I was injured, but not irreparably. Obviously.
Here’s what I’ve gathered of what happened.
In June of 1952, in her early twenties, my mother married my father and became pregnant that fall.
When she became sick—having taught high school in the morning through the afternoon, having taken the bus across town to teach night school on a community college campus—when she nearly collapsed on the steps to their apartment and a kindly neighbor sat her down and suggested if she were bleeding that she should–my mother went to a doctor.
To avoid any impending miscarriage the doctor offered her the newest remedy, for so many medical conditions then, a synthetic estrogen—DES—diethylstilbestrol.
A magic pill.
Out of love, and in fear, to be certain of avoiding catastrophe, to be certain of a good outcome, she swallowed two courses of this newest remedy in our first trimester together.
Sometimes, this is how love and fear and good intentions have their way with us.
When I was born the next June, on a Sunday morning, heralded, no doubt, by church bells, on Flag Day, within two weeks of her first wedding anniversary, no injury was apparent.