My Son Denis is Born

From We Were not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux.

My second pregnancy was also easy enough. This time Albert was with me, and he and I could live it together. My mother had had most of her babies at home, but by the mid-1940s, women were being urged to have their babies in the hospital. (Dr. Desaulniers must have been urging me, too, but I can’t remember.)

We were still living with Albert’s parents when our second son was born on Saturday the eighteenth of January 1947. That afternoon, it was not snowing but there was a lot of snow on the ground. Albert had driven me to St. Mary’s hospital and then he had left me there. In those days, fathers were not allowed to participate in the birthing process and were told to go wait at home—“Somebody will call.” I guess neither of us thought of insisting that Albert should be there with me. It just wasn’t done, but even though Albert was not with me in the birthing room, it was different for me to know that he was in town and not on the war front.

Albert had gone back to his parents’ home. Albert was never good with babies—Billy was still only 19 months, so I imagine that it was Mrs. Ledoux who was taking care of our boy. Our second baby was born at 7 and later that evening Albert came with his father and my father. I don’t remember my mother or Mrs. Ledoux being there.

Mothers were kept in the hospital for a number of days after a birth. Again I was discouraged from nursing and I accepted the advice without questioning it and so this baby too was bottle-fed. On his visits to me, Albert and I tried to agree on what to call this boy. Naming Billy had been so easy because Albert wanted him named after his father, but this baby was not so easy. Albert wanted to call him Raymond, and I wanted to call him Gerald. Neither of us were giving in. I was sharing a room with a woman whose husband was a local union organizer. His name was Denis Landry. One day, I thought “Denis would not be a bad name.” When I asked Albert, he agreed the name was a good one and we had a name—Denis Gerald.

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About Denis Ledoux

Denis Ledoux began helping people to turn their memories into memoirs in 1988. Denis was named Lifewriting Professional of the Year by the Association of Personal Historians in 1996. Today, Denis is a writer, educator, teacher, autobiography co-author, memoir-writing coach, editor and publisher. He directs The Memoir Network, an international group of memoir professionals who use his method and materials to help people write lifestories. Denis also offers writing tele-classes and leads memoir writing tele-groups.
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2 Responses to My Son Denis is Born

  1. Marjorie Webb says:

    Awe, how precious this is and inspiring for me to read this essay of when you were born, Denis. I only wish I could do the same, or that I had asked my mother to tell me the story of my arrival before she died. This wonderful story confirms how important it is for us to leave our story for posterity.

    • Denis Ledoux says:

      Thank you, Marjorie. I am fortunate to still have my mother with me. She is 91. I ask her questions about her life and about my childhood regularly. I hope to finish her memoir very soon, but I keep getting more info. Both wonderful and a bit frustrating to that part of me that wants to finish and move on–but that part needs to be kept in check as I continue to mine the memory vein.

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