The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that's when you know it's for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.  – Red

I wonder how many women watched Shawshank Redemption and had flashbacks of maternity homes?


Count me as one of them.

The scene of the movie when Andy Desfresne is entering the cell blocks caused me to experience a flash back of walking down the floor of Gehring Hall. I saw the closed doors, the dim lighting, the vinyl flooring, the door at the end of the hall that lead to the stairway up or down.

I blinked once to wash away the image from my eyes.  In that second of time, the image of the long hall of my floor at Gehring was super imposed over the scene from Shawshank. A chill ran through me and as Andy Desfresne walked the cell block floor, I heard the sound of Sheree, an expectant mother unable to pick up her feet properly, clip-clapping her shoes down the hallway. 

I blinked again to wash away the image and whimpered a bit.  I hoped my boyfriend, watching the movie with me, did not notice. He would have asked me to share and I just did not want to go there.

Later in the movie when the focus was on the various prison cliques that formed, I thought of how certain expectant moms paired up and friended each other, while others did not.

And still later, when Brooks does not want to leave the prison, the only "home" he has had for fifty years, I reflected on a mom who told me she did not want to leave the maternity home at all. For even in the midst of such pain and horror, she felt some sense of stability and security. Sure she was locked away and would have to give her child up as redemption, but in the home she knew what to expect, she knew the routine. She had no idea where she was going to go once she was asked to leave the home. No job. No one to take care of her. No place to live. Her child would be taken care of but no one cared about her.

When Brooks later commits suicide, I saw myself, less than year post partum struggling with my own suicidal ideations. Unlike Brooks who hung himself, I used to ponder drowning myself in the icy waters of Lake Michigan.

For once I want to watch a movie without getting flashbacks of days gone by.

Pretty please.

Just once. 

1 Thought.

  1. shawshank though it featured a jail, still represented instutionalization for me. I found I thought a lot about my youth spent in various group homes and treatment centres.this is one chapter of my life i still have trouble expressing. really good movie and really gives you a lot to think about

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