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My last post on ‘Mirror’ has reminded me of a true story about the lengths one woman had to go through to bring home a son back in 1940s rural Ireland.

My mother told me this story on one of our many drives back home from the clinic last February.

Around 1944 a woman who already had several daughters went into hospital to have her baby. Her lovely husband told her not to come home with another daughter. Yes he did. (This was rural Ireland, farmers wives had a special kind of pressure placed on their shoulders to produce a male heir to farm the land)

So she goes into labour, and has a beautiful baby girl. Her husband made good on his threat. What to do?

A woman in the same ward comes from the same county. She has just had her fifth or sixth son. The husband was delighted, bragged about another ‘fine lad’.

But the bragging stopped almost as soon as it had started. The woman who had all the girls, suddenly went home with a son. Weeping was heard in the ward. The mother of the sons suddenly had a  newborn girl on her knee.

Rumour had it money changed hands. The farmer who had warned his wife was delighted with a son. While the farmer with all the sons came home with a little girl, who grew up, went to school with my mother, and “looked completely different to her brothers”.

Can you imagine the pain of those two mothers? That was the way back then. Thank God I’m living in 21st century Ireland.