-run institutions. It described orphanages and industrial schools in 20th century Ireland as places of fear, neglect and endemic sexual abuse.

Generations of priests, nuns and Christian Brothers – a Catholic religious order – beat, starved and, in some cases raped, children, the inquiry found. Some of the testimonies spoke of children scavenging for food from waste bins, being flogged, scalded and held under water.

MURPHY REPORT INTO CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE, NOVEMBER 2009:

– The Murphy report investigated widespread child abuse by priests in the Dublin archdiocese between 1975 and 2004 that the Church ‘obsessively’ concealed under a policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ about abuse. The archdiocese was preoccupied with protecting the reputation of the Church over and above protecting children’s welfare, the report said.

CLOYNE REPORT INTO CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE, JULY 2011:

– The report into the handling of sex abuse claims in the County Cork diocese of Cloyne showed that senior clergy were still trying to cover up abuse allegations almost until the present day, a decade after it introduced rules to protect minors, and that the Vatican was complicit in the cover-up.

Then-Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Holy See of obstructing investigations into sexual abuse by priests. The Vatican responded by recalling its ambassador to Ireland.

MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES REPORT, FEBRUARY 2013

– An official report compiled by an inter-departmental government committee into Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries found that 10,000 women and girls, some as young as nine, were put through an uncompromising regime of unpaid work from the foundation of the Irish state in 1922 until 1996.

The report found that many of the women – some of whom were subjected to the harsh discipline of the institutions for simply becoming pregnant outside wedlock – were sent there by the Irish state.

MOTHER-AND-BABY HOME REPORT, JANUARY 2020

– Following the 2014 discovery of an unmarked grave with the remains of hundreds of babies on the grounds of a former so-called ‘mother-and-baby home’, the Irish government ordered an investigation into the treatment of children at the church homes for unmarried mothers.

The report was expected to detail a level of infant mortality far higher than the average in the country at the time and accusations of physical and emotional abuse of women and children. 

Government records show that the mortality rate for children at the homes, where 56,000 women and girls, including victims of rape and incest, were sent to give birth, was often more than five times that of those born to married parents.

‘The report makes clear that for decades, Ireland had a stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture, where a pervasive stigmatisation of unmarried mothers and their children robbed those individuals of their agency and sometimes their future,’ Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said.

The Government said it would provide financial compensation and advance long-promised laws to excavate some of the remains and grant the residents, including many adoptees, greater access to personal information that has long been out of their reach.

However, reacting yesterday, a coalition of survivors’ groups said that while the report was ‘truly shocking’, they still had mixed feelings because it did not fully account for the role the State played in running the homes.

‘What occurred was but an aspect of the newly established State which was profoundly anti-women both in its laws and in its culture,’ the group said, describing Mr Martin’s statement that Irish society was to blame as a ‘cop-out’.

The investigation was launched six years ago after evidence of an unmarked mass graveyard at Tuam was uncovered by amateur local historian Catherine Corless.

Speaking to RTÉ, Ms Corless said the Taoiseach had ‘let survivors down again’.

The local historian, who watched a virtual presentation by Mr Martin for survivors and relatives, from her kitchen, ahead of the publication of the report, said she felt ‘quite deflated’ for the survivors, who had expected ‘an awful lot more’ from the Taoiseach.

She said: ‘There isn’t a lot in it for us really… In particular, we need to know what happened as regards all the deaths… how did the burials take place, in regards Tuam, who was responsible for discarding the babies and little toddlers in a sewage area. We need answers to that.’

Other survivors and advocate groups criticised the inquiry for concluding that it was impossible to prove or disprove allegations that large sums of money were given to agencies in Ireland that arranged foreign adoptions from the homes.

The report found no statutory regulations were in place for the foreign adoptions of 1,638 children, mostly sent to the United States.

Vaccine trials for diphtheria, polio, measles and rubella were also carried out on children without consent.

Archbishop of Armagh and all-Ireland primate Eamon Martin last night apologised in a statement. ‘I accept that the Church was clearly part of that culture in which people were frequently stigmatised, judged and rejected; for that, and for the long-lasting hurt and emotional distress that has resulted, I unreservedly apologise to the survivors and to all those who are personally impacted by the realities it (the report) uncovers,’ he said.

Mr O’Gorman has written to the religious orders seeking a meeting to discuss whether they will make an apology, contribute to the redress scheme and release records from the homes to be preserved.

In a statement, the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who ran the Bessborough home in Cork in the early 1920s, and later at Roscrea and Castlepollard, said women were sent to their home due to ‘societal and family pressure to have their babies in secret’. The order said it wanted to ‘sincerely apologise’ to those who ‘did not get the care and support they needed’.

The retired Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, last night said: ‘The Church out-stepped its role and became a controlling Church’, in relation to how women and children were treated in mother and baby homes.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, the former archbishop said those involved in the abuse ‘betrayed vulnerable women, they betrayed themselves and their calling and they betrayed the caring message of Jesus Christ’.

‘That should not have happened and there’s no half-way of interpreting reality to try and justify that,’ he said.

Categories
Headline USA

Mothers with cancer can transmit the disease to their babies during childbirth | The State

Vaginal birth is highly recommended by specialists in neonatologyBut when the mother suffers from a serious health condition, it is probably not the best option.

Specialists from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan, found that mothers with cancer can pass the disease on to their babies during childbirth, particularly those with cervical cancer. By analyzing the case of two six-year-old and 23-month-old children, both with lung cancer, they found an “exact genetic match” of the children’s tumors with their mothers’ cervical cancer.

When performing routine tests, the researchers observed a pattern of tumor growth located only in the lungs and along the bronchi of the children, suggesting that the children may have aspirated cancer cells during vaginal delivery.

“If the mother has cervical cancer, the baby can be exposed to tumor cells in the fluids of the birth canal and could aspirate the tumor cells into the lungs. Thus, mother-to-child transmission of the tumor may be a risk of vaginal delivery among women with cervical tumors”Wrote the authors of the research published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

While “transmission of cancer from mother to offspring is extremely rare and is estimated to occur in approximately one baby in every 500,000 mothers with cancer,” it is possible that Babies are exposed to transmission of the disease through the placenta, especially in cases where the mother has cancer of the blood, skin, lungs and cervix. In these cases, “the spread of tumor cells from the mother to multiple organs (such as bones, liver and soft tissues) in the baby is observed.”That is usually diagnosed during the first two years of life.

But in the case of mothers with cervical cancer, experts believe that probably tumor cells from the mother are present in the amniotic fluid, secretions or blood of the cervix, so they can be aspirated by babies during vaginal delivery.

“These cases indicate that mother-to-child transmission of cervical cancer is possible during vaginal delivery; therefore yese should recommend caesarean section to mothers with cervical cancer”, They assure.


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Categories
Entertainment USA

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Honor Their Mothers In Poignant ‘Letter for 2021’

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry penned a beautiful tribute to their moms, Princess Diana and Doria Ragland on their charity’s site, marveling over their ‘kindness and compassion.’

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ended 2020 by looking ahead to the future, while also paying tribute to their past. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted a poignant “Letter to 2021” on the newly relaunched site for their non-profit Archewell, giving credit to their mothers, Princess Diana and Doria Ragland, for shaping who they are today. Grab your tissues. “I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother,” Meghan and Harry wrote in their joint letter. Together we bring you Archewell.

“We believe in the best of humanity, because we have seen the best of humanity. We have experienced compassion and kindness, from our mothers and strangers alike,” Meghan and Harry stated. “In the face of fear, struggle and pain, it can be easy to lose sight of this. Together, we can choose courage, healing, and connection. Together, we can choose to put compassion in action. We invite you to join us. As we work to build a better world, one act of compassion at a time.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrate Ascot Day One at Ascot Racecourse, 6/19/18 (AP Images)

They ended their letter by signing it “Harry and Meghan” with their real signatures. Along with the letter, the royals, who stepped back from their duties in 2020 to focus on charity work, included childhood photos with their moms. One of a young Meghan sitting on her smiling mother’s lap, the other of toddler Harry riding on his mom’s shoulders. Harry was just 12 years old when Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident.

Archewell Foundation, according to their site, “is an impact-driven non-profit created by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Our core purpose is to uplift and unite communities—local and global, online and offline — one act of compassion at a time. A list of the charities Achewell works with can also be found on their site. The relaunch comes just days after Harry and Meghan shared their first Archewell podcast on Spotify, which included an adorable cameo from their son, Archie!

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Princess Diana Doria Ragland
Meghan Markle and mom Doria Raglan / Prince Harry and mom Princess Diana (MEGA/AP Images)

On the podcast, Harry and Meghan gently coax their one-year-old to speak into the microphone. You can hear Archie’s little voice say “Happy New Year!” and tells his mom’s it’s “fun” to play with the mic. After living in California for almost a year, Archie has an American accent!

Categories
Canada

In the United States, the pandemic is pushing single mothers into poverty

When the pandemic shut down restaurants in California, Aleida Ramirez lost her job as a waitress, plunging like many single mothers into the infernal cycle of poverty, unpaid rents and food banks.

She had to quit her other job, delivering for the Instacart platform, to care for her 11-year-old daughter and 21-year-old autistic nephew, when her husband was arrested in July for domestic violence.

Since October, she no longer pays the rent for her apartment, in an HLM in Concord, in the suburbs of San Francisco. “I had to choose between what I can afford, food or rent,” she explains.

To support the household, she received meal vouchers from her daughter’s school, then vouchers provided by a local church, to be used at a local supermarket.

To pay for the internet, essential for her daughter’s distance education, or her car insurance, she relies on the salary of her nephew, who works part-time at McDonald’s. She also fasted regularly.

She admits to having felt “guilty” about her situation: “I thought I was a bad mother, irresponsible”.

But she realized she wasn’t the only one. Aleida Ramirez organized with neighbors to negotiate with donors. “We’re all in the same boat, and a lot of us are single mothers,” she says.

The pandemic has hit women who held jobs in the service sector, the hardest hit by the economic crisis, much harder. And more than 12 million Americans without jobs or incomes are threatened with losing their aid on Boxing Day, when the aid package passed by Congress in the spring.

Depression

Across the country, in Washington, Maria Lara fears she will soon be evicted from the shabby apartment where she no longer pays rent. The moratorium on evictions also expires after Christmas.

This Salvadorian, mother of a little girl, was a cleaner in a hotel before the epidemic. She has found a job as a laborer on construction sites, but only works “two or three days, sometimes four, every two weeks”.

Not to mention the state of his building, infested with mice that find themselves trapped by sticky patches.

“We live with (the mice) because when you tell the owner that it smells bad, he says he’s going to disinfect, but doesn’t,” says Maria Lara.

Further north, in New York, Marisol Gonzales lost her job in the spring when the pandemic hit Corona, the district of Queens where she lives, then her apartment at $ 2,200 a month in October.

This 45-year-old masseuse from El Salvador has found a shared room, which she shares with one of her daughters. Odd jobs allow him to pay for the room ($ 850), the electricity bills and his metro card. She goes to a food bank once a month.

It has paid an even heavier price for the pandemic since last month. Her 20-year-old daughter was hospitalized with depression. A student, she could not endure confinement and gradually turned in on herself, until she stopped studying.

“I pray that she will be better and come home,” she said.

Categories
Headlines UK London

Nearly 2,500 mothers are forced to give birth alone

Nearly 2,500 women have given birth alone since the start of October as hospitals flout Government guidance, a shocking new report has shown.

The Mail on Sunday is campaigning for all hospitals to allow partners to be present and end the trauma of women attending scans and labour alone.

NHS England has said all but one hospital trust allow partners to attend active births, which refers to the final stage of labour. 

However, today’s study of more than 4,100 births over October and November in England and Wales has shown this is not happening on the ground. 

Of the roughly half of hospital births that are not induced, seven per cent are being subjected to lone births. The majority were across all regions of England.

Even women whose partners are allowed to attend for a short time still face Covid restrictions for the majority of their time in hospital, the study by campaigners Pregnant Then Screwed found.

Charlotte Taylor-Philip, 32, moved from one London hospital to another while heavily pregnant with her daughter Emmeline (pictured together), simply because the second had a more lenient policy for partner visits

Meanwhile, nearly half of women who were induced in England without their partner present until the very end spent more than 24 hours alone in the maternity ward while in labour. 

One in three spent more than 48 hours in maternity wards alone, banned from having their partners by their sides.

Charlotte Taylor-Philip, 32, moved from one London hospital to another while heavily pregnant with her daughter Emmeline, simply because the second had a more lenient policy for partner visits.

‘I didn’t want to end up having to beg to have my husband with me,’ she said.

She had spent the whole pregnancy, which had complications and was deemed ‘high risk’, attending scans alone – making covert recordings to be able to pass on accurate information to her husband, Abey.

Despite this, her hospital still only allowed visits during the day and her birth in late October mostly took place at night. 

Abey, 30, stood for three hours in the cold outside the hospital, waiting for a moment he could be allowed in. ‘It was quite traumatic,’ she said. 

‘I did a lot of my early labour completely alone in an empty hospital stairwell. It was a busy night shift and I saw the midwife maybe three times in those 14 hours.’ On October 31, Boris Johnson promised maternity wards would be prioritised for the 15-minute tests to use on partners as a way to allow them access into wards and scans. 

The Prime Minister said: ‘No woman should go through labour alone.’ But more than a month later, Trusts have not rolled out the tests, while many have reimposed restrictions during the second wave.

NHS England has said all but one hospital trust allow partners to attend active births, which refers to the final stage of labour. However, today's study has shown this is not happening on the ground (file image)

NHS England has said all but one hospital trust allow partners to attend active births, which refers to the final stage of labour. However, today’s study has shown this is not happening on the ground (file image)

Pregnant Then Screwed founder Joeli Brearley said: ‘It is clear that too many women are still spending long periods of time on their own when they are in labour and far too many women are giving birth without their partner present. This is completely unacceptable.’

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for NHS England, said: ‘Guidance for maternity services makes clear women should have access to support from someone at appointments at all stages of their maternity journey, and we have asked all trusts to facilitate this as quickly as possible, with only one trust in England recently reporting not doing so.

‘At the same time, it is a priority to prevent and control Covid-19 infection and keep women and staff safe. Trusts need to overcome any barriers to this, including making use of new testing capacity from the Test And Trace programme.’

NHS England said its records show only Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust is not following guidance on partner visits.

l Anna Mikhailova was ‘highly commended’ last week in the British Journalism Awards for leading the team at her previous paper, the Daily Telegraph, which broke the story of Government scientist Professor Neil Ferguson breaching his own lockdown rules, ultimately forcing his resignation. Judges called it ‘one of the defining stories of the year’. 

Categories
Entertainment USA

Taylor Swift donates $13K to two mothers struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Taylor Swift made two generous donations of $13,000 a piece to two mothers, who were featured in an article highlighting the millions of Americans that are heading into the holidays unemployed and behind on rent or utilities.

After discovering the GoFundMe fundraisers of Nashville-based single mom Nikki Cornwell and Shelbie Selewski, of Harrison Township, the 30-year-old performed a series of incredible acts of kindness. 

‘Nikki, I read about you in the Washington Post and thought it was really brave of you to share your story,’ the Grammy-winning singer wrote, alongside her contribution on Tuesday. 

Acts of kindness: Taylor Swift made two generous donations of $13,000 a piece to two mothers, who are facing finical hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic; seen in January 

She continued: ‘I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through this year and wanted to send you this gift, from one Nashville girl to another. Love, Taylor.’ 

Cornwell, who has now received more than $22,110 from 41 donors in just one day,  described herself as a single mother ‘trying to get’ her ‘feet back on the ground.’

‘I am the Nashville mom featured in the Washington post story about people being behind on rent and utilities my water was turned off but someone blessed me that help,’ she began, before revealing her kids might not ‘even have a Christmas.’ 

'Nikki, I read about you in the Washington Post and thought it was really brave of you to share your story,' the Grammy-winning singer wrote, alongside her contribution on Tuesday

‘Nikki, I read about you in the Washington Post and thought it was really brave of you to share your story,’ the Grammy-winning singer wrote, alongside her contribution on Tuesday

Cornwell’s heart-wrenching post on GoFundMe also detailed how she felt like she was ‘drowning’ after being unable to start a new job in May, after testing positive for COVID-19.

‘My family would appreciate any help this holiday. I am definitely praying for miracles. God bless everyone,’ she wrote, before Swift stepped in to assist.

As for the second recipient of Swift’s generosity, she selected Selewski, who lost her job in the spring and has to stay home with her daughter Vada, who was born with a collapsed lung right last December. 

'No one should have to feel the kind of stress that's been put on you. I hope you and your beautiful family have a great holiday season,' she wrote on Selewski's GoFundMe

‘No one should have to feel the kind of stress that’s been put on you. I hope you and your beautiful family have a great holiday season,’ she wrote on Selewski’s GoFundMe 

Despite ‘tirelessly’ trying to find another job and help her seven-year-old’s navigate her online classes, she said the process has ‘proven incredibly difficult.’ 

‘We have sold everything we could possibly sell and with that have always paid our bills as much as possible but it feels like every day something else comes up,’ she said. 

Selewski added she ‘never’ thought she would ever have to ‘make a GoFundMe  but with Christmas approaching,’ she ‘didn’t know what else to do.’ 

Impressed: Her charitable donations continued, after one of the star's fans created an amazing Christmas display that featured her 2019 holiday song Christmas Tree Farm

Impressed: Her charitable donations continued, after one of the star’s fans created an amazing Christmas display that featured her 2019 holiday song Christmas Tree Farm

Any donations received she said would ‘go directly to keeping’ her family’s lights on and rent, so they ‘aren’t evicted.’  

In response, Swift donated $13,000 dollars and revealed she read about her situation in the Washington Post.

‘No one should have to feel the kind of stress that’s been put on you. I hope you and your beautiful family have a great holiday season,’ she wrote on Selewski’s page.    

Magical: Taylor Swift fan, Sarah Bailey, shared videos of her family's fully decorated home, which included a box for people to donate non-perishables to a food bank and letters to Santa

Magical: Taylor Swift fan, Sarah Bailey, shared videos of her family’s fully decorated home, which included a box for people to donate non-perishables to a food bank and letters to Santa

'Sarah! I loved your family's Christmas lights show!!! Thank you (and your dad) so much for using 'Christmas Tree Farm' to create such a fun spectacle. I really love how you've chosen to give back by mentioning your local food bank,' Taylor messaged her fan, after seeing the light display

‘Sarah! I loved your family’s Christmas lights show!!! Thank you (and your dad) so much for using ‘Christmas Tree Farm’ to create such a fun spectacle. I really love how you’ve chosen to give back by mentioning your local food bank,’ Taylor messaged her fan, after seeing the light display 

Her charitable donations continued, after one of the star’s fans created an amazing Christmas display that featured her 2019 holiday song Christmas Tree Farm.

On Instagram and Twitter last week, Sarah Bailey shared videos of her family’s fully decorated home, which included a box for people to donate non-perishables to a food bank and letters to Santa. 

‘This year has been tough, but this is something that we can all enjoy safely from the comfort of our cars, or the sidewalk for an up close experience! I hope this brings you as much joy as it does us in this crazy 2020,’ the Swiftie wrote.   

Making dreams come true: In response, Bailey replied to her private message that she was 'sobbing right now' and called Swift her 'biggest inspiration'

Making dreams come true: In response, Bailey replied to her private message that she was ‘sobbing right now’ and called Swift her ‘biggest inspiration’

Her footage caught the eye of Swift, who sent her a heartfelt message over Instagram.

‘Sarah! I loved your family’s Christmas lights show!!! Thank you (and your dad) so much for using ‘Christmas Tree Farm’ to create such a fun spectacle. I really love how you’ve chosen to give back by mentioning your local food bank,’ she said. 

Swift continued: ‘I’ve made a donation to Our Community Hunger Center in your hometown. Happy Holidays! Love, Taylor.’

Happy in love: Swift also appeared to be shutting down rumors she is engaged to her beau of four years, Joe Alwyn, in her latest EW interview; seen in April 2019

Happy in love: Swift also appeared to be shutting down rumors she is engaged to her beau of four years, Joe Alwyn, in her latest EW interview; seen in April 2019

In response, Bailey replied to her private message that she was ‘sobbing right now’ and called Swift her ‘biggest inspiration.’

‘I never EVER expected to get a message FROM YOU OMG!!!!!! I am so so so happy that you were able to see the video and enjoy it as much as we have this season,’ she wrote, before inviting her to see the lights ‘in person.’

On Tuesday, Swift also appeared to be shutting down rumors she is engaged to her beau of four years, Joe Alwyn, in her latest EW interview. 

Perfect match: As she spoke about the making of her record-breaking album, Folklore, Swift referred to her co-writer, who used the pseudonym William Bowery, as her 'boyfriend' (seen in 2019)

Perfect match: As she spoke about the making of her record-breaking album, Folklore, Swift referred to her co-writer, who used the pseudonym William Bowery, as her ‘boyfriend’ (seen in 2019) 

As she spoke about the making of her record-breaking album, Folklore, Swift referred to her Exile co-writer, who used the pseudonym William Bowery, as her ‘boyfriend.’

‘It was weird because I had never made an album and not played it for my girlfriends or told my friends,’ she explained of creating the record in isolation. 

She continued: ‘The only people who knew were the people that I was making it with, my boyfriend, my family, and then my management team. So that’s the smallest number of people I’ve ever had know about something.’

Her friends, who she called on Facetime every day, were stunned she managed to keep the secret for them for months.  

'The only people who knew were the people that I was making it with, my boyfriend, my family, and then my management team. So that¿s the smallest number of people I¿ve ever had know about something,' she revealed to EW; pictured with Alwyn last October

‘The only people who knew were the people that I was making it with, my boyfriend, my family, and then my management team. So that’s the smallest number of people I’ve ever had know about something,’ she revealed to EW; pictured with Alwyn last October

Categories
Headlines UK

Pregnant women and mothers with young children can receive food and vitamin vouchers

This will save you up to £ 200 per year.

Pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of four can apply for vouchers through the government’s Healthy Start program. They can be spent on buying milk, baby food, fresh and frozen fruits, and vitamins.

Anyone already receiving Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, or Working Tax Credit can count on vouchers.

Pregnant women and women with children from 1 to 4 years old are entitled to one voucher of £ 3.10 per week, for women with children under one year old – two per week.

Some supermarkets offer an additional £ 1 discount on presentation of a Healthy Start voucher. According to the government, this will save up to £ 200 a year.

From April 2021, the value of one voucher will increase to £ 4.25.

To learn more and apply for the Healthy Start Support Scheme, visit the government website. It operates in all regions except Scotland, where moms can receive Best Start Foods assistance.

Categories
Bollywood

Masaba Gupta flouts the dress code in Alia Bhatt’s adorable ‘mothers and daughters’ pic with Soni Razdan, Neena Gupta. See here


A picture of celebrity moms and their daughters, such as Soni Razdan-Alia Bhatt and Neena Gupta-Masaba Gupta, has been shared online. The picture also includes Alia’s sister, Shaheen, and her best friend, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor, Akansha’s sister Anusha, and their mother.

Sharing the picture on Instagram, Alia wrote, “The mothers & daughters special.” Sharing the picture on her Instagram account, Masaba wrote in the caption, “Swipe to see how Masaba forgot the dress-code & tried to make her dress white cos she got shouted at but ending up looking like a ghost, mommies & daughters.”

 

Masaba is the only one in the picture who was dressed in black, while everyone else wore white. The second picture in her post shows appears to have been photoshopped to make her outfit look white. “Hahahahahah BEST,” Akansha commented on Masaba’s post.

Both women made their acting debuts this year. Akansha was seen in Netflix’s Guilty, which also featured Kiara Advani, Gurfateh Singh Pirzada and Taher Shabbir in main roles and was directed by Ruchi Narain. Masaba starred in the semi-autobiographical comedy series Masaba Masaba, which also featured Neena Gupta.

Alia, meanwhile, was last seen in the critical dud Sadak 2, directed by her father, Mahesh Bhatt. The film, which also featured Aditya Roy Kapur and Sanjay Dutt, was released on Disney+ Hotstar.

Also read: Alia Bhatt on resuming work: We are all apprehensive, these are uncertain times, but we have to make an effort

It was recently reported that she had purchased a new property in Mumbai. According to a Pinkvilla report, the apartment is in the same complex where her boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor has his bachelor pad. While Ranbir stays on the 7th floor, Alia has reportedly bought a place on the 5th floor of the same Vaastu Pali Hill complex for Rs 32 crore.

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Headline USA

Famous mothers promise their children to vote for the environment | The NY Journal



The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign is launched with the support of Jennifer López, Eva Longoria Bastón, Salma Hayek, Roselyn Sánchez, among other celebrities, in support of initiatives against climate change

The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign seeks to boost the power of Latina mothers to encourage their community to vote, prioritizing leaders who care about the new generations and are committed to fighting climate change.

Led by the Latino Victory Project (non-partisan organization), #VoteLikeAMadre has the support of great Latin celebrities such as Jennifer López, Eva Longoria Bastón, Salma Hayek, Roselyn Sánchez among others; and recognized influencers like Marinés Duarte, Mónica Fonseca and Ana Flores.

“Max and Emma are my world. When I think about what their lives will become if we ignore the impact our planet is having with climate change, it breaks my heart. We need to do something and take action NOW. That is why I make my promise to #VoteLikeAMadre for leaders who believe in science and will work to protect the environment, ”stated Jennifer Lopez.

He Pinky promise features photos and videos of moms with their children and women in general, pledging to fight climate change and challenging friends to do the same

“There is nothing more important for a mother than to ensure the well-being, health and future of our children. The good news is that we can make a big difference with one very simple action: VOTE! ”, Said Marinés Duarte.

All mothers can participate in the initiative, as follows.

  • Take a picture taking your Pinky Promise (promise) that you will watch over to protect the future of your children and fight against climate change.
  • Post the photo or video of your pledge with #VoteLikeAMadre on social media and invite your friends to join using #VoteLikeAMadrechallenge.
  • Make a plan to vote on November 3 (or earlier, depending on the dates in your area).

Find out why JLo promised her children to #VoteLikeAMadre: https://bit.ly/36MYCLh

For more information and join #VoteLikeAMadre and make a Pinky promise visit www.VoteLikeAMadre.com.

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