On what promises to be another sticky, uncomfortable day in early May, a thirty-year-old woman goes into labor. She has a toddler at home so she knows what to expect this time around. She is relatively calm as her labor progresses and she and her husband drive to The Hospital for the Women of Maryland at the intersection of Lafayette Avenue & John Street in Baltimore, Maryland. In an uncomplicated birth, she delivers a baby girl at 6:06 a.m.
Later that day storms and heavy rains finally crack one of the most hot and humid early May days the area has experienced in years. The local paper reports that the mercury collapses nearly 40 degrees dropping into the 40s overnight.
Two days later, the woman carefully reviews the bill before she checks out with the baby and her husband. The bill totals $114.03. There is a balance due of $20.50 which the hospital will refund in approximately one month.
Yes, of course, the woman giving birth is my mother. And, in the present, on May 13, 2018, Mother’s Day, I am flabbergasted by what seem to be infinitely reasonable charges for my birth. But to put it in perspective, the cost of a gallon of gas in 1954 was 22 cents, the average cost of a new car $1,700.00, average monthly rent $85.00 and a movie ticket 70 cents.
Equally shocking is that she was actually in the hospital for a couple of days after delivery. So not Kate Middleton! My, how things have changed! Of course, lots hasn’t changed like having babies. All you mothers know what that feels like.
Here’s hoping your kids express gratitude for all you do and have done for them. I wish I’d appreciated my mother more when she was still here.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!
Reader’s Invitation: I’d love to hear any reflections evoked by this short piece.