Journal Of A Life – And To You A Child Is Born

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As a great mentor of mine – Joe Schroeder – never tired of saying “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording

so today I am here to share another episode in the life’s journey of one of the great people whose life I am privileged to have shared a part of – my mother AnneKaete Pocklington.

The War Is Over – And To You A Child Is Born

Today’s episode, which covers the circumstances of MY birth remind me of a line from Kipling’s classic poem “IF”…

“If you can keep your head, while those about you; are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.

I learned of the role that the “Sisters of Mercy” had played in this first act of my life story.

May-be that explains how attracted I was in later years to the song of the same name by Leonard Cohen.

But this is my mother’s life story, not mine.

Let’s see things from her perspecive.

Read On…

And To You A Child Is Born

This wonderful, indescribable miracle happened to us on the 17th March 1949. A month or so after I had come out of Hospital I had found out that I was pregnant, expecting a Baby, holy of holy’s, me, us, a Baby.

And so, eight months after my operation, I was about eight months pregnant, I had to go to the Military Hospital in Hamburg for a check up. According to the Navy Base doctor the Baby was the wrong way round and had to be turned. And so, this was duly done. The long journey by Car to Hamburg, the Doctors there did what they had to do, and then the long ride back. All was fine, we landed safely back at about tea time. Dear Betty Oldham had gone with us for the ride. In the evening Bill had an engagement, I forget now what it was, but it might have been a Whist Drive or similar in one of the Messes. So I was alone and quite happy.

Suddenly I felt water all around me, a strange something was happening. I rang Paula to find out if she had any idea what this could mean. She told me it sounded as if ‘my waters’ had broken and I should not panic…. She then rang Bill, or I did, just to be on the safe side. I had no pain, felt quite good, and was a little puzzled by it all.

Bill came, brought the Doctor, the Nurse, the Ambulance, and everybody around panicked very much. ‘Could Bill speak German’ was the question and could he please ring a German Hospital to see if they could take me in, as a journey to Hamburg would be out of the question at this late stage. And would I please stay in bed and lie very, very still, and not to panic. I didn’t, I thought this was all too funny, the way every body ran up and down and kept saying ‘DON’T PANIC DON’T PANIC…’

When Bill got through to the hospital he had forgotten all his German, he was fluent 5 minutes before, but could not remember one word. So I had, after all, to get out of bed and ask if they could take this English Lady as the birth was imminent and her water had broken . Rations, Food and Payment would be good and plenty etc. etc. They, of course, agreed, and with more ‘don’t panic’ and ‘keep calm’ we set off. First to the wrong hospital, even the Driver had lost his head, but luckily I saw it as they carried me out of the Ambulance. And back we went. Now me sitting up and directing the Driver, with Bill holding my hand and being as white as a sheet. We duly arrived at the Willehad Hospital in Wilhelmshaven, a very very nice Catholic Hospital with Nuns as Nurses, beautiful, calm, wonderful Sisters of Mercy.

After Examination Bill was told there was no hurry at all, he should go home and relax. Baby was not due so quick, it most likely would be sometime tomorrow. And so it was, I slept soundly, and was woken up at eight o’clock to be examined again, then got an injection to start the Labour, this did not work, Baby did not want to leave its warm nest. I had another injection about 11:00 AM and then things took the normal run. By now this was a ‘dry’ birth which, I was told, was perhaps a little harder. But I was no judge as this was my first Baby.

And at 20 past 5 the real miracle happened, my wonderful, wonderful little Boy was born. He only weighed just over 5 pounds as he was an eight months baby, but he was so perfect, and so wonderful, I could still talk page after page about this miracle. And then his Daddy came, and we could not believe that we were the parents of this, God’s own miracle, and nobody could be happier.

Little funny things happened, like the Nuns thinking I was not married because I was wearing no wedding ring. I was, of course, but on my left hand, the English way, and not the right hand, the German way. But that was soon explained.

And a Nun telling Bill all necessary things, like registration etc. in the presence of a second Nun, whilst he still stood in their midst, one asked the other if she thought he had understood. It was still such a strange thing, to have a foreigner in their midst.

And the real happiness of the Sisters when Bill brought lots and lots of rations, white bread, not Maize bread, and real butter, meat, coffee, tea, cooking fat, sugar. All things they could use for very ill patients as I insisted on eating the normal hospital food. They were so very, very happy and grateful, it was very moving to see and hear. I felt so very humble and privileged to be where I was and went daily into their chapel to pray and offer thanks.


If  life is the best teacher, doesn’t it make sense to learn from the lives of others?

So what did I learn from today’s episode?

I learned that when a baby decides it is time to be born, it is time for it to be born, and

I learned that simple differences in traditions – such as the finger the wedding ring is worn on – can create major misunderstandings unless they are talked about.

So Now it’s YOUR turn, dear Reader. What did YOU learn?

Please ADD and SHARE your insights in the COMMENT BOX Below




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Published: September 8, 2014, 17:18 | 4 Comments on Journal Of A Life – And To You A Child Is Born
Category: Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life

4 responses to “Journal Of A Life – And To You A Child Is Born”

  1. I loved reading this story, Peter. Thank you for sharing it. I didn’t know that the German tradition is to wear wedding rings on the right hand, so that’s definitely a learning me me today 🙂 I love hearing about different traditions. And now I feel I know a little something about you, so that’s good too!

    • freedomwithpeter says:

      Thanks, Andrea. This was definitely a life that colored many of my perspectives, although I would not be true to my mother’s principles if I did not adjust them as I have my own independent “thinking cap” on. And doesn’t the story of the wedding ring bring out, in its own simple way, the danger of making assumptions based on appearance? Thanks, again, for stopping by. prp

  2. Isn’t that weird? I thought it was a world wide thing that wedding rings are worn on the left. Right would suit me as if I were to wear a ring that’s what I’d go for anyway. Plus I’m hopeless at left and right so it would be a good reminder.

    • freedomwithpeter says:

      Hey, Rachael, I’m with you on that one. The Germans made it worse for me with their saying “the right hand is the one where the thumb is on the left hand side”. Think About It. I was fortunate that when my wife’s grandfather died he left me a signet ring. So now I wear significant rings on both hands, so each country can draw their own conclusions. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share a piece of you. prp

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