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These girls have a lot in common. They have all left their homes and are living together. They are all 18 years old. They're all single and they're all pregnant. In the United States and unwed mother is confronted with basically four courses of action if she wishes to regain societal sanction if she is young white and middle class as many are two of these alternatives are improbable therapeutic abortion illegal in most states and extremely difficult to obtain and even those few states with liberalized abortion laws and the solitary rearing of an illegitimate child which demands on common strength before the capriciousness of societal piety the two remaining choices are either a shotgun wedding which is often psychological Russian roulette or a stay of varying duration in an unwed mothers home. This is where these girls have come marching down the street and they know where you're from.
I'm just glad that it's here because I would hate to have to stay home. It's easier to have people stare at you when you don't know more. You know I guess that the people you know they look at you like you're trash. That hurts more than just people you see on the street. Also it's harder on the family. I mean you know the strain there's lost trying. If I didn't have a place like this I'd probably have to go off to some town going to park by myself and just sit there whether in an apartment or an unwed mothers home they seek the same thing precious anonymity. Every year in the United States there are over 240000 of them 50000 of them are under 17. That rate has tripled since 1940.
Most of them are real quiet when they first get here which isn't because they don't have the same data and they're still upset because they're here and. Some of them. Cry. For hours. So. Just accept it. They're still unhappy about it but they accept it and they. Realize it's not going to help. I don't think I cried when I was here. It's terrible. I used to cry. I a movie I cry because I get really involved sometimes if I get in the mood i cry i just go up to my room and cry. Now I'm not I feel I've got my emotions completely cut off. And I feel like I can't cry anymore. I want to cry. Sometimes I feel like I can only cry feel better. Hi Deb.. Hi. Laurie. OK. All right. I got
bored. No way. In. A small town. Is. One long lines to all the stores are located on. That street stores on the side streets but not looking. Like one so. No. One
died. That's about all of. Those sort of like. Cover. Parks. When. There's. Some. Stuff. Like that. A half mile. A mile. Off the main street. And. That's where. The. Other. Turn after she came to Iowa from another state in the flatlands of the Midwest like Iowa it is farmland open and clean. There is room to breathe. And room to be young gracefully. It is a land of gentle pace of fraternal lodge luncheons and volunteer fire departments. It is Protestant and above all it is homogeneous. It can be harsh to an 18 year old girl who breaks its rules
and she broke the rules that summer night when depending on one's point of view she seemed she was indiscreet. She was reckless or she was in love. Oh I just was really confused and I felt just the whole world it just turned against me. I just didn't know how I was going to break the news to everybody because nobody would ever suspect me. Everybody was so shocked. I didn't know how I was going to say it. It's hard to think of the right words to say it and especially my parents because I knew that it just really hurt them. Sometimes I think I always fall but I know it's not. I mean it's just too much. My father is here. We really talk about it. I always say no because I get pregnant you know and that's what I always said. You know because it's wrong parody and it's wrong it's wrong it's wrong before marriage you know. But at the same time I want to make him happy and
I knew that. I mean it wasn't like some people say that's the only way you can keep him because I knew that wasn't it. When I'd been drinking it was something I wanted to do even though I felt that you know I felt it was wrong at the same time I didn't feel it was wrong because I felt that we loved each other and it just seemed natural the way you write it does have some thing to do with it but not not in that. Final moment. This is one of the five unwed mother homes in Iowa. It is the Florence Crittendon home in Sioux City. A lot of what I thought about the first night I don't think I thought I think I was just sort of blank everything. Those first few days we are sort of blank in the head through this little bitty room. And we call it isolation.
And that whenever a new girl comes in and all the staff members say to the room with three beds you know they don't like to call it isolation get that terrible you just go in there for a couple of days because everybody needs a little time to yourself when they're first here and that we aren't with them just with a mob of kids because the dorms are big. Go the other route that. They used to go that route they took five or every year. Right. They followed all just the whole field and they ended up with 15 or 20 years. Well we don't you know you go to work in an office. The man wants you to be a little to work. He can't go to school if you're pregnant. Like one girl she could've gone to school the first semester but the principal found out she was pregnant so they kicked her out. It's different it where I live. I know a girl who. Was pregnant and married. She graduated. She was taking diet pills so she wouldn't gaining weight that she had got to finish school. And the principal was real nice about it and he said
you know if you ever get sick in the morning you don't have to come to school. I don't know how they react to somebody who wasn't married. I don't think they'd let him. I think it's only when they're worried that they let him but I know there's there's girls here they're going to school. Because they're married and pregnant and they can't go to regular school. So like. People look at them with mothers and I think that they're all in the same situation by the same reasons and they're all different. Each girl has her own story and there's no way you can say that we can just look at her and say I know how she got here because you don't. Some girls. Are going with another guy now. Not for some girls a father doesn't even know
a lot of girls. Nobody knows at all. I mean you know just their parents you know like maybe one or two people some girls that father calls him all the time but he comes out you know we have their living room clothes. Some were planning on getting married. After they left here. Some girls are planning on keeping their baby even though they aren't going to be married. You'd think that there'd be somebody here. Who wouldn't know who the father is. I don't know anybody everybody has been going with the same guy the ones that run around to bed with everybody. I was lucky outed. I don't think society thinks that there's ever any love involved. I think they just think it's just. Kids playing around. But. In most cases it's low. And. Most cases it's because they aren't ready to get married. That's why they're here instead of getting your.
What. Do. You do. If you remember how you felt about unmarried mothers or maternity homes before you came here. I didn't either. I never thought that. I just figured they were married. Everybody is free to marry. Well how did you feel that a maternity home was going to be when your parents told you that you were coming to a maternity home. What did you think it would be like how did you think the girls would be. Oh my goodness really. I didn't know what to expect because nobody talks about it. They don't know that much about them. My parents didn't have any idea they were kind of afraid I'd come up here and there be all these bad girls up here. Now I didn't know that the girls didn't really
help keep me here maybe being near average girls. Well now if you felt like that before you came in here does that make you understand just a little bit why these older women are maybe looking at you when you go in groups and why they're talking about you when they go out to eat. You know that's a good thing because you get the same notion before you came here didn't you. No no no I don't think I was scared the some the people do. Well always before you can talk about Negroes and stuff like that they feel sorry for them. People should be courteous. You don't know until something like this and somebody can look at you and decide they don't like you without that even when you are trying to. I don't think it's that they don't like kids that people are so informed about unmarried mothers they don't realize that you're perfectly
every normal you know teenagers who made a mistake and are going through this experience. Do you think this is about the worst part of what you're going through. Never. One of the worst things is one of the worst is the worst. What's worse. They say because they have to just be here. But it's not that bad is it. And they think that it's not as bad as what you thought it could be worse. My guess is that I can hear the record player go. We laugh a lot. I mean you know you think oh they never laugh you know.
Poor girl. Oh I had never have anything. Well we make our own fun. You go crazy if you didn't it doesn't make it makes more bearable. You got to laugh about something you might as well laugh about yourself. 16. No. 0. 3. 9. 9. Most girls know that you know when they're here whether they're going to give up their baby or not. We sign release papers that give the home the authority to put our child up for adoption because the law says that you have to. Have somebody whose name has to be there and we don't want our name there because we don't want the people who are
adopting it to see our name. We signed off over to the Florence Clinton down so that way. That we don't have to see. Who it is. And so then the fourth created a. They got people out you know waiting. And so then they bring somebody in and then two weeks after it's born they put into a doctor and then a year later it's adopted. The final papers are signed. It's still a pressure though because no I mean no way here wants to I mean nobody here wants to just give it up. Just forget about it. I mean it's just something that they have to do. You don't want to deliver because you want because it's still yours why before you deliver the thing when you deliver it's not going to be your thing. So no I think one of. What's it going to be like when I leave. Every time I see a baby you know every time I see a little girl or a little boy boy I wonder you never really realize that you've felt something live in inside of you start to
move and get bigger when it kicks you can feel the foot and it really gets to you. I mean when you realize what what it really is like before you start feeling it can it's easier to think about giving it up. If I would have had to make the decision now I don't think I can do it. But since I made my decision before for I really started feeling it moving for I realized that I had something to live in me. It's you've got something wonderful inside you but you know it's hard to give it up. It's hard. It. When you're in a home you can do everything you want. And so. You miss the
things you miss being able to stay up late because you want to and you miss going skiing. You miss being skinny like we get excited about having pizza having salt we get excited because it's fattening. Like we never get pizza because you know you have heartburn and half the time you can't use salt. A lot of the girls are on water pills. Their ankles swell happened and they're getting all kinds of weight. Lots of times when we have conversations to talk about how to take all the guys for what they're worth and make them spend all kinds of money on us and everything that the way that the guys have treated them. You know like when they found out they were pregnant as if it was all the girls fault like she's a hot potato they just drop her. And some of them put it on you know and and play up to her so they they
won't get in trouble. And then the minute she agrees not to getting in trouble you know like making them pay child support her son and then he drops them and. He might do that first. But after a while we won't be doing that. We can't really blame us for one that got to spend money on us. And you know everything. Making sort of pay makes us feel like we are just outcast. Have you talked this over with your parents ever at any point when they come to visit you. They have not brought up to you and you have not either. So it's been your decision. So. You mean in terms of keeping her. Just to get. What was behind your decision.
What's the reason. Well like there there's just no way that I provide for the baby in what I'd planned to do like going to college. And I feel for when I first came here I didn't feel education was very important to me or I I realized that you didn't need more education to get a better job and you have to forget about that and just settle for any kind of work you get. I just. My parents to provide giving me a lot of things and I'm going to do at least that much for money and I wouldn't be able to know like somebody else. I mean I'm working you the chance and taking day in which you feel you will have to be home free.
You could have different different reasons for it. In my school girl because we graduate most of those are keeping the babies to school girls. A lot of the younger ones here like someone said they're still playing with dolls and they don't realize that the baby is going to grow. Fat. And. Well I feel what she said when I first came here. Well I heard you say I can give my baby up for adoption. It didn't really seem real because I was too involved. I just did tell my parents a lot and then decided I'd wake them up here you know. And it just didn't seem real. We're now getting closer. It really is different. But I have to keep making decisions because I know that I can provide for it and give it the right kind of life. It should have where you could
talk to parents. The third type of delivery that you saw using the free dental block as an essay is what most of our doctors use. Do you have one doctor on the staff that uses the South Block and that was the second type of x that you saw those two sets. Yeah. So what are doctors do and how are obstetricians you just routinely as you see that patient did not feel safe. And they feel that this will. Help deliver the head. And there is you know when you go to a dentist and you have a tooth filled well you get a little shy of novacaine. This is the same way when they have a cell block for you girls that will be have this classic available to you or less exactly what feels just like a pin prick. You will not feel the pressure of the needle coming out or the medication being introduced into the spinal column.
OK. All. Is serious action of course that's where it's surgery and you have a what we call a general and say you are a sleep wasting film. So we know what's going on. At times girls are scared because they don't know what's going to happen. And if you know what's going on then it's not something to be so afraid of. It's just that we've gone through so much anyway. I mean we've had to. Face quite quite a bit more than somebody who is married and this girls can take it. It's time to go and get ready for it. But just to reassure you. Let's see what happens when labor begins. This instrument called forceps herber a delivery of your baby. Watch how carefully the doctor inserts each blade. So it is positioned alongside the baby's head.
When the two handles are close together. The doctor is able to call and guide the baby's head out of the birth canal thereby shortening the second stage of labor. Use of forceps causes norm Koger baby or the mother. And because of its contribution of a baby's safety and the mother's comfort. Some doctors use it for almost all of their delivery. Once the head is delivered. The doctor clears its mouth and nose of mucus. It does this so that when the chest is born and the baby is able to take his first breath the mucus will clog his airway. If the rest of the baby doesn't get liver it's so the doctor grasped his head and carefully Oh and Guy this body out of a Birchenough. He also holds your baby with his head down the drain mucus
and as necessary continues to aspirate his mouth and nose until he breathes satisfactorily and lets out with a lusty cry. The second stage of your labor is now over. Now mother you can get your first real look at your baby. From your expression. See exactly what you want. At 12 minutes after 1:00 in the morning she delivered a six pound eight ounce baby girl. I was awake to the whole thing. I was talking to the nurses the whole time keeping an eye on the patient and everything. And then it was over. Then they showed me the baby to see him tell the face
in a short stay here don't care. And she had her eyes closed but she kept up the smiley face. So I get the kids you know I just couldn't believe it was really you. How can you keep up. Because I could provide for that. Not like I wanted people to always be looking down and blaming her for my mistake because that's what people are and it's not for me she didn't ask to the Lord. It's not her fault that she be blamed. That gives us the choice of seeing the baby panda the baby brought here and you get to leave the baby for hours so you feel better than the silly ass to take. It's nice to see some. Sometimes it's easier just to see him at the hospital and see him again. I mean I just hate to just let her go. Without.
Any action. I just hate to let her go without seeing all the time. Just tell me now why why why why why now why. Didn't. You. Do you
mean. You. Can. Do
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry
Producing Organization
Iowa Public Television
Contributing Organization
Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa)
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Program Description
Interviews with 18 year old women in an unwed mothers home. Also: Hear the thoughts of the young pregnant women staying at the Florence Crittendon Home in Sioux City, one of 5 Iowa homes for unwed mothers.
Other Description
Florence Crittendon Home in Sioux City, one of 5 homes for unwed mothers. Guitar version of The Beatles Here, There, Everywhere is repeated refrain.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
local communities
IPTV, pending rights and format restrictions, may be able to make a standard DVD copy of IPTV programs (excluding raw footage) for a fee. Requests for DVDs should be sent to Dawn Breining
Produced in cooperation with The Florence Crittenton Home, Sioux City, Iowa
An IEBN Presentation
Copyright IEBN 1970
Media type
Moving Image
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Director: Photography: Phillippi, Wes
Editor: Beyer, John
Editor: Miller, Mike
Editor: Phillippi, Wes
Narrator: Soliday, Don
Producer: Beyer, John
Producing Organization: Iowa Public Television
Production Assistant: Swengel, Lavergne
Sound Recordist: Miller, Michael
Writer: Beyer, John
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Iowa Public Television
Identifier: (Old Tape Number)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Dub
Duration: 00:28:45
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Chicago: “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry,” 1970-03-17, Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry.” 1970-03-17. Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from