Mary Moran Murphy (MMM) and Susan Mello Souza (SMS)
MMM: We were given fictitious names.
SMS: And yours was?
SMS: And mine was Stella.
MMM: We were told, ”Whoever we’re going to room you with, you’re not supposed to tell them your real name.” But we broke that rule [Laughs].
SMS: We did. I think the first thing we said to each other was, ”What’s your real name?”
MMM: Did you remember thinking of yourself as a mother?
SMS: I didn’t until I felt the baby move, especially at night—
SMS: That was the hardest time for me. During the day we would occupy ourselves, and I didn’t think about it so much. But I remember crying most every night.
MMM: They didn’t tell us what to expect for childbirth. Anytime somebody went into labor, there was a tunnel between the home and the hospital. And that’s how they chauffeured us back and forth.
SMS: I remember being wheeled into the delivery room. They lay you on the table and they strap your hands down. Then I remember the doctor coming in and asking me if I was going to see my baby. And I said, ”Yes, I was.” I would rock her and sing to her. Oh my god—I was so sad.
MMM: Oh yeah. And once I gave birth I remember counting her fingers and her toes… And the day I left the hospital, my mother walked me down, and we looked in the nursery. And I didn’t want to walk out and leave her. But there was nothing I could do. And it was never discussed again.
MMM: Did your mother sit and talk to you? My mother never did.
SMS: The rule of thumb was, It never happened.
MMM: For years I never told boyfriends or doctors. How do I answer the question, “How many children have you had?” I lied for the longest time.
SMS: Mm-hmm. And here we are, 45 years later.
MMM: Mm-hmm. And it’s so nice we don’t have to lie.
SMS: Don’t have to lie anymore.
MMM: We’re lucky to have each other.
MMM: That’s something we’ll never lose.