Edwina Heller: Having a Baby during the Second World War
Date:Tuesday, April 9, 1996
ID:Digital audio recording #: 19.96-02
ID: How did you feel about becoming a parent for the first time?
EH: Oh incredible, incredible because Paul was against it at the time. I was in England and I was very depressed about my family, extremely depressed because no news and in the Blitz it was pretty tough. So I said to Paul that I would like to have a baby, that was after the collapse of France. So he said, “This is insanity, I mean look we may be invaded, and the money, I haven’t got a job here,” because we had export to England, we had an office in London so once the war started, you know, the office wasn’t any more. So I said, “Look it’s true we don’t have that money,” but I wasn’t so used to it then only three years. But I said, “We’re not left completely without money so whatever happens to us will happen to the child,” and I said, “I don’t think I can survive the war without my family and without anyone.” So Paul said, “But it doesn’t make sense,” he said, “because we can be invaded,” I said, “I know it doesn’t make sense but I feel so lonely that I just can’t. I have to have something to live for.” So we started trying to have a baby for a month I hadn’t conceived and I was so stupid I went to a doctor, to a specialist, and he said, “For what are you here?” And I said, “I cannot become pregnant.” And he said, “How long did you try?” and I said, “One month.” [Laughter]. So that’s how Irene was conceived in London and I think that saved in a way my life.
ID: Did it?
EH: Absolutely, I went through a terrible time through the Blitz because we went at a very bad time in the Blitz but at the same time that made us come to Canada.
ID: That gave you more of an impetus to move.