TEN HAIL MARYS
The industry that surrounds infertility, the ruthless quest for a baby at all costs, is well-known. As this memoir shows, it has existed for decades.
Howarth was pregnant at 15 and sent by her grandmother to St Margaret's Home for unwed mothers. It was essentially a Catholic sweatshop, its product babies. The young mothers were treated like sinners and worked like slaves before they gave birth. Howarth was subjected to cruel pressure to relinquish her baby but refused. Much of her account is given to why.
Her background was Aboriginal, her family tending to battlers with a mean streak. She was used to harsh treatment, yet St Margaret's nearly broke her. She fought the nuns and took her baby home. But the life that awaited was no bed of roses.
Ten Hail Marys comprises a powerful memoir, without the self-pity of the "misery" genre. It is a harrowing read.