Do You See?
This is our family.
Chris and I were raised in happy, healthy homes, we were believed in, were told we were loved every day and so grew up with the confidence that we could do whatever it was we wanted to do with our lives. We both have degrees and had our own children surrounded by a very supportive extended family and community.
Despite all of this, when we had twin babies and no sleep – I would get angry in the night. Fortunately, I had many supportive friends and family who helped to keep me going with meals, coffee and kind words. Regardless I still struggled and after days on end without sleep, I knew I could no longer cope. I pleaded with Plunket and doctors to send me and my babies to Mothercraft (a live-in hospital care environment to provide support for mothers and babies). My pleas for help were often met with “keep going”, “you will get through this”. It was not until I cried in desperation to a doctor that I was really taken seriously and was put on a waiting list for Mothercraft. Because my babies were not newborn (they were 4 months old) I was told I would have to wait 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS… I was so tired I had started hallucinating, my babies are crying hours on end – I physically and mentally could not wait 6 weeks. My babies and I had become incredibly vulnerable at this time.
I was still confident enough to ask my friends/family for help. One friend who had been through a similar experience directed me to a drop-in centre in Hamilton.
I went to the centre and thanks to the help and support of an experienced midwife we were able to determine that my sons had severe reflux and because I was so tired I was not producing enough milk to feed them. They were hungry and in pain and so cried continuously. It pains me still that I had allowed them to go through that, but I was so tired, I could no longer think logically to determine what was happening. Within a couple of weeks of visits to the centre, my sons were again thriving, happy boys and I felt re-energised and equipped as a mother for my role.
Here is the thing:
All families, children and caregivers can become vulnerable at different times. I am privileged, I grew up privileged and continue to be so. I had to push to get help when I needed it despite my confidence to ask for it.
Some families have other stress factors added to this already vulnerable time and instead of looking for ways to help, we judge from afar.
Do you see the families within your community?
Oranga Tamariki have just released a report about ‘how responsible New Zealanders feel for other people’s children’. Half of New Zealanders feel no responsibility for a kid they do not know.
We would love to have a kōrero about this… do you think community can do more to support our families? our children? Whose responsibility is it?